What I have looked for more recently is what I like to call an "essential purpose." All of us have an essential purpose that we were born into this world to achieve. The problem is that it's not obvious. Each and every one of us has something quite unique as an individual that no other individual can do. So, what I mean about an "essential" purpose is that there is something that is 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 think that I was pretty dumb not to have figured it out sooner. But what I do know now is there are some ways that 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:" But 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 that you have in mind while performing that task.
There are many tasks that 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, even if it isn't at first obvious. Then, you have the intentions or objectives that you have in performing the task. Now, this is where finding an essential purpose comes in.
Even the most menial task does have a purpose. But, if your only objective is a paycheck – that's not an essential purpose. It is an objective, yes, but 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 that no one else can. If you can't find that essential purpose in what you're doing now, well, then you're most likely doing it wrong or not doing the right thing.
Sometimes, you may think you are doing something just because you need the money. But what I've learned more recently is that the universe works in such mysterious ways that unpleasant or seemingly trivial tasks have more of an essential purpose than is at first easily understood.
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 and my intention is to lift others up. I thought that was my purpose in writing.But I suddenly lost interest and the interest in my writing from others declined, as well.
So, Why Do I Even Care?
It seems like common sense that if you stop caring about something, others will, too. And consciously 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, then crap out again when I don't get much of a response to something I write that feels very important to me. It becomes a cycle of frustration that becomes really defeating to the point that I never want to public ally post anything again. During one recent cycle of writer's apathy, I actually convinced myself that I was essentially finished as a writer.
Clearly, that was not the case.
So, What Changed?
This idea of essential purpose started grabbing at me. I never stopped reading thing or reflecting and still jotted things down. That was the difference this time. I never stopped doing the act of writing even if nothing publishable would come out of it. It is essential to me that I put thongs in writing. But really, it is essential for every human being to find an avenue of expression.
I feel now that it is my purpose to help others find that individual avenue of expression that leads one to find that 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 that you can 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 that the very journey I'm taking in finding my own essential purpose will, in fact, 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. Let's find it together.