I heard a statistic a few months back that was disturbing to me.
I was watching a video and the trainer on this particular video said, “Studies show that only one in ten people know what they want out of life.”
I thought I heard her wrong, so I rewound the video and listened again; yep that’s what she said…
“Only one in ten people know what they want out of life.”
To me that’s a very disturbing statistic.
Life is hard enough even when you know your purpose; I can’t imagine trying to go through life without one. Yet I find so many people do. So many live by just reacting to all that life throws at them, or they get stuck in a routine that’s taking them nowhere except to a fast-approaching dead-end.
What is a life-purpose?
There is a lot of confusion over what a life-purpose is. So in this short blog I’d like to try to define what a life-purpose is (and in a follow up blog I’ll discuss why it’s so important to have one).
I would propose that a person’s life-purpose is made up of two interrelated parts.
The first part of a person’s life-purpose is clarified by answering the question, “What kind of person do I want to be, and am I moving in that direction?”
A person’s life-purpose starts from the inside and works its way out, not the other way around. We don’t start with a focus on external goals: how I want to look, how much money I want to make, what kind of car I want to drive, how high of an educational degree I want to get, etc. There isn’t necessarily anything wrong with these kind of goals (more people should have more of them), but that’s not where defining and clarifying our life-purpose starts. Our life-purpose starts by focusing on who am I on the inside and who I want to become from the inside-out.
So ask yourself: What kind of person do you want to become? What kind of spouse do you want to become? What kind of parent do you want to become? The seed of who you are will produce the fruit of who you become and what you accomplish.
The second part of a person’s life-purpose is found by answering the question, “What do I want to accomplish with my life?”
I don’t think a person can accomplish anything they want to accomplish or do anything they set their mind to do. That’s the current self-help movement’s attempt at selling “snake-oil.” It’s a false promise.
I do believe, however, that every person has a unique contribution(s) to make to the world. I believe what we are to accomplish is determined by our unique passions, gifts, talents, skills, temperament, and life-experiences. When a person does their homework to more fully discover who they are in these areas that I’ve just stated above, that’s when a picture of what a person is uniquely designed to fulfill more clearly comes into focus.
So if time or money were no limit, what does your heart and your head say that you want to accomplish with this short life you have to live?
Add these two parts together and this will give you a basic direction toward your intentional purpose in life. You probably won’t accomplish everything you want to accomplish or totally become the person you want to become, and there will be some 10- to 15-degree readjustments along the way, but you will at least have your own defined North Star to keep moving toward, and if over time you continue step by step to move in that general direction, you will live a life of greater intentionality, greater purpose, and greater fruitfulness and fulfillment.
My Life-Purpose Statement:
At this stage in my life (I just turned 59) my life’s-purpose has come down to this One Thing:
I want to be an authentic follower of Jesus Christ who lives a faithful, fruitful, and fulfilling life
and through my pastoring, speaking, writing, and coaching help others do the same.
If you’re one of the nine out of ten who don’t know what you want out of life, I hope you’ll do the necessary work to find your life’s purpose and by doing so help change that disturbing statistic.
Living With Purpose,
Ken L Roberts
Please leave a comment: I’d love to hear from! On a scale of 1 to 7 (1 being highest) how would you rate yourself in living your life with intentionality and from a clear life-purpose?