Focus on Your Purpose
If you want to develop sustainable and consistent motivation regardless of your circumstances, you have to a laser focus on your purpose. What are the big objectives you’re working for? What are your life’s biggest hopes? What are the things that explain why you wake up day after day and put on your clothes?
Is it just to pay the bills or put food on the table? Is it just to live another day? No, of course not. You have a bigger purpose out there. Unfortunately, a lot of people struggle with motivation precisely because they’ve lost sight of the big purpose of their lives.
Believe me, this has nothing or little to do with your family, what you do for a living, and your everyday obligations, responsibilities, or duties. It’s something more. It’s something bigger. What is the reason why you continue to remain on this Earth?
Well, the good news is all of us have a purpose if we dig deep enough. Unfortunately, we get so side-tracked by our attempts to just keep our heads above water that the “big things” don’t seem that important. Now, we know deep down inside that they are, but the problem is we focus on what’s immediate.
If we keep this up, it’s only a matter of time until we live our lives in such a way that it’s very easy to conclude that we have no purpose at all. We just all focus on the next crisis that we have to solve or the next set of problems that we have to get over. The idea of having a reason to strive for something simply escapes us.
That’s part of the reason why so many people feel stuck. Now, this doesn’t mean that they’re not happy, but there is no purpose. It’s not clear. It’s set somewhere in the distance and all they have to look forward to is one set of issues, challenges, and problems after another.
From time to time, they allow themselves to relax. From time to time, they focus on something that delivers pleasure, but a lot of it is shallow. A lot of it is temporary. This is due to the fact that we focus on objectives.
We think that if you achieve something at some point in the future, then you’ll be happy. This is a lie. It’s an illusion. Here’s an example. When I was in high school, I was under the impression that if I worked hard and sacrificed enough, I would get into this school that I’ve always dreamt of attending.
Sure enough after I did well enough on the SAT test and got my grades up, I got admitted to a really “good school”. What do you think happened there? Do you think I was happier? Of course, not. At that point, I started telling myself, “I will be happy once I finish school with the right degree and I get a corporate job.”
Sure enough, things turned out according to plan and I got myself a nice job in one of the bigger insurance companies in Southern California. Do you think I was happier then? By that point, my definition of happiness changed to something else. It seems that each time I reach the goal, the goalposts keep getting pushed forward.
I wish I could tell you that somebody else was doing it, but I was doing this to myself. I am hardly alone. You see, our definition of success and happiness change based on our circumstances. If we were just to use happiness as our primary frame of reference, we’ll never reach it.
It’s going to be an impossible destination that keeps getting pushed further and further away. It’s as if we’re constantly kicking the can down the road. Again, I’m not the only person doing this.
Now, if I were living my life based on purpose and focusing primarily on why I do things instead of what to do and how to do it, I probably would have a different experience. Purpose is not just an objective. Your purpose actually defines you, reflects your character, maps out your personal values, and reflects your legacy and destiny.
I know that these are big words for a lot of people. After all, this book is supposed to be practical, but this is the most practical thing you could wrap your mind around. Until and unless you focus on the big things of life which is your personal purpose, it’s going to be very hard to get motivated and remain so.
It seems that all the other empty details of life constantly get the better of you and you get confused. Your resolve starts to waver. You start thinking, “What’s the big deal anyway? Why don’t I just choose to be happy now? Why don’t I choose to be happy with the things that I get?”
Well, when you do that. You’re settling. You’re not living a purpose-focused life. You’re definitely not living life according to your terms. Instead, you’re settling for the crumbs. You’re settling for the things life kicks you way.
Before you know it, you end up letting the mundane and the routine nature of life cloud your vision. It’s hard for you to develop a sense of urgency because you’d think, “What’s the point? I’m never going to be fully happy anyways so might as well settle for now.”
Make no mistake. When you focus on your purpose, you clarify the mundane, break past the routine, and excite a deep sense of urgency. You’ll never feel like you’re just wasting your time and just going through the motions.
All it takes is a laser focus on your purpose. Please stop doing it as some sort of destination. When we do that, we depress, discourage, and diminish ourselves because we focus on the distance between where we are now and where we feel we should be. Focus instead on the fact that you have a purpose in the first place.
Unleash the power of Visualization
One of the main reason people struggle with getting motivated by their sense of purpose is that it’s not “real enough”. Anybody can write down the grand objectives they have for their lives. Anybody, with enough effort, can put together some sort of mission and vision statement for their personal existence.
This is not the issue. The issue is whether any of this is emotionally urgent and “real enough for them to have their intended effect. The effect of course, is motivation.
One of the best ways to trigger this is to play a mental movie. Imagine your purpose play out in front of your mind’s eye. What would you see? Focus on the details and how the characters interact with each other.
Now, allow yourself to feel the emotions of those characters. This is the ideal you in some distant future you. How much different is that person’s emotional state? How much clearer is that person’s appreciation of hi/her place in the world compared to your understanding now? How intense is the sense of fulfillment that you get when you play this mental movie?
Focus on this. Don’t just feel the emotions. Focus on the reality of being in that place. Understand that this is your ultimate goal. Understand that this is what’s supposed to push you towards the boring stuff of life and towards the endless duties, responsibilities, and obligations. This is what’s supposed to give you the drive and the urgency to overcome the challenges.
Now, you have to keep rehashing this until it has the intended effect. Don’t think that just because you came up with the mental movie the first time around, that it’s good enough. No. It has to have the intended effect. It has to give you that sense of purpose.