I’ll keep this short and simple because I think often we make this concept of “purpose” way too complex and scary.
Hi. My name is Jared. I am 20 years old and I don’t really know what my purpose is.
I guess I thought by the time I got this “old” that I would have a really solid idea of what I want to do with my life. I would have a plan and a why and be so ready to attack life, yet now, I feel more confused than ever.
I continually change my mind and switch up what I want to do. With all of this change I often find myself feeling lost and when I do, I turn to YouTube.
There I find tons of videos talking about “Finding Your Purpose.”
All really neat stuff I’ll admit and obviously the branding of it worked because I clicked on it, but then when I watch the video, the person speaking doesn’t actually tell me how to find my purpose. Instead they just go on lengthy rants with soft piano music in the background about their story and how they found their purpose.
Which is great, I am a storyteller so I can’t hate on other storytellers, but by the time the video finishes I find myself motivated and pumped with adrenaline, but still no real idea of what my purpose is or where to find it for that matter.
Which is what I thought was the purpose of the video? To help me find my purpose right? I mean come on, video title “Finding Your Purpose,” I would hope I at least had some new direction.
And you would think by the time I turned 20 I would know wouldn’t ya? I have had roughly 5,110 days in order to understand and conceptualize what my purpose is on this little planet. And it’s not simple enough to say that we don’t have a purpose at all because clearly YouTube video after YouTube video has shown me there are a lot of purposeful people out there.
I just don’t seem to know mine.
But then it hit me, IT’S NOT WORTH STRESSING WHAT YOU CAN’T CONTROL.
I am not in control of my purpose, so why waste my time and energy stressing over finding it?
I think the much more simple and powerful way to live our lives is focusing on chasing passions and values and then letting our purpose find us. Most of the most successful people on the planet, people like Jay Z, Floyd Mayweather and Jeff Bezos never actually set out to find purpose (at least how I understood their interviews), they tried lots of things, found what they loved and let purpose find them.
Let purpose find you.
But most often I don’t think we like this explanation because we aren’t in control. Human beings, well most human beings and specifically Americans, always want to be in control. We want to know what we are doing, how we are doing it and what comes next. We want no surprises and we want to be “in charge of our own destiny.”
Which is inherently ridiculous. If we were in charge then it wouldn’t be our destiny. And if you think that you actually make your “destiny” happen, which by definition is “events of things that will happen to a specific person in the future” then you need an ego check.
I need an ego check too.
I truly don’t think that we make our destiny happen, that’s giving ourselves way too much credit. And I don’t think that it’s actually up to us to “find our purpose.” I think we are supposed to sit back, act in ways we believe are good and loving, and let out purpose find us.
But we have to let go of the supposed “control” we have, or rather think we have, for our futures and especially our purpose.
I don’t think we control our purpose, I think if done right our purpose will control us.
So sit back.
Love the person in the mirror.
Love the people around you.
Love the place you are in.
And enjoy the ride.
I’m right there with you.