Because we usually go through the day on automatic pilot, its easy to lose track of the reason we do certain things. For example, today I got out of bed, like I do every day. Was this accidental or did I do it on purpose? What was the purpose? I decided to do the mental exercise of listing some of the things I did and the reason(s) behind them.
|Action or Thought||Purpose|
|Got out of bed||Things to do that are more important than lying in bed.|
|Ate food||Quench my hunger; give me energy; keep me healthy.|
|Read the Bible||Feed my mind; calibrate my attitude.|
|Showered||It’s healthful; to avoid offending others.|
|Went to a business meeting||Make a sale.|
|Studied & took an online test||Improve my mind.|
|Went to bed||Recharge my batteries (sleeping feels good!)|
I began to recognize that in each case, these purposes were not the total answer. Each was based on a more foundational purpose. For example, the “things more important than lying in bed” included making a living to help take care of my family. But, that still did not fully satisfy my mental exercise. There was an even deeper purpose at stake. Why should anyone consider caring for his family as a worthwhile purpose? Well, for moral reasons, of course. The next logical question was, “Where do morals come from?” It goes even deeper, but that’s enough for now.
I also thought back on how well I executed the tasks with respect to the intended purpose. Did eating quench my hunger and give me energy? Yes. Did it promote good health? Here I can do better. I humbly admit that I ate too much and did not eat a well-balanced meal.
What is the purpose guiding your life. Is it to be happy and/or to make others happy? Could it be that your purpose is to make a difference in the world? Maybe your purpose is simply to avoid doing harm to others? If so, are you missing an even larger purpose? Unless we are a cosmic accident, we were put here for a special purpose ordained by a creator. Could that creator be God? I hope you enjoy the quotes and are inspired to reflect on your purpose.
“Everyone has a purpose in life. Perhaps yours is watching television.” — David Letterman
“The purposes of a man’s heart are deep waters, but a man of understanding draws them out.” — Bible, Proverbs 20:5
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
“The secret of success is constancy of purpose.” — Benjamin Disraeli
“To forget one’s purpose is the commonest form of stupidity.” — Friedrich Nietzsche
“Many persons have the wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” — Helen Keller
“Any ideas, plan, or purpose may be placed in the mind through repetition of thought.” — Napoleon Hill
“Unless a life is activated by sustained purpose it can become a depressingly haphazard affair.” — Richard Guggenheimer
“Providence has nothing good or high in store for one who does not resolutely aim at something high or good. A purpose is the eternal condition of success.” — T. T. Munger
“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” — Bible, Proverbs 19:21
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” — Bible, Romans 8:28
By the way, for those of you who think you know me pretty well, try and guess my favorite quote on purpose.
© Copyright August 2008, Clancy Cross. All rights reserved.
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