Let's be honest, you are unremarkably average. I am sorry. I know that was a brutal and ugly thing to say, but it's the truth.
You are part of the oldest institution in human history. One that not only promotes self-oppression but will sucker-punch you in the face for trying to be different.
The unremarkably average live by Five Commandments:
- Don't ever stand out because everyone will laugh at you
- Don't ever question authority because you will always be wrong
- Don't ever make learning a lifelong process because it's just a stupid idea
- Don't ever think about being an entrepreneur because you will fail
- Don't ever strive to be debt free because debt is good
Do these statements sound familiar? I bet all those statements resonate deeply.
But what if I let you in on a secret? One that is so revolutionary it could fracture the space-time continuum? Are you ready?
Here it is: You do not have to live your life the way other people tell you to.
Yes, it's a shocking statement and it breaks every convention you have been taught, but it's also true.
But living an unconventional life is not easy. There is a great deal of hard work and failure on this journey. But if you are committed to intentionally growing and becoming the person you want to be, amazing things will happen.
So how do you begin to make the transformation to living a life of purpose? It will first require you to answer one very important question -- "What do you really want to get out of your life?"
What do you really want
I remember when I was a kid my mother would ask me, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" I would say, I wanted to be...
- a teacher
- a scientist
- an astronaut
- a police officer
And my mother would smile and tell me I could be whatever I wanted to be.
The Loss of a dream
Somewhere between being a child and a teenager I was told to stop being different and start conforming. So I did and so did many of us.
And conformity is where the dream of "What do you really want to get out of your life" dies.
And we spend the rest of our lives:
- Playing it safe
- Thinking like a victim
- Planning to start tomorrow
And at the tail end of our lives, we begin to think...
- Did I make a difference
- Did I make a small dent in the world
And for many of us the tragic answer is - no.
We are genetically designed to accomplish amazing things so no is an unacceptable answer. And I would like to help you change that answer to yes...
- I did make a difference
- I did make a small dent in the world
What is your ideal world
"What do you really want to get out of your life," is a question designed to make you interrogate your average life. It calls on you to become aware, of where you are and where you want to be.
And it's only through awareness that you begin to understand your purpose in life.
One approach to developing your awareness is what Paul Myers calls the "Ideal World." This is an exercise where you create your best possible day.
You would start by documenting when you first wake up all the way until you go to sleep. So here is an example of my ideal world:
I wake up around 4:00 AM. I feel amazing, fully rested and with more than enough energy to take on my day. I look over at my beautiful sleeping wife and smile -- we had amazing sex last night! I am so blessed to have her in my life.
But now to businesses -- my morning ritual:
I repeat -- "Do it" 50 times. I then get up out of bed, walk across the warm hardwood floor and go downstairs to the kitchen. I make a cup of turmeric tea. I step outside onto the deck and listen to the waves crash against rocks and sand.....
I really enjoy the "Ideal World" exercise because I get to create an amazing day. The assignment is powerful especially if taken seriously. It will teach you a great deal about who you are and where you want to be.
But the most important lesson is that you now become intimately aware of how amazing your life can actually be. And you begin to make conscientious decisions to align yourself with your ideal world.
I would like to take the exercise one step further and make it more concrete. I would like to offer you 10 questions that John C. Maxwell posed in his book 15 Invaluable Laws of Growth. These questions are specifically designed help you find your purpose.
In doing research for this article I ran across this video interview with Richard Leider. The interview does a great job in spelling out the importance of living your life with purpose. I hope you enjoy it.