I have this theory that the most powerful, accomplished and happiest people are those that have the greatest clarity. Clarity about who they are, what they want, and what they believe. Clarity about what’s important to them and the reasons behind the things they do. Clarity about the purpose of their lives.
For the first 35 years of my life, I didn’t believe that life had meaning. Unsurprisingly, I spent a good portion of those years in a pretty dark place. For a long time I didn’t understand my own emotions of loneliness and despair as signals that something in my life needed to change- and even once I grasped this, it took a while longer for me to understand that for something in my life to change, I had to be the one to change it.
The pain of emptiness spurred me to search for meaning. In a conversation with a Rabbi, I came to believe that I have a unique and specific life purpose- that each of us does. I also came to believe that our purpose always involves serving others, and that our degree of happiness is in direct proportion to our ability to express our purpose.
But I still didn’t have any idea what my purpose was, or even how to find it. I thought of words I’d heard attributed to Buddha, “Your work is to discover your work, and then with all your heart give yourself to it.”
And I thought about George Bernard Shaw’s words, “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.”
Which left me to wonder, if our lives do have purpose, do we discover it or do we create it?