Last week I was talking to my son and he was sharing the feeling among his peers about their goals in life now that they have finished college.
Often when one finishes a goal one has strive for instead of feeling accomplishment we feel empty and incomplete.
Now Life goals and purpose are never constant, one moment you strive to get your degree, then a job or career progression…
Films always make it seem easy about finding your purpose in life.
In it the hero has a simple set of goals
Rescue the damsel in distress, kill the bad guy, save the world.
One of my favourite clips in a film comes from the 1999 film The Mummy
Winston: So, what’s your little problem got to do with His Majesty’s Royal Air Corps?
Rick: Not a damn thing.
Winston: Is it dangerous?
Rick: Well, you probably won’t live through it.
Winston: By Jove, do you really think so?
Jonathan: Well, everybody else we’ve bumped into has died. Why not you?
Winston: You know, O’Connell, ever since the end of the Great War, there hasn’t been a single challenge worthy of a man like me.
Rick: Yeah? Well, we all got our little problems today. Don’t we, Winston?
Winston: [stepping into a fountain] Some bloody idiot spilled his drink.
Winston: [as the plane spins through the sandstorm] Here I come, laddies! Ha-ha-ha-ha!
Some of us are lucky that our talent ( or parents) may steer us in a particular direction such as the Venus Sisters or Tiger Woods.
However even these people will find that their careers change as they age, you will not always be the top golfer or tennis player and then you need to find another purpose.
You may make enough to be physically comfortable but you still need a reason to wake up in the morning.
You can only go on holiday or party for just so long.
WE HABITUATE to these pleasures and life has to mean more.
However for most us its a journey. That’s the adventure in life.
For many of us we take a direction, find we don’t like it till unhappiness makes us want to make a change. (you have to have some degree of hunger or drive to strive towards something).
In fact the biggest problem in affluence can be boredom….
Having nothing to do can be as “stressful” and being overworked
Waiting for inspiration to strike and having a moment of epiphany to discover what you want will not happen.
The thing is to do something, it is only by taking a challenge that we discover about ourselves and grow.
What is still important irrespective of what our purpose is the need for Self Mastery – being good at being good at what we are good at.
We need to feel in control of our life, it reduces anxiety and fear and makes us take ownership of our lives.
There is a well known study of two groups in an OAP home where both groups were given a potted plan. One was told to look after it and the other was told it would be cared for. Those that looked after the plan had purpose and control and lived longer and were happier.