What kind of life do I want to live when death is so present?
Recent events have been a good reminder of the frailty of life. In the US currently nearly as many people die of COVID every day as on 9/11. More and more people are wondering what the point is.
Why are we even alive?
Life can be hard. It can be overwhelming.
Why deal with it? What can one orient oneself on?
Living without Purpose
Many people worked even harder in the past year. The average working time went up around the world with all the time saved on commuting. Employees in a frenzy of home office work ended up in a reactive wave of activity. But to what end?
Doing more of the same old with more fervor will not fill an emptiness, will not fill the void left by a purposeless life, nor will it create a future we would want to live in. The future based on our current trend lines doesn’t look very good.
Most of us have felt, maybe deep down, that it has been time for a shift. And then a shift came, shaking things up to the core. Being shaking up is also an opportunity to look at things in new ways. Amidst the interruption of our routines, there has been an opening for an age old question. A question that has been around since we first realized that we are here. A question about the purpose of it all.
Looking for Purpose
Purpose as a keyword has been trending on Google nearly in parallel to the pandemic waves of 2020. Make sense; purpose is this idea that holds promise. The promise of a meaningful life, the promise of having one’s life matter, of having an impact in this world.
Purpose can be a romantic delusion, some people think that once they find their “purpose” everything will be okay. Like the idea of finding “Mr./Ms. Right” and living happily ever after. Anyone who has been in a long term relationship knows it’s not all that peachy. It’s similar with purpose.
Purpose is one of those big words, that has become nearly meaningless as a result of overuse. It also means very different things to different people. It’s easy to think that living a life of purpose is this elusive thing, this luxury that only a few get to live; that purpose is not for people who have to put food on the table every day, or for those feeling stuck in a job, with a family to feed; that purpose is only for those few crazies who do it no matter what out of some bizarre compulsion. It’s easy to think that purposeful business is a pipe dream, reserved for those few “social” businesses run by do-gooders that don’t really create profit (which is a fallacy, just Google the stats). Purpose can be much more practical than that.
You don’t have to “save the whales for Jesus”, as my friend likes to say, in order to live a purposeful life, or run a purposeful business.
Being purposeful simply means you are clear on the why behind what you do.
Being clear on the why behind what you do in every moment is ultimately about the most precious thing you have: YOUR ATTENTION.
Life is a summation of moments. From birth to death, one moment after another, until you die one day. The quality of each moment ultimately determines the quality of your life. In every moment, the most precious thing you have is your attention.
- What are you orienting your awareness toward?
- What is the content of each of your moments?
- How are you experiencing the moment?
- Why are you doing what you are doing in every given moment?
Purpose is not as much about what you do, it’s about being clear about why you do it:
- Is that doom scrolling through news really supporting your life?
- Is that social media feed filled with “look at me and my lunch” pictures and bifurcated political positioning really adding to the quality of your moment?
- Is that meeting really worth your time?
- Does that job and the activities you do every day really make sense to you?
- Is that current task really necessary? Could it also be automated or delegated?
- Is that business strategy really adding value to the world?
- Is your life really adding value to the world?
Purpose or Purposeful
Given the plethora of meaningless activities that is available at our fingertips, it is not surprising that people have been looking for something more. That is the beginning of the quest for Purpose. Purpose is about the why behind the what.
Purpose is about a personal why and a bigger picture why.
Purpose is a big concept, and finding your purpose might seem elusive and overwhelming. To break it down, and make it accessible, think about living and being purposeful. Being purposeful simply means paying attention to the moment. It is about being clear about your connection to it, and how every moment will contribute to that sense of completion you would want to feel on your deathbed one day. Relieve yourself of having to find “your purpose”, and find purpose in every moment. Then, before you know it, you will live a purposeful life.
A purposeful life is not out of reach, and “purpose” might not even be what you are really looking for. Curiously enough, people might think they are looking for purpose, but in many cases, what people are actually looking for when they look for purpose, is actually something else. They are looking for a reason to get out of bed in the morning and feel excited about their day.
The Key is Intrinsic Motivation
Self-Determination Theory developed by psychologists Edward L. Deci and Richard Ryan, posits that intrinsic motivation occurs when three innate human needs are met:
- Being clear on your personal why, on a vision of your future self that your current activity is supporting – a sense of autonomy, of living “your life”.
- Having the tools to continue to grow with the challenges, feeling a sense of competence as a result.
- Having a bigger picture why, a vision of the world you are contributing to, resulting in a sense of belonging and relatedness.
Intrinsic Motivation is not something magical that comes or doesn’t — it can be built and consciously created through practice. Imagine what your life would be like:
- Getting up in the morning, being clear on what you are doing, and more importantly, why you are doing it, feeling excited about contributing yourself to the world. In yoga, they say health is when you jump out of bed in the morning singing and dancing.
- Feeling a sense of clarity and focus, knowing that you will learn new things today, but that you are going to master them, and that, even if you fail, you will grow and evolve ever more toward a future self you are aspiring to, truly embracing the journey you are on.
- Going to bed at night with a sense of accomplishment, exhausted, but in that good kind of way, where you are going to sleep with a sense of gratitude for all that happened that day, and for all that you accomplished.
In can be daunting to get started on this journey. But you are not alone.
We have two lives, and the second begins when we realize we only have one – Confucius
Need help getting started?
Watch this live class recording with Huddol Journeys Mentor, Philip Horváth, to discover how to start your new year with purpose. Make this the year where you kick off your journey into a purposeful life.
These live online classes are brought to you by Huddol Journeys: A daily companion for personal transformation.
About Philip Horváth’s 7-day transformational Journey: How to Live a Purposeful Life: Aligning yourself with your calling
In his 7-day Journey, Philip will give you some of the basic frameworks and tools to live a purposeful life and introduce you to:
- Your Human Operating System and how you “function”
- How you experience, process, and even how you can create reality
- How you can be in better relationship with yourself and others
- How you can build supportive habits that get you ever closer to the life you want to live
- How you can live a meaningful life that leaves behind a legacy you can be proud of
Learn all the basics for living a purposeful life and start feeling that sense of excitement and motivation to create the future!
Living purposefully is, of course, only the beginning of your adventure.
Access Philip Horváth’s 7-day transformational Journey. Downloading the Huddol Journeys App