It struck me recently that humans only seem to function well when we have a purpose. If we don't we can't seem to motivate ourselves or find much joy in life which is when the wheels start coming off our existence.
What is the purpose of being human, if not to make a difference to the world around us? To make a difference we should know what that difference could be, i.e. we need to discover our own purpose. With purpose comes focus and with focus we can achieve just about anything. However, to find your purpose can be tricky if the basics of survival are getting in the way. It's difficult to think of a higher purpose when you're struggling to put food on the table- survival becomes the only focus. I am saddened to think that in this century there are people still struggling to get through each day.
When I thought that I was going to die, my overriding feeling was that my life had had no meaning up until then. Yes, I was successful but I made no impact, the long hours the ambition, the materialistic motivation were as dust. Talking to other survivors of disasters and life changing events, this sense of life needing meaning is a common theme.
These days we need to consider what our personal purpose is. Choosing what it might be is a skill. Do you want to make a difference for the good of yourself and all? Or do you just want to feather your own nest - while selfish I allow that it is a purpose.
I know my purpose; it is to serve. I want to leave whatever or whomever I come into a contact with in a better frame of mind or with a more joyous outlook precipitated by what I have said or done. Doesn't always work but that is what I strive for.
Image courtesy of Sarah Vitale
Purpose requires motivation
Even when you have a purpose it can be difficult sometimes to maintain the motivation needed to see it through. The funny thing is; we think if we are doing what we love then it will be great all the time- not so! To achieve success, you must do the mundane as well as the marvellous and occasionally that can be tough, and even boring.
As I struggled through my physical recovery post-crash, I put on a lot of weight and the task of losing weight became a focus, one I found incredibly tedious. I literally had to just keep putting one foot in front of the other to do the exercise I needed to do to lose the weight and regain my strength. There were days when diving under the duvet and staying there forever seemed a better option.
However, I gritted my teeth and dug deep. Breaking everything down into manageable chunks helps when you must get through a mundane task. Persistence and repetition will pay off and then you can enjoy doing more of the fun stuff.
Purpose sparks creativity
When you feel that you have a purpose you can allow yourself some daydreaming time to tap into your own creativity. This is especially helpful if you find yourself stuck, unable to move forward. This is also the time to share with others, your vision, your purpose and where you are stuck. Another purpose of being human is to make connections. We are a social race and I don't mean Facebook and Twitter. Human interaction sparks creativity which in turn can move you close to your goals. A shared purpose, such as our campaign for rail safety, can bring out the best in the many as well as the individual.
Not sure of your purpose? Try this exercise - I recommend staring at yourself in the mirror, I mean deep into your own eyes, and asking 'what is my purpose' and 'am I doing what I need to do to achieve my purpose' if not 'what do I need to change?'. I don't mean the trivial every day stuff or annoyances, I mean really ask the questions on a fundamental deep level. I promise it refocuses your thought processes and re-energises your actions.