Some time ago I read a news report that was, actually, quite disturbing. It seems that there was a grossly overweight woman who was so immobile that she, literally, could not get up from the couch. That couch had been her home for about six years. She couldn't get up to eat or even go to the bathroom.
I can only imagine how disgusting the situation was simply from the point of sanitation. But there was an even bigger problem that emerged. It seems that one day she became ill and the person who lived with her was not able to get her up to take her to the doctor, so emergency workers were called in.
When the emergency services people arrived, they wanted to transport her to the hospital but they ran into several problems. The first was that the house was so putrid, people had to wear protective gear to go in and even pump in fresh air from the outside. Another was simply her weight. She was so large (5’10”, 480 pounds) that they had to call in extra help.
But even that was not enough. As they tried to get her up, they realized that her skin had actually grown into the fabric of the couch. They couldn't get her out from that, so they had to transport the entire couch with the woman on it. It was all so large that they couldn't even get her through the door. They had to take out the sliding glass doors and lift the couch, with the woman still on it, onto a trailer being pulled by a pick-up truck. She died in the hospital as doctors tried to get her free.
Now, this is not meant to make light of this woman's horrific situation. I believe this was a genuine tragedy. However, it is one that was completely preventable. The reason she was in such bad condition was because she didn't do anything to take care of herself when she was able to do it. Instead, one day she just sat down on the couch and never got back up. For some reason, she lost her whole reason for living life and, basically, just gave up.
The Importance of Purpose
Everybody lives life from the moment of birth to the moment of death. Profound, right? But the life issue that we must address does not relate strictly to whether or not we physically exist. It is quite possible to be physically alive, yet our life be of such poor quality that there is no personal enjoyment, meaning, or inner peace. The question is, "What do we do with that time between our physical birth and death?"
Why is it that some people's lives are bursting with purpose, yet others spend the bulk of their free time wasting away in front of the TV, sleeping, or involving themselves in self-destructive behavior?
There are certainly a lot of different factors which play into an individual's quality of life. But the key, foundational element is purpose – a reason. A person who has a reason for living an exciting and productive life does it. The one who doesn't have a reason wanders aimlessly through life.
We could camp on that one simple truth alone and have enough material to ponder for months. But let's take things one step further. We must not only know that having a purpose is the key to a productive life, we must know our own personal purpose which is able to lead us to that productivity.
Beneath every viable purpose is a set of principles that allow for the purpose to exist. If your life is established on a set of principles that maintains, "It is not worth the effort to get out there and get a job," you won't get a job. If your principles assert, "I am unable to advance because of my skin color, family situation, past history, gender, or socio-economic level," you will not advance.
On the other hand, if your principles declare, "I am capable, and it is worth it to try," you can do almost anything. Not only that, you will do almost anything.
I personally know people who live life with purpose and those who don't. You probably do too. You know people who are lazy bums, people who are negative about life, people who are "just getting by," and those who are wildly successful. It all has to do with their effort and attitude. But all of that is built on the purpose which underlies those efforts and attitudes.
Getting at Your Purpose
It is an exciting thing to recognize the power of purpose. It is exciting because with that recognition comes an understanding that it is actually possible to do something about the various struggles we face in life. We can look at life and do an analysis, determine if we have a purpose, and decide whether or not it is taking us where we want to go. And if we don't like what we see, we can do something about it.
If you want to get a grip on your purpose, you can begin by answering a few simple questions. I suggest taking the time to actually write down your answers.
- In a general sense, what is my purpose in life? (What is my reason for getting up every day and doing what I do?)
- Do I like the direction I am going?
- If I could change and go in a new direction, what would it be?
- Would it be worth it to make that change now?
Answering the questions does not automatically give you purpose. But, once you come to grips with your answers, you will be in a position to take yourself anywhere you want to go.
You already have a purpose that is driving your life. It may be a conscious or unconscious purpose, but it is there and has brought you to the place you now stand. If you want something different for your life, you have to power to create it. Grasp your purpose now, and make your life worth living.
Dr. Freddy Davis is the owner of TSM Enterprises and conducts conferences, seminars and organizational training for executives, managers and sales professionals. He is the author of the book Supercharged! as well as the "Nutshell" Series of books for strengthening business. Sign up, free, for Freddy's twice-monthly e-letter, Nutshell Notes, at http://www.tsmenterprises.com
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