More recently I've been looking for what I like to call an "essential purpose." All of us have an essential purpose we were born into this world to achieve. The problem is that it's not obvious. Each of us has something unique as an individual that no other individual can do. So, what I mean about an "essential" purpose is that there is something absolutely necessary for each of us to do in our time on this earth.
As I write this, I'm not even entirely certain what that is for even myself. Perhaps, some day, I'll look back on these words and thinking I was pretty dumb not to have figured it out sooner. But what I do know now is there are some ways you can find your essential purpose.
What is Purpose?
By definition, a purpose is "the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists." The word purpose can also be used as a verb, meaning "to have as one's intention or objective." So, purpose is two-fold. there are the reasons that the task you are performing is done for – those that may seem obvious. Then, there are your intentions or objectives you have in mind while performing that task.
Many tasks don't appear essential to the world at-large at all. But, if you really think about it, every action you take does have a significant effect on the universe. It may just not be obvious. Then, you have the intentions or objectives you have in performing the task. Now, this is where finding an essential purpose comes in.
Even the most menial task has a purpose. But, if your only objective is a paycheck – that's not an essential purpose. It is an objective, not a purpose. The paycheck itself should never be the purpose of your work, even if it's a worthy objective. This is where I find it's helpful to break down purpose into a general purpose and an essential purpose.
What is Essential?
The results of the successfully completed task are the general purpose. But, the essential purpose is finding a way to perform the task most effectively, efficiently, and with the confidence to know that you can do it in a way no one else can. If you can't find that essential purpose in what you're doing now, you're either doing it wrong or not doing the right thing.
Sometimes, you may think you're doing something just because you need the money. But, I've learned how even unpleasant or seemingly trivial tasks have more of an essential purpose than is at first easily understood. That purpose, in fact, is often to drive you towards your ultimate purpose.
Sitting down to write a blog post or an article, for me, lost its purpose to me for some time. My objective has always been to give people actionable advice through personal experience. Then, my intention is to lift others up. When my intention didn't seem to be working, I suddenly lost interest. The interest in my writing from others declined, as well.
So, Why Do I Even Care Anymore About Purpose?
It seems like common sense that if you stop caring about something, others will, too. I thought I was well aware of this. Yet, I consistently go through periods of apathy towards my writing. During these times, it's as if each time I start again I have to start from scratch. I feel like I constantly have to change what I'm doing, even if what I was doing before was working.
Eventually, I get back on my objectives and rediscover my intention. So, I chug along for awhile. But then, I crap out again when I don't get much of a response to something I write that feels very important to me. The cycle of frustration that becomes really defeating to the point that I never want to post anything again. During one recent cycle of writer's apathy, I actually convinced myself that I was finished as a writer.
Clearly, that wasn't the case.
So, What Changed About My Intention?
This idea of essential purpose started grabbing at me. I never stopped reading thing or reflecting. I still jotted things down as I thought of them. That was the difference this time. I never stopped doing the act of writing even if nothing I would publish came out of it. It's essential to me that I put things in writing. Really, it is essential for every human being to find an avenue of expression.
I feel now my purpose is to help others find an individual avenue of expression that leads one to find their unique essential purpose. While it has always been one of my intentions to help others to express themselves, it's not ever been a clearly defined objective of mine. And, it's not just through writing.
Every constructive activity is inherently creative: from building houses, to fixing plumbing or electrical, to creating a spreadsheet that displays important information in a clear and concise way. These sound like totally different things, but they are all essentially creative. They all create something new and essential, which is what it means to be creative.
Writing and other art forms are only one creative outlet. There's rebuilding things, repurposing things, and reimagining ways of doing things. Every human being has a creative outlet. It's just not always obvious. That's why you try so many different things in life. You eventually find ways to do creative things, even if you don't at first realize how creative those things are.
Creativity Breeds Inspiration
When you do something creative that inspires another person, you create a ripple effect. Inspiration is a key part of finding your essential purpose. In a lot of ways, finding your purpose really is something you have to feel out on your own. Others can point you in the right direction, and often we may find our essential purpose with the help of others.
When you find your essential purpose, you will just know it. In finding my own essential purpose, I will help others find their own. In the long run, I will probably discover the very journey I'm taking in finding my own essential purpose will be the very purpose I was seeking all along.
Life really is all about the journey, who you meet along the way, and finding your way to where you just know you belong. Your essential purpose is waiting for you somewhere along the way.