So many people I talk to are stuck living in survival mode. They have given up on any higher aspirations for their life and are just focused on getting through the week. The thought of reaching for something more has become painful or anxiety provoking since they don't believe it is possible any longer for themselves.
I remember being in this state for years. I dropped out of college after my first semester and found myself working as a pizza delivery driver. I had such big plans and dreams for my life. Now here I was six months into my early adult life driving around delivering pizzas. It wasn't long before I became discontent with my situation. As a means of coping with my increasingly negative emotional state, I began to smoke pot on a daily basis.
Losing hope lead to escape
Whenever I would experience feelings associated with my lack of purpose and direction, marijuana would take them away. Unbeknownst to me at the time, my discontent was my greatest resource. Had I been able to tolerate and use this energy, it would have driven me to make changes in my life leading to constructing a more fulfilling future.
However, I didn't see a path for myself at the time and lost hope. Moreover, a growing voice inside my head said, "Just accept this is going to be your life and stop desiring more." Part of me believed this would end my suffering. I could just use drugs and alcohol, extinguish any longing for something greater, and settle for an ordinary life. I took this approach temporarily but am grateful I was able to find my way beyond it.
You were meant for more
Although I was able to suppress my wish for a life of purpose temporarily, I was not able to extinguish it. Maybe, you can relate to parts of my story. Perhaps, that is why you avoid spending any time alone with yourself. I believe we all have the desire for purpose embedded deep within us. Despite your best efforts, you cannot fully terminate your yearning for a more meaningful life.
This is the tragedy of life for so many: living a life far below what they are capable of and devoid of greater purpose. I am eternally grateful I found my way out of this state. The difference between the life I once lived and the one I do now is indescribable. It has taken a lot of support, courage, and persistence to get to where I am today.
These are not qualities that are exclusive to me but that you possess as well. If you are struggling today with despair or resignation associated with living a dissatisfying life, don't lose hope. There is a path forward for you. No matter what you have experienced, there are still embers burning down there somewhere because you were meant for more.
Steps to creating a life of purpose
The first step toward a life of greater purpose is acknowledging your desire for it. This takes courage since you are opening yourself up for possible disappointment. But your past can be your greatest teacher. Failure is learning. Nothing is wasted. If you reflect on why you have not succeeded thus far, you can learn valuable lessons from your prior attempts. I failed at my first three businesses before I became successful with my current one.
The next major hurdle to overcome is refraining from becoming discouraged by not knowing the HOW of the way you will get there. This is where the majority of people get stuck. They start to connect to their passion and get disheartened and shut down when they cannot see how or when they way they will achieve their goal. The answer to this dilemma is support, guidance, and mentorship.
Identify those who have attained what you desire and emulate them. Don't attempt to reinvent the wheel. Success leaves clues. Study the lives of exceptional individuals. But the most important thing is beginning to build your team of support. No one got there on their own. Anything you are presently lacking in the way of resources or knowledge can be obtained. People are not greater than you. They have just put in the effort and acquired the right information.
Finally, believe developing a life of purpose is possible for you because it is. Without it, life has no true meaning. Take the necessary steps to obtain the support and direction you need to create a life of meaning. Don't let another day go by living less than you are capable of. Discover your purpose, and construct a life of significance. It is closer than you think.
John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C.
John has helped thousands of clients overcome the hidden internal blocks which had kept them from achieving their maximum potential. Furthermore, he has assisted them in gaining clarity of their true life purpose, identifying their gifts and talents, and developing lives of greater meaning and significance.