Many of us heard our families discuss having purpose growing up. It is easy to perceive our reality, which is typically limited to our thoughts and life experiences, that may not relate to others with different cultures or backgrounds. It can be hard to understand what others have been through if we have not experienced it directly. For example, we may get diagnosed with cancer that is in stage four, and the doctor gives us six months to live. Though death comes for us all in the end (this is one of our universal commonalities as human beings), many try to avoid the perpetual, ticking clock. We look to find our purpose to make sense of our world and experiences.
Throughout history, we have learned about monumental agents of change like Saint Teresa of Calcutta, better known as Mother Teresa, Bob Marley, Harriet Tubman, to Jesus Christ himself. These iconic idols in our history used their time and medium to help drive change. On the outside, looking in, it would feel that their purpose is what most of us know them as.
For some reading this, comparing others to what Jesus Christ accomplished and sacrificed during his life as the Messiah may be complicated. I am not attempting a theological debate. Furthermore, I am sharing that purpose can find us in times that can be difficult with much pressure to abandon such change. The same goes for our purpose. It can be a water-downed life full of meaning in a society that measures success by how large our houses are, what cars we drive, or how many followers we have on social media.
It is easy to look at others and think what they are doing is excellent and that we can never amount to their accomplishments. We compare ourselves to their looks and start degrading ourselves, evading any positive feelings we have about ourselves. It is easy to compare, and finding purpose is similar. Our goal does not have to be something significant that gets us praise and followers. The universe does not keep time as we do with a manufactured clock nor track our progress in a life full of purpose.
We can trick ourselves into avoiding something we feel compelled to do that allows us to feel purposeful by our constant fear of failure and comparing ourselves to others. Impostor syndrome can find us, and we begin to talk negatively about ourselves – not smart enough, handsome enough, skilled enough, and so on. Taking a risk on doing something we are drawn to accomplish, especially to help our communities, our families, or ourselves, can be rewarding even if we do not fully succeed the way we expect to.
The idea is we attempted to do something we have thought about for some time, and hopefully, we learned something to improve on our quest for fulfilling a purpose-driven life. Purpose is not limited to large-scale change but allows us to fulfill a meaning that will enable us to feel complete and whole. Purpose can be as simple as writing a column that may touch a few of its readers in a positive or thought-provoking way.