The Purpose of Life
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"Every single person has a life to live, a work to do, a glorious personality, a wonderful individuality."
- Dr Edward Bach
"The purpose of life is a life of purpose."
At least that's what Neil Asher says in the section on life purpose in the New Insights Life Coach Training Programme - and I agree! Surely this is the secret to leading a happy, meaningful and satisfying life?
Not so easy!
The trouble is, for so many of us, coming to terms with our true purpose is just not that easy or simple. Can you say, categorically, hand on heart, that you know with clarity what your life purpose is?
If you're one of the fortunate ones who answered yes to this question, here's another: "Are you living your life on purpose?"
A long time coming
I know what my life purpose is, I can honestly say that I feel I am really starting to live it and my life is certainly changing for the better. But you know what? It took me around half a century to get to this point!
It seems so strange now to think that during the entire course of my upbringing, my education and my working career, no one ever thought of challenging me to describe (or even just think about) my life's purpose. Not my parents, not my teachers, not my work colleagues, not my wife - and here's the twist - not even me!
Why, if this is such a vital ingredient in enjoying a satisfying and rewarding life, isn't the understanding and pursuit of one's life purpose considered a fundamental part of growing up for all of us?
Programmed by others who know best
I struggled to come up with an appropriate answer to this until I thought carefully about my own life and why I had taken the course that I did. It made me realize just how 'programmed' we humans allow our lives to be. It's as if we're following a formula that we have devised over the years and years of our predecessors' experiences - and from which we deviate at our peril!
And the problem I have with this is the fact that it is based on the presumption that others know best what is right for us; that society should dictate who we are, what we do and how we act.
Think about it.
In all likelihood your parents chose to send you to the school that they felt offered you the best education for what they could afford. At school you were taught that to 'get anywhere' in life you needed to study hard and get good grades. Your peers taught you that to behave in a way that was out of character with the rest of them would be embarrassing and possibly hurtful.
It goes on...
Your family and friends very probably encouraged you to take up a career that would pay well and then your employer dictated to you how to do your job in the way that would be most acceptable to them, dangling the carrot of a good career, possible promotion and more money if you toed the line.
Your church, if you belonged to one, made it clear what was expected from you to be regarded as a 'good' Christian, Buddhist, Moslem or whatever religious persuasion you may have chosen or inherited. Once married, your spouse dictated to you what they expected from a 'good' partner and society largely influenced your beliefs about what it meant to be a 'good' mother or father to your children (no doubt this included teaching them the very things you had been taught were right or wrong).
So here's my point...
Massive emphasis on conformity
We human beings have placed massive emphasis on conformity in our bid to regulate the world we live in - like it or not, we are all constantly expected to conform with the norms, standards and expectations of some or other collective group to which we belong.
The sheer amount of effort that we channel into conforming - living the way others want or expect of us - robs us individuals of the energy and motivation needed to explore our own identities and connect with the unique and very special contribution that each of us has to offer to the collective life experience.
It's therefore hardly surprising that few of us get to think deeply about our life purpose until quite late in life, if at all.
A most liberating experience
Yet getting acquainted with one's life purpose - and then living it - can be the most liberating, emotive and joyful experience. For, suddenly, life gains true meaning, days become challenging, inspiring and fun filled. By focusing on doing what you believe you were put on Earth to do, you attract the very things you need to achieve your purpose. Success is assured and success breeds more success.
What, then, you may ask, is the secret to finding one's life purpose?
Connecting with your inner voice
I believe the answer lies in listening to your 'inner voice'.
"Hmm..." I can hear you grumble: "What exactly do you mean and how?"
Every one of us has an inner voice. Call it the 'expression of your core', your pure, authentic, all-knowing self, if you like - that part of you that represents your true identity, unaffected and unswayed by your ego or external influences. Your inner voice knows why you are here and desperately wants to be heard above the noise and clutter of the voices of external influence.
So how do you learn to tune into the radio station that transmits from the very essence of your being?
Let me suggest you start by freeing up some of your time and space. Take a step back from your frenetic day-to-day life with all of its external demands, shield yourself from the 'static' that emanates from the overload of external information that you are bombarded with and allocate a little quality time to you!
Find a place of relative solitude and beauty. Give yourself time to settle in to the surroundings and slowly come to terms with your own background chatter - the constant unspoken conversations going on inside your head that go something like this:
"I hope no-one is trying to get hold of me - I'd be embarrassed if someone saw me sitting here - The boss will be angry if I stay away too long - This is such a waste of my time when I should be going to gym."
As you relax and start to be more comfortable with the idea of giving yourself quality time, your background conversations will change in subject and tone and you will start to 'hear' something more like this:
"Funny, I never noticed that object here before - Wow, it's really beautiful here - Gosh, this place is so peaceful - I feel relaxed and at ease."
Now you know you are becoming receptive to your inner voice. It's time to ask yourself the following questions:
What is it that I do now that I work hard at but which feels more like fun than work?
What things do I do that I can't seem to get enough of and that I put my heart and soul into?
What is it that I really enjoy doing that seems to come naturally to me?"
- "What was there in my early life that caused me to work hard and have great fun at the same time?
Jigsaw pieces falling into place
It may take you a while before you find the answers coming easily and the jigsaw pieces falling into place. You may need to retreat to your place of solitude a few times and you may need to question the honesty with which you first answered your own questions. But have patience and your purpose will eventually become crystal clear to you. Then you will sense a wonderful feeling of inner peace followed, perhaps, by some bewilderment and mild embarrassment at the fact that you had not reached this point sooner!
Life coaching teaches people how to get in tune with their life purpose and then to live a life of purpose. For this reason, it has to be one of the most rewarding careers in existence for those who love working with, and empowering, other people.
Perhaps your own life purpose is to help other people discover - and live - their life purpose? If so, I invite you to consider training with New Insights Africa. If you have the passion to be a successful life coach, we have the skills, business support and backup you'll need.
Visit our website for more information on our highly regarded home study programme.
Till next week...
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If you think you are Life Coach material why not study, at your own pace and in your own time, with New Insights Africa? If you have the passion, we have the skills, knowledge and support to offer you. Please visit our website.
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