“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” ― G.K. Chesterton
In Victor Frankl’s beautiful book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” he describes, from his personal experience, how some people can endure almost any hardship if their will to live is great enough.
Life can be difficult, as we endure many trials and tribulations during our short time on earth. Over a long period of time, these obstacles can make life seem like a meaningless and cruel task master. We often ask ourselves why we endure and, if no answer is forthcoming, lose hope and fail to achieve our true potential. Victor Frankl answer was to find something to live for: a clear, profound and compelling purpose. A reason to live that was so compelling, that it drives us forward over any and all obstacles. A life with purpose fills the void and gives us hope to see a better day, faith that it will arrive and the courage necessary to make it happen. Purpose answers why we live by elevating our thinking to a higher plane, where we can draw upon the greater powers to achieve extraordinary results. A life with purpose gives us a reason to see beyond the daily difficulties, and reminds us that the sacrifices we offer are but a small price to pay to achieve something bigger and more important than just ourselves. Purpose gives us hope, when it is in short supply, meaning, when there is none, and faith when we need it the most.
Take the time to consider your own life’s purpose. Perhaps it is to provide a better life for your family, or to give your children more opportunity, or to make a significant contribution to your community, or achieve a great advancement in business, science, literature or the arts. It can be as grand as leaving a significant financial legacy, or as simple as raising a good family. A purpose is powerful, poignant and personal. It is meant for you and you only, a beacon to provide guidance.
Whatever you decide as a higher purpose, make it resonant with every fiber in your body, from your mind to the depths of your soul. Consider it a profound reflection of what your life’s work. Think of a purpose that will instill you with a sense of accomplishment and pride, knowing that you are becoming a better person and are making a positive impact on others, as you strive towards its fulfilment.
Your purpose will likely evolve over the course of your life. Unlike goals, which are short term and have a clearer path to their achievement, a purpose is long term and visionary. A purpose often unfolds as we age and mature, becoming clearer as we find our place in this world and as God reveals our gifts and how we can best contribute. As we approach mid age, our purpose often turns to how we can start giving back to make our community, and make the world a better place with the abundance we have created thus far. Finally, as we approach the end of our life, our purpose often turns to a legacy and a commitment to leave a mark on our world.
Do not be concerned if your purpose is unclear. Take the time necessary to consider it. Start writing down what you believe your purpose is. The process of writing always clarifies the thinking and becomes a record that can bring us focus and enlightenment over time. Don’t overanalyze it; just listen to the quiet voice inside of you speaking to what is important to you. This is your calling in life.
Finally, a purpose should move your thinking to a higher level of consciousness so your mind becomes open to the possibilities. This type of purpose will push you well beyond your comfort zone and will bring forth your gifts in a powerful and meaningful way, making the mark of your time on earth meaningful and lasting.
Eamonn has a B. Eng. (Electrical) from Lakehead University, MBA (Finance) from University of Toronto, and has completed Executive Education at Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He lives in Vancouver, Canada. Follow him on twitter @EamonnPercy