My resources for pursuing my purpose

The purpose of our lives is to be happy. Dalai Lama, Tibetan Leader.

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Having determined my purpose in life is “living to my highest self and inspire others to do the same”; and in considering how I may go about doing that; I found myself in a quandary when I came across the above quote. I thought I was supposed to find purpose and meaning in my life, then I would become happy. Now I read that I am supposed to find happiness; and then that will become my purpose. I became confused.

Here are another three quotes that added to my confusion:

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose” Richard Leider

“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”
Gautama Buddha

So in moving on, I had been wading through trying to work out my life’s goals and aims in order to fulfill my purpose and this had been proving a bit difficult when I became unsure as to whether I should be aiming for happiness or purpose.  (Message to self: it is far better to be confused about whether to pursue a life of happiness or a life of purpose than to be stuck back in pain, anger, despair, fear and turmoil.)

Then I came across this quote:

“Accept yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your truths, and know what tools you have to fulfill your purpose.”  Steve Maraboli, Life, the Truth, and Being Free

Aah! Light-bulb moment. I think I will start from there – my resources. If I look at what I already have to work with, it may become easier to find out where I need to go.

My 35 years business experience has taught me that, whenever you begin a new project, you should always firstly look at your resources – in business that is infrastructure, money, and human resources. The next steps are to look at what resources are missing, fill in the gaps, then march on to completing the project. The initial step, however, is always looking at your resources; look at your starting point.

In my life’s direction it is a little bit back to front because I am not sure of my actual project and therefore my goals. However, I thought there would be no harm at looking at the starting point – at what I already have to work with.

This post is therefore outlining my new beginning, a first draft appraisal of listing what resources I already have. Later I will explore these in more depth and then move on to my goals. The first 8 in my resources list are my strengths. The last 2 are the people and the tangible resources I have in my life. The beauty of looking at all this from the point of view of my “resources” or the things that I have, is that it makes me focus on my strengths and my positive attributes and the people and tangible assets I already have in my life. This is a fantastic strategy of moving away from that dark place of grief and despair where I was focussing on my losses, my weaknesses and being negative towards myself….

In listing my resources, I have realised that I have got more to work with than I had previously thought.

Here is my list. .

My Resources For Pursuing My Purpose

  1. Character strengths
  2. Personality strengths
  3. Attitude strengths
  4. Talents
  5. Skills
  6. Education
  7. Knowledge
  8. Experience
  9. Support
  10. Security

Onwards and upwards to my new life with enthusiasm and vigour :)

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Image courtesy [jscreationzs]:FreeDigitalPhotos.net

45 thoughts on “My resources for pursuing my purpose

  1. Onwards and upwards to my new life with enthusiasm and vigour :-)
    This sounds great, Elizabeth! To be optimistic makes you happy, and to be happy is what you live for. That does not mean you cannot set goals for yourself.
    Be happy, Elizabeth. Do whatever makes you feel happy. I think another word for ‘happy’ could be content?

    • It all gets back to those ‘needs’, and especially when some of those have been stripped away. It is definitely a light-bulb moment when you realise that a lot of what really counts is still there.

  2. We have a lot in common, Elizabeth. I, too, tend to think very methodically and I like clear definitions and goals. (I just had an “aha” moment yesterday, after working for months to get to it, and was it ever satisfying!)

    About the Dalai Lama quote: “happiness” in Tibet may very well be quite a different experience from “happiness” in our European-cultured New Worlds, obsessed with achievement and movement.

    I might translate it this way: “The purpose of our lives is to be awestruck with gratitude that we possess the gift of life.”

    • It is interesting that the light-bulb moments can happen after months of reflection. I would be interested to know what your “aha” moment was.

      I like your interpretation of the Dalai Lama quote.

      • The “aha” answered where my husband and I are going with our next business venture–what we’re going to focus on: who our customers are; how we’re going to structure the company; what product deserves our best and first efforts; how we’re going to promote it… (because of my health, I need a partner to take care of a lot of things, or I could never be a free-lancer–I just couldn’t manage all the hats that a self-employed person is required to wear).

        It all came together in a flash, after it seemed so uncertain and unclear for months and months and months.

        Now if I could only figure out why it came together–I could market THAT! But I do think it was a matter of faith and perseverance (and the rest of the list of winning characteristics I just blogged about). If only wisdom could be made into a chewable tablet.

      • When you find that wisdom chewable tablet, send a couple this way please.
        I wish you well in your next business venture. I look forward to hearing about it.

  3. Great post, Elizabeth.
    Whenever I hear about having one true purpose in life, it always gives me pause. Couldn’t we have more than one? For example, couldn’t one have a work purpose, such as a career or creative project, and also have a daily purpose of being a good friend, a good partner, a good mom and family member? Another purpose may be to be a good citizen or activist, or simply someone who gives a smile or a helping hand where needed. Sometimes just loving my cats and keeping a nice home feels like a worthwhile purpose to me. :)

    • These are great points. It is rare to find someone that has one purpose that overrides everything. I can think of a few such as Nelson Mandela and Abraham Lincoln who both sacrificed being “the best family man” for a single calling.
      And I think there can be great stress involved in looking for a supposed “higher purpose” when to be successful in life is simply to be who we are.
      Thanks for your positive comment to me.

  4. Hey Elizabeth, you have come so far! Life is a journey towards Death – what matters is that when you reach your destination you have as few regrets as possible :-D

      • Thanks for the encouragement regarding helping others in a similar situation. I am leaning that way to take that course in a more productive manner, albeit that I have not yet worked it all out in my head yet.

  5. “Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it” Everything about this post needs to be embraced whole heartedly. To breathe and live the words everyday. Life has so many challenges and trials but we should never forget why we are here in the first place. Great post.

  6. What a fabulous post — and list Elizabeth. I love how you overlay your business experience with your life experience to create a map that will determine where you want to go — and how you’ll get there.

    I also think — there are a thousand ways to look at ‘purpose’. Some will fit well with me. Some won’t resonate at all. And that’s okay. The task is for me to determine — what works for me.

    And you’re doing that with your list and self-assessment. So cool!

  7. There are as many different opinions on this as there are people in this world… I don’t think you can find a purpose or meaning to your life based upon what others have done or how they think or feel.

    I think it comes from within you… so I say follow your heart… regardless of whether you find happiness or your purpose first, do what feels right for *you* :)

  8. I love your posts, Elizabeth. They’re structured & meaningful. And valid.

    I feel very badly without purpose. People say things on the blog, you would think I inspire a little – but purpose… purpose…. and people say “Your purpose was raising Daniel, you did great”, but what about deep, meaningful, constant purpose. I really do feel without purpose.

    With that 35 years of business experience you have though, you’ve outlined things so well. I loved all the quotes, but MOST ESPECIALLY that Buddha one.

    Really good post, Elizabeth.

    • Thanks. Yes, purpose is fluffy and yet deep. (and HARD to find). yet I know that when I had the children at home and my ‘purpose’ was to love and care for them, then my life was mapped out. Now I sometimes feel that I am like a ship without a rudder. It was like a light-bulb moment when I wrote down all that i had to work with to go forward.
      At least now, I know where I can start.
      Thanks for stopping by. I appreciate your support.

  9. I think we naturally want to make a positive difference in the lives of others, and are simply happy when complications don’t get in the way of that. This lesson is evident in the Dalai Lama’s eyes and his little smirk.

    • I agree with your comment that it feels natural to want a make a positive difference to others. I think that has been one of my greatest angsts since my life imploded. I have been stuck in the groove of being anxious about life, feeling sorry for myself and mourning my past; and yet all the time it has tormented me that I should be “out there” helping others who are REALLY having a hard time and I simply have not been strong enough to get where I should be. Thanks for clarifying that thought in my mind.

  10. Elizabeth,
    There is a friend that I met here named Lisa. Her husband left her on Thanksgiving day last year. Totally blindsided her. I haven’t heard from her for a while. Wish I could send you to her blog link. Will try to find it. She went through a long pity party. It was horrible. I was going through my own stuck place and I wrote this poem…
    http://dianereedwiter.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/just-pretended/
    If you go back and google poetry around that time frame on my blog… you can find a lot of poems that relate to how you are feeling now. The thing is… it’s not really about “him” it is all about us. That sounds strange to say now. But I was married for 14 years and I thought I was going to die without him. I didn’t. I’ve been married now for 20 years next month. Life does go on. I promise. It’s not alway through another marriage… sometimes I wish I’d waited and discovered “me” more. It’s an amazing process if you are patient. Fall in love with you. I am sure you have put yourself on the back burner for a while now. Time to fill that pot up and move it to the front! ;)
    I really feel you are a beautiful writer. Try to use this time as a great source of material. I promise it gets better. I answered you on my Affirmation post…
    Keep in touch! Praying for ya!
    xoxo

    • Thank you for your words of comfort. I really appreciate it. It is what is propelling me forward, the belief others have in me. Even without knowing me in person, my blogging friends have so much faith and I am so grateful. I will definitely check out more of your writing over the next month or two.
      Thanks

  11. Great collection of quotes. I think accepting oneself, knowing oneself is a challenge, but extremely important for figuring out your place in the world, knowing how to contribute and make a valuable life.

  12. Elizabeth, I found the blog friend of mine I was telling you about. I think she is on a hiatus but this post shows that life does go on! Even when you have a creep for a husband that asks you for a divorce on Thanksgiving like hers did last year! She is embracing life! After… believe me… grieving for a while. She is a survivor and just wanted to share her hope!
    http://agrippinglife.wordpress.com/2013/06/18/all-quiet-on-the-blogging-front/

  13. I am not sure that happiness should be a goal and agree that if one feels productive and needed, the rewards can include happy feelings… This is a thought provoking post, my dear!

  14. Pingback: Personality + Character + Circumstance + Attitude = ME | Almost Spring

  15. Pingback: Peace, fairness and divorce | Almost Spring

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