Updated: Nov 29, 2022
We ambitious types wrestle with powerful existential issues in our heads every day. Why? Because we want MORE! We can FEEL and SEE that we have AMAZING potential but yet….. We are constantly disappointed by natural limitations. The power of possibilities is an amazing and sacred thing. We can visualize a beautiful future that seems so simple and doable in our heads, yet so difficult once the rubber hits the road and we actually start trying. It’s extremely frustrating and demoralizing, but we keep trying anyway because that’s who we are.
Then one day, a GREAT ambition pops into our heads, like “I want to transform my whole body and life” or “I want to start a business,” and NOW our typical motivations are not enough. So what is enough? I could go on and on about everything someone needs to go the distance, like discipline, clarity, focus, and time management, but I won’t (for today, anyway 😎…). TODAY I want to tell you about what you need underneath all that. The rock-solid foundation of motivation that you can stack all your other motivations on top of so that it never falls apart. That thing is purpose.
You need purpose because any truly difficult goal will test your willpower repeatedly until you quit. And your willpower is only as strong as your purpose. So you need to find a Strong Purpose.
Now, this is a BIG ask. I know. In fact, I would argue that this is the BIGGEST thing I could ever ask you to do. Why?
It will have the biggest impact on the course of your life.
It is extremely difficult to determine.
Depending on how difficult your ambition is, it may not be impossible for you to find a sufficiently strong purpose to achieve what you want.
This is a good time to tell you what you may have already realized about me: I’m not playin around lol. This is heavy stuff. I may be light-hearted and fun about this stuff sometimes, but I’m here to tell it to you straight. There are far too many coaches out there telling you what you WANT to hear. Platitudes like “you can do anything you set your mind to.” And trust me, I love the sentiment of people like that, and phrases like that are mostly right, but I’m only here to tell you about what is fully right because I intend to help you go the FULL distance with your goals. Point. Blank.
Eh-em!! Anyway, let’s get back to business.
So the big question is this: How do you determine your “Strong Purpose”?
I’ve been working on these questions for years now, and I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of work from people like Sam Harris and Jordan Peterson on the topic. So I will give you the best answer I have so far. This will also serve as the short answer for now because something like this deserves a whole book dedicated to it. A book I hope to write someday is titled “Why To Do A Thing.”
So without further ado, let’s answer the question: How do you determine your “Strong Purpose”?
Look for something the Japanese call “Ikigia”: A combination of something you LOVE, are GOOD AT, the world NEEDS, and you can be PAID FOR.
Find something that ALWAYS bugs you and fix it.
Find something that ALWAYS excites you and develop a skill around it.
Find something you NEVER stop thinking about and pursue it.
Use “First Principals” thinking to definitively prove you have found a sufficiently Strong Purpose.
If you can find that thing, whatever it may be, it WILL sustain you during your toughest trials. It will bring you back on your feet every time you fall. It will cause you to be willing to “fail forward” and “fail more often” because that’s what truly large success stories require.
Also, know that the word "strong" is in the eye of the beholder. Never let anyone tell you what's important to you.
Finally, you could have many small purposes that collectively have a strong purpose. The point is that there is no perfect formula for this; it just has to be motivational and make sense to YOU!
BOOM! So that’s the quick version without elaborating. My future book will go into greater detail.
So here is your Actionable Advice for the day:
Go for a long walk in nature to think about possible answers to this big question. Be ready to take notes on your phone or draw things out on paper. You’ll need to be ready if answers strike your brain or if pieces of the puzzle start coming to you. Also, understand that you are unlikely to figure it out on the first try.
Now pull out your schedule or to-do list and make it happen! And good luck my friend, lord knows you'll need it.
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