Vision. Purpose. Meaning.
These are big words, great words. Words that deserve our interest, attention, and respect. But sometimes such grand notions lie beyond our grasp.
In that case, I have a suggestion. If you are struggling to find your purpose in life, just start doing work. Any work. Anything that pops to mind that you need to accomplish. Unburden your mind from the pragmatic “I need to’s” and free it up for vision and purpose. This will help you clarify.
Then, in addition to taking the practical action steps to get your daily life in order, ask: “what creates meaning for me right now?”
That’s perhaps a much better question. The answer could be as simple as:
- Being kind to my family every day. Bringing them joy.
- Reading books that have beauty or are helpful.
- Being creative somehow each day.
- Being very productive each day.
- Spending time in nature.
- Praying to God.
It’s interesting that we have this call to ultimate meaning and total clarity. What if we just identify those daily practices that create meaning for us here and now, and take those steps, each day, consistently. Then, perhaps, ultimate meaning will emerge over time.
This is a more realistic approach. It also removes the pressure to find your purpose and establish right now a sense of ultimate meaning.
If you like this suggestion, give it a try. Work, work, work, work, work, Close as many open loops as you possibly can to free up your mind. At the same time, get up each day and pray, meditate, write, work, produce, read, commune with family and friends, and take any other steps that create meaning in the here and now. See where it goes. It’s so doable.
(This post was inspired partially by the book Getting Things Done by David Allen.)