Why You Should Forget (Most) Everything You’ve Heard About “Finding Your Purpose”

Great minds have purpose, others have wishes. – Washington Irving

I want to take a little bit of a different direction and use this quote to talk about “finding your purpose.”

Based on what I’ve read and some pretty deep thinking, I believe “purpose” is misunderstood.

It would seem that the popular understanding of purpose is that’s it’s something to unearthed, something to be discovered. And once discovered, can serve as guide for life and all its activities.


What a mind-fudge!

Such a view sets us up to fail, and fail miserably in many cases.

Implicit in such a scenario is that if you don’t divine your purpose, you’re doomed to a rudder-less, devoid-of-passion life, merely bumbling from one pedestrian pursuit to the next.

There’s a alternative though.

We all have a purpose, I will allow that. But it’s not some Holy Grail like thing that waits in the ether for use to finally, perhaps miraculously, discover.

Our purpose is something we create – something we bring into being.

At the outset, your purpose is self-knowledge and finding the willingness to be curious and work hard.

It’s sort of like you before you were born. Before you were conceived really.

Prior to your conception everything necessary for you to exist was already in place, but it took some doing to convert your potentiality into reality. And it happened. You were conceived and then you were born.

But you had to develop in the womb first. That’s how the process works. Babies must gestate.

So too with your purpose. There’s a process to creating your purpose.

It’s starts with believing that you are here to do things and do them as only you can. (Not that you’re better than anyone… everyone has their own purpose (and way of serving and contributing).)

What needs to happen for you to create your purpose is a combination of gentle curiosity and inquiry combined with hard work and experimentation.

You need to be curious about what it is you might be very good at, and derive great satisfaction from and develop a willingness to try stuff, and to work hard while doing so.

As you engage in this cycle of curiosity and inquiry and experimentation and hard work you begin to create your purpose.

As you explore the gentle whispers of your soul you work your butt off and learn what feeds you and what drains you – and what you resist and what draws you in deeper and deeper.

Purpose is something you create.

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