Living With Purpose
Living a purpose driven life, filled with joy and ignited by your passions.
To identify your purpose, you must participate in activities that bring you joy, fulfilment and ignite your passions. What are those things in your life that bring you joy? What have you done recently that truly ignited your purpose? If you don't know what your life purpose is, a good starting point is to find what you are good at and/or passionate about. Engage in those things that you are good at, and you never know, it might be your life purpose. There are many people in the world that have decided to live a purpose-filled life. A good example is a man by the name of Andre Bauma, a park ranger in Virunga National park located in the Democratic Republic of Congo who continuedly puts his life on the line for the endangered mountain gorillas in his care. It’s an important task because there are less than 900 mountain gorillas left in the world today. Despite the danger of this role, he continues to take care of these animals.
"Many people have left Virunga. But, for me, I felt obliged to stay with the mountain gorillas. You must justify why you are here on this earth. Gorillas justify why I am here. They are my life so if it is about dying, I will die for the gorillas.” Andrew Bauma
In this example, we can see that Andre is living his purpose. He articulates why he lives on this planet. He has a clear purpose. As a result, the activities he partakes in bring him joy and fulfilment. He is gifted in the action of loving animals. He found his gift, and then he decided to give it away. I take my hat off for Andre. He is fully equipped for his role as a carer of endangered mountain gorillas because it is his purpose. Living life outside of your purpose is like trying to walk up a downward moving escalator. No matter how hard you try, life doesn't back you up; your spirit is in disagreement with your actions, your body gets tired, and mindset is weak. Why is life so hard? Because you make it hard. Find an escalator that moves up. Living life according to your purpose is like being still and standing on an upward moving escalator. You work hard but have endless amounts of energy. Life backs you up, and your spirit gets involved. On the one side, you work hard and achieve little, and on the other side, you work little and achieve lots. You don't work when you engage in your purpose. It's not work, it's you being you. Andre doesn't work; he lives his purpose and his willing to die for his purpose. Are you willing to die for the life you are living right now? Are you willing to die for your job? Find what you are willing to die for and engage in that activity.
"Living life outside of your purpose is like trying to walk up a downward moving escalator. No matter how hard you try, life doesn't back you up."
Activity does not result in success and success does not exist outside of purpose. I met this student a while back called John. He worked hard to achieve a bachelor degree because his parents forced him to - he has no purpose in his study. He doesn't know what he wants to be. No matter how much activity there is, there will never be success in his life because he is not engaging in his purpose. Think of your life as a bucket. A bucket can be filled with water, as long as there are no holes in it. The overflow of water is your influence. The holes in the bucket are the activities you partake in, outside of your purpose. You fill the bucket with water when you partake in activities that ignite your purpose. For example, the uni student has lots of holes in his bucket. For some reason, no matter how much he tries, his bucket never fills up. To fix the bucket, he must avoid all activities that do not engage his purpose and engage all activities that do. Only then will his bucket overflow and his influence grow. All activities that are not related to your purpose will drain your energy, motivation, joy, peace, hope and faith.
"Activity does not result in success and success does not exist outside of purpose."
The only time you spend your time wisely is when you advance your overall purpose. Purpose is the only thing that remains consistent and certain. Everything else in life moves in different directions - there is no certainty in these things. Your purpose keeps you aligned and steadfast in your pursuits of success and happiness. A lot of times, people look at their past to analyse the actions they should take moving forward. Learning from your past is great. However, it is not a compass. It is not a pathway. When you turn around and look at your past, you condition yourself, without knowing it, to live the same reality. What you look at and focus on is where you are ultimately headed. So, if you are looking at your past, you are conditioning yourself to relive those moments. Even if your past is brilliant and you have no regrets, the past is gone. You cannot relive it; you cannot be in that moment again. You will not find your purpose by focusing on things that have already occurred. Things of your past are like a heavy object sinking to the bottom of the ocean. No matter how hard you try, you cannot make it resurface.
"Your purpose keeps you aligned and steadfast in your pursuits of success and happiness."
As Shakespeare famously said, "to be or not to be, that is the question." I have to agree; this is the question. You have a choice - you can either be someone that is lost or someone that is found. The only time you are found is when you found your purpose. There are people out there living in a delusion, believing they are living out their purpose by achieving a range of goals. However, living out your purpose has nothing to do with the achievement of goals set by you, your family or even your friends. No goal achieved is your purpose. Some goals might relate to your purpose, but that's all it can be. Your purpose comes from within; it comes from your spirit. The reason why you are created. Your gift. Once you have identified your gift, your goal is to give it away continuously. Only when you have achieved this goal, are you living a life of purpose. The cool thing about this goal is that it doesn't get achieved once only. This goal is not like my 100 things list where I tick off attainment goals as I go. This goal is a purpose oriented goal, not an attainment goal. A personal statement of purpose is a life you live, not a goal you check of your list of things to do in life. A purpose statement should always start with the phrase, to be. Now you make your choice - to be or not to be?
Here are two examples of purpose statements:
1) To be a spokesman for issues concerning wildlife and a leader in wildlife preservation.
2) To be a builder of custom vehicles that win racing competitions. I will use my passion and talents for design to develop, build and sell world class racing vehicles.
Andre Bauma will have a purpose statement similar to the first example, however more specifically concerning the protection of endangered mountain gorillas. His inner love, passion and concern for wildlife enable him to identify his purpose. Please understand that a purpose statement does not have to be short. It can be long. In fact, I recommend that your purpose statement is full of detail, yet concise and to the point. You can read my purpose statement at the end of this blog to help you get started.
Lastly, your purpose can never be acquired through the opinions of others, even if their opinions come from a place of love. The people you spend time with will either elevate your God giving purpose, or press it down. Listen to your spirit to identify your purpose and then befriend those that love you for your purpose. If they dislike your purpose, it will be hard to be their friend, unless you allow them to press down your purpose. For example, Andre will not be hanging out with mountain gorilla poachers, nor would he animal hunters. Anyone living in a realm beyond his purpose is outside of this his passion zone (a blog about this coming soon). Spend time with those that fit into your purpose realm.
"The people you spend time with will either elevate your God giving purpose, or press it down."
My purpose statement:
To be a man of valour, courage and integrity capable of concentrating all of his abilities and efforts on the task at hand. To be a man that listens twice as much as he speaks. To be a happiness spokesman that laughs at himself and all small experiences - helping others experience the same kind of joy. To be fearless of mistakes and challenges. To be open to people and all opportunities. To act on my passions. To maintain a positive attitude no matter what the circumstance. To be decisive. To be a function of my values rather than my impulses and desires. To compete only with myself every day and to improve. To seek out better lives and achievements for others. To be balanced spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically. To be a powerful and loving individual capable of inspiring, teaching and equipping others to be the best they can be - enabling them to tap into their untapped potential. To leverage my God giving capabilities. To be a prophetic influence and speaker of life, joy and eternity.
To live out my purpose, there are a number of roles that need to take priority in my life. For example, to compete with myself every day and to improve, I must take on the role of being a scholar. I will discuss this further in the blog, Roles of Your Purpose.
Take some time to brainstorm all the things you are passionate about - this is a good starting point. Then, take the time to write down your purpose statement. Sometimes, it takes months, even years to be clear about your purpose so trust me, this is not something you want to rush.
If you want to learn more, simply browse these blog categories: