Reflect, Revise, Remix your life!
April 1, 2021

Don't Find Your WHY. Choose it.

Don't Find Your WHY. Choose it.

I call on James Clear, Jim Rohn, Victor Frankl, and Oliver Wendell Holmes to find out what my purpose is in this life. 

Purpose and meaning are the most difficult parts for me. Everything is so arbitrary – nobody is there to tell you if you are right or wrong. There’s no single path laid out for you except the one you’re going for, right now. So where are you headed right now? Where are your current habits and labor taking you five or ten years from now?

So many people are, as I heard Zig Ziglar say once, people are wandering generalities instead of meaningful specifics. 

God hasn’t chosen a perfect career for you – he gave you the personality and desires to find one. The universe hasn’t chosen a perfect spouse for you – it gave you the personality and desires to find them. I don’t want to get into spirituality here – it works no matter what you believe. 

In his book “Man’s Search For Meaning,” Victor Frankl has an answer that I think will satisfy most people, even though the answer is difficult. He says, “Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.” End quote.

Don’t try to find out what the meaning or purpose of your life is. We have the power to decide the meaning, to decide the purpose. 

We get caught up in looking for our purpose as if it’s out there somewhere– as if our purpose already exists. But it’s not out there. It’s not a tangible thing that you are going to find. It’s not even an ethereal thing you are going to find. 

It’s not out there until we put it out there. But because of media, and education, and society, we have this thought that the answer exists and we have to find it. 

Then we do one of two things. We search for it, this thing that’s not out there until we put it out there. Or, we wait for the answer to come to us. Wasting time. Oliver Wendall Holmes said, “Many people die with their music still in them. Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it time runs out.” 

It is my opinion that searching for our purpose is an excuse to put things off. We are scared of making the wrong decision, so we search – or wait around - for some enlightenment, and this is sad because enlightenment isn’t coming until we realize that we write our own story. 

For me, I could never come up with a story satisfying enough, or big enough, or one with enough meaning. So I waited for that enlightenment. From God, from the universe, no matter what I was waiting for, I wasted a good 30 years doing what I needed to do to get by while I waited. I wanted meaning, and I searched for it. That didn’t work. So I waited for it, and that didn’t work. 

All the while, during this 30 years I was filled with unbearable angst because I deeply wanted meaning, I wanted a purpose. 

I never found one. A few years ago, I read Frankl’s book, and I made my purpose. I designed it. I created it. I told life what my purpose was. 

The beautiful thing about this process is that since that time, my purpose has changed maybe 100 times. Sometimes tiny edits to the wording, sometimes large sweeping changes to reorganize and edit the direction of my life, after much reflection. The point was that I decided. 

Now, I never have a purposeless day. Even if I have a lazy day, where I should have been working but did nothing, I still had that specific purpose calling out to me – I knew what I was procrastinating on. And I held myself accountable the next day. 

So what is your purpose? What is your answer to the meaning of your life? What are you going to tell life that you are going to do?

 

 

Transcript

Second Mix Episode 016

 

Welcome to the Second Mix Podcast where we reflect, revise, and remix our lives. My name is Matthew Bennett. 

 

We’ve been discussing the pieces of the puzzle we need to get through the cycles of complexity that life is constantly throwing at us in our relationships, work, and health. 

 

These are Ethos, Intention, Efficacy, Agency, Adversity, and Elevation

 

Let’s talk about Intention. Your Intention is your plan, your purpose, and your mission. The easiest way to say this is, “What do you want, how are you going to get it, and why do you want it.”

 

Purpose and meaning are the most difficult parts for me. Everything is so arbitrary – nobody is there to tell you if you are right or wrong. There’s no single path laid out for you except the one you’re going for, right now. So where are you headed right now? Where are your current habits and labor taking you five or ten years from now?

 

So many people are, as I heard Zig Ziglar say once, people are wandering generalities instead of meaningful specifics. 

 

God hasn’t chosen a perfect career for you – he gave you the personality and desires to find one. The universe hasn’t chosen a perfect spouse for you – it gave you the personality and desires to find them. I don’t want to get into spirituality here – it works no matter what you believe. 

 

In his book “Man’s Search For Meaning,” Victor Frankl has an answer that I think will satisfy most people, even though the answer is difficult. He says, “Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.” End quote.

 

Don’t try to find out what the meaning or purpose of your life is. We have the power to decide the meaning, to decide the purpose. 

 

We get caught up in looking for our purpose as if it’s out there somewhere– as if our purpose already exists. But it’s not out there. It’s not a tangible thing that you are going to find. It’s not even an ethereal thing you are going to find. 

 

It’s not out there until we put it out there. But because of media, and education, and society, we have this thought that the answer exists and we have to find it. 

 

Then we do one of two things. We search for it, this thing that’s not out there until we put it out there. Or, we wait for the answer to come to us. Wasting time. Oliver Wendall Holmes said, “Many people die with their music still in them. Too often it is because they are always getting ready to live. Before they know it time runs out.”

 

 

It is my opinion that searching for our purpose is an excuse to put things off. We are scared of making the wrong decision, so we search – or wait around - for some enlightenment, and this is sad because enlightenment isn’t coming until we realize that we write our own story. 

 

For me, I could never come up with a story satisfying enough, or big enough, or one with enough meaning. So I waited for that enlightenment. From God, from the universe, no matter what I was waiting for, I wasted a good 30 years doing what I needed to do to get by while I waited. I wanted meaning, and I searched for it. That didn’t work. So I waited for it, and that didn’t work. 

 

All the while, during this 30 years I was filled with unbearable angst because I deeply wanted meaning, I wanted a purpose. 

 

I never found one. A few years ago, I read Frankl’s book, and I made my purpose. I designed it. I created it. I told life what my purpose was. 

 

The beautiful thing about this process is that since that time, my purpose has changed maybe 100 times. Sometimes tiny edits to the wording, sometimes large sweeping changes to reorganize and edit the direction of my life, after much reflection. The point was that I decided. 

 

Now, I never have a purposeless day. Even if I have a lazy day, where I should have been working but did nothing, I still had that specific purpose calling out to me – I knew what I was procrastinating on. And I held myself accountable the next day. 

 

So what is your purpose? What is your answer to the meaning of your life? What are you going to tell life that you are going to do?

 

Some suggestions to learn from my mistakes. 

 

Write it down. Get a journal. Write out all the things you want to do, and be, and have. And write down why. What is your big purpose? You’re not going to get it perfect the first time. It will change, possibly many times. It’s still better to be heading in a direction than waiting for someone to come along and turn you on. Because that person is not coming. It’s all up to you. 

 

 

The mission, the goals, and the plan. Once these are on paper you will be unstoppable. It’s not easy to do. But don’t live an easy life. Don’t let that be you. Jim Rohn said, “Let others lead small lives but not you. Let others argue over small things but not you. Let others cry over small hurts but not you. Let others leave their future in someone else’s hands but not you.” I would add to that this additional thought. “Let others look for their purpose, but not you. Let others wait for the universe to give them a mission, but not you.”

 

In the coming episodes, I’ll have more to say about Intention. Writing down your goals, breaking each goal into steps, thinking about what you want – thinking a lot about it. And how to get it. 

 

In the recent book Atomic Habits, James Clear says, “Many people think they lack motivation when what they really lack is clarity.”

 

This was true for me. But once I saw what I was capable of, and what I could have, and all I could become - and once I had a clear plan and clear steps – in other words, once I knew where I was headed, it became really easy to walk in that direction every day. 

 

Thanks for listening to the Second Mix Podcast once again I am Matthew Bennett. You can grab the transcript on the blog at secondmix.net if you want to look these over again and extract everything that is useful to you. If you have any questions please email me at matt@secondmix.net, I would love to hear from you!

 

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Take    steps that will make your week incredible.  I’ll be back on Monday - until then keep reflecting, revising and remixing your life. I’ll see you soon!