Finding Your Purpose: A Redefinition Of What It Means
There’s a lot of talk these days about finding your purpose. Basically this means having a direction of your life, and spending the bulk of your energy working towards fulfilling specific goals. The idea is that you will be fulfilled if you adopt this approach. However, what if your life just doesn’t seem to function in this way? Is it not possible to simply let your life be a collage of different, diverse experiences and contributions? It seems that, for some people, there is no coherent bigger picture, but instead a series of small events, strung randomly in a line, one after another.
The Desire To Identify Goals
In the world of today you are constantly put under pressure to identify your goals. Finding your purpose is actively encouraged. Having life and career plans, and following through with them relentlessly, is expected, by your family, and society in general. The promise of this pursuit is that it will be the answer to your happiness and future security. However in reality things are generally not as straight forward.
One reason that this has become an issue in society, is that people need to feel valued. You need to feel that you are working towards something definite. You have to be reassured that your hard work will lead somewhere specific. In fact the end goal is probably less important than the role it takes in giving your actions a sense of purpose.
The Illusion of The Notion of Purpose
The truth is that this ideal may turn out to be an illusion later down the line. Life has a habit of going along a certain path, and then unexpectedly veering off in a completely different direction. At times this means that everything you have been working towards crumbles. A broken marriage, a bankrupt business for example.
If this turns out to be the case, what was the point of finding your purpose in the first place? What did it mean when you felt that you had a clear path? In fact, all it meant was that for a period of time it seemed as if your actions had immediate, noticeable, generally positive results. You witnessed the correlation between cause and effect. Sometimes things work out like this for a while, but it’s usually a temporary state. Mostly, the different elements of our lives are somewhat out of synch, and occasionally, just by coincidence, they all line up. It is dangerous to think that this happens because you have control over them.
Complications And Complexities
Your life is made up of many different parts, mental, physical, emotional, social, to name just a few. There are also many areas that are undefinable, or subconscious, and do not have even names. In other words, in totality, it is too much for any one person to be able to orchestrate and organise to suit their own agenda. We only have a finite ability for conscious thought. Therefore, even if we manage to control some areas of our lives, it will often be by neglecting others.
In order to take this into consideration, you can fall back on instinct as an organising force. The one fixed element of any scenario you are faced with is you. Your essential character and how you live. This may modify according to time and place, but basically stays the same at the core. It follows that, if you listen to what your instinct tells you, you will be able to create more continuity between the various elements of your existence. The reason is that this process applies not only to the seen, but also to the seen parts of your life.
Redefining What Finding Your Purpose Means
In this way, the notion of finding your purpose becomes too limiting a term. You are your purpose, and your goals arise from that starting point. If you feel it is applicable, life can be free to be a matrix of disparate events that are linked on some indefinable sub-level. You can allow natural connections to happen between various things in your life, that may somehow come to make more sense in the long run.
All photos taken by Ju Underwood in Al Fahidi Heritage Village, Dubai