The Weekly Dream: Carpe Diem – The Purpose Driven Now
“The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation”
-Henry David Thoreau
As the New Year approached, I asked everyone I came across what they wanted the most for the New Year. I was expecting a myriad of answers, but surprisingly, I received the same response: more vision, more clarity. In this “purpose-driven” society, it is apparent that many people are either unsure that they are doing what they are supposed to at this present time. Currently, it is popular advice to pursue your passion, make sure you like what you are doing. But sometimes it is not that easy. When I was working in Corporate America, I was astounded at how many people were unhappy in their positions or were in positions that were not a good fit for them. Those that tried to move were often “pigeon-holed” or the politics made it impossible. It was often a depressing sight to see that the majority of these individuals would never realize their full potential.
The Unexamined Life Is Not Worth Living
One of the greatest fears and possible nightmares is to be trapped in a situation that 1. Is not of your own creating 2. Not in line with your passion. Take a survey, and rare is the individual who is truly happy with where they are in life and like what they are doing. Why is this the rule and not the exception? I have come to three conclusions: 1. Lack of foresight 2. Loss of foresight 3. Change in priorities.
My friend Garlin loves to quote the Biblical truth that people perish for a lack of knowledge. If you do not want to go anywhere, any road will get you there. For most people this is not the problem. Number two is what gets you. Life is full of so many distractions, that it is easy to lose sight of the big picture. This is one of my primary fears, because complacency is real.
But what eventually happens, people find peace and contentment in something else. Normally, family, children or faith makes the politics on the job and the sacrifice worth it. But for those who do not have these or something to live for, mid-life crisis and depression are not far behind. As human beings, we can only plan so far ahead because tomorrow is not promised, but at least we should know how we arrived where we are.
Tiny Rudder, Big Ship
A change in priorities is fine, but that still does not address the issue of unrealized potential and purpose. When you die, will you be able to say that you fulfilled your destiny? There has always been a real tension between looking toward the future and living for today.
In college, my roommate Bobby and I took a Game theory economics course. The material did not come as easy for me as it did Bobby, so I needed his expertise. But it would always frustrate me because Bobby’s explanations revolved around this concept of “Sub-game equilibrium”. In game theory, this concept says that based on the long-term goal, there is an optimum step or strategy at every step leading up to the desired outcome. If an individual does what is best for them at every moment in time, then they will eventually get to their desired end.
Applied to life, this means that there is a time and a place for everything. It would be nice to know what we are here for and just do that, but we are limited in this regard. Furthermore, a large part of the joy in life is the discovery process, because it is the journey and not necessarily the destination that is important. Therefore, if we do what is best for us in the now, I believe we will eventually reach this desired end. It is not a perfect correlation, but once we know that we have made a misstep, it is up to us to change course and be ever mindful of the adjustment that is necessary.
A little advice…
The present is so important. Much of life is spent either looking forward or looking backward. It is extremely difficult to just be in the present and have faith that you are doing exactly what you are meant to be doing at this very moment. In the present, it is important to look for the lesson or how this experience or milestone fits into the grand scheme of things. I believe our destiny is wrapped in what we enjoy doing or our passion/gifts. What happens a lot of times is that people fail to truly own their talents and gifts, when that is their vehicle to greatness. Even worse, they are mistaken as to what these gifts are.
The important thing is to have a sense of where you want to go, but you do not have to know it all. But keep an eye on the future.
Life is far too precious and too short to be unhappy. Everyday presents new possibilities and opportunity. Just to have this time and have your needs met is a blessing in and of itself. Yet, maximize the moment, because all you truly have is the now.
Truth and Peace,
Steven M DeVougas
Question of the Week: How are you discovering your purpose?