Tens, if not hundreds of books have been written about this subject. Blog posts abound on the internet. And coaches deal with this questions as much as, if not more than “How do I get him to love me?” The subject is: How To Find Your Purpose. Everyone is searching for that one, elusive activity, that one job or career choice that will make them happy. If only I can find my purpose, they think, all my problems will go away.
And we Law of Attraction teachers don’t help. We tell you that you can make as much money as you want. Just find what you’re passionate about and the money will come on its own. But how do you go about finding this elusive purpose of yours? And what is your purpose exactly? Is it like a contract you made, before you were born? Is life like a quest to find your purpose, with the reward being happiness, and the punishment for failure being a life of mediocrity at best and misery at worst?
There’s no freaking contract
First of all, I’d like to put one little misconception to rest: You have no obligation to do anything while you’re here. There’s nothing you HAVE TO do, there’s nothing you must take care of and there’s no one (including you) waiting to judge your ability to do this thing and therefore reward or punish you. You have complete and total free will. You’re so free that you can actually choose to live in misery. You may have set an intention before you got here, which would have shaped some of your earliest experiences. But notice that the word intention is not the same as obligation.
For example, I clearly set an intention to be a teacher. Some of my earliest memories are of me, holding court over my stuffed animals and dolls. I even asked my mom to put a chalkboard on the back of my bedroom door. I’d stand there for hours, “teaching” my little pupils all about the ABC’s, or whatever I was learning in school at the time. Once I found out what it’s actually like to be a teacher, I changed my mind. I didn’t want to enter the public school system. But I continued to teach in other ways. I was a training manager for a restaurant company. I always ended up giving seminars and leading courses, in whatever job I had. I naturally mentored people. And now, I do this. My intention always came through. It’s like having a natural talent for something. Teaching is easy for me. I enjoy it immensely. But if I couldn’t teach, or if teaching became uncomfortable for me somehow, I’d do something else. Because I have no obligation to do this, not for my own happiness or for anyone else’s (if I stop, somebody else will take over in my place.)
Our Purpose – Big Picture
Our purpose is to have whatever we want, whenever we want it. Our purpose is to be happy and have as much fun as we possibly can. That’s it, from a big picture point of view.
There really isn’t any ONE activity that you have to find that will make you happy. If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that’s not how it works. If you haven’t, let me give you the quick and dirty rundown:
There is nothing that you can acquire or do that will make you happy. But, if you become happy, all the things and activities that match that feeling will start streaming into your reality.
There are, however, activities that are more aligned with who you really are than others. And that’s what this post is really about. When we’re searching for our “purpose”, what we’re generally really looking for is a way for us to express our true selves, who we really are. We want to be authentic, and we want our lives to reflect that. But of course, just as there’s no activity that will bring you happiness, there’s no activity that will make you authentic. Becoming authentic will allow you to find the activities that will help you to express that.
You already know…
I’m convinced that pretty much everyone already knows what their “purpose” is. They’ve always known. When people say they can’t find their purpose or passion, what they mean is, “I won’t give myself permission to go do what I really want.” They always have some excuse as to why they CAN’T go and express who they really are. Perhaps their family won’t approve, or they don’t think they have the skill, or they need more money than they think they can earn in order to realize this dream. Or, they don’t think that they can earn a living by doing what they love. All bullshit reasons. There’s always a way to make things happen if you’re willing to open your mind to the possibilities.
The lottery question
Everyone, at some point in their lives, has been asked the lottery question. “If you won 10 million dollars in the lottery, what would you do with your life?” Forget the answers you might give to appease others (like vowing to give it all to charity, etc.) and focus on what you’d really do. That’s your passion, or at least a form of it. A lot of people say they would travel more. When I point out that they can travel more now, they invariably tell me they can’t afford it, don’t have the time, can’t do it because they have kids, etc. And yet, tons of people travel the world on a fraction of the budget they use when they’re at home, many with kids. They have the adventure of their lives. And tons of people have travel related jobs. Thanks to the internet, such “unconventional” careers are now easy to research. What about being a Dive Instructor and working your way around the world? Or teaching English? Want more money? Launch an online business and work from a hammock anywhere in the world? Think this is a fantasy? Google it.
For more ideas, read The 4-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss. It’s the best book I’ve ever found on how to step out of the rat race and finance any kind of life you want. It not only gives practical advice, but it will open your eyes to what’s possible.
Focus on the essence
Whatever your answer to the lottery question, the essence of what you truly want is in there. Just dig a little deeper. Why do you want to travel, for example? Perhaps you want to learn different languages, explore other cultures, or volunteer with underprivileged kids. You can do all of those things right here, right now, without disrupting your life. Take a class and start learning a language. Join a club where you can meet people from a different culture. Go volunteer with kids in your own neighborhood. And use your vacations to travel and check out destinations.
Remember that there’s no obligation here. It’s not an all or nothing deal. If your purpose is to help people, you don’t have to quit your job and move to Calcutta. You can help your neighbor and anyone you meet. You don’t have to take a vow of poverty and dedicate your life to nothing but this activity. You’re the one who gets to decide. You’re the one who gets to make the rules.
Oh and consider this: You may well have more than one purpose or passion. So if you dedicate 100% of your time to only one thing, what happens to the others?
Do what you love and the opportunities will come
If who you really are is one who helps others, go help others and more opportunities to do so will pop up.
If who you really are is a teacher, start teaching those who come to you to learn, and more and more of them will show up.
If who you really are is a musician, start making music now and express yourself through that medium. More opportunities to make music will come along.
Start small and start today. You don’t have to quit your job. You can spend a few hours a week doing what you love. You’ll be shifting your energy by doing this and more ideas and opportunities that support that new energy will come along. And as long as you keep allowing those opportunities in, the day may well come when you’re able to move into your purpose full time. Just because you can’t see HOW that might happen THIS VERY MOMENT, doesn’t mean it’s not possible.
Don’t limit your search for your purpose by what you think you can make a lot of money doing. Keep in mind that your view is probably incredibly limited. I guarantee you that there are people in the world, right now, who are making money doing what you’d love to do.
Don’t limit yourself based on your qualifications or lack of skills. You can always learn what you need to know. You’re not too old and you’re not too busy. When we study something we’re really interested in, the learning comes naturally and quickly and doesn’t feel like hard work.
Stop dismissing your passion
Chances are, you already know exactly what your passion is, but you’ve dismissed it a thousand times, based on some arbitrary excuse. Stop doing that. Take a good look at this purpose, look at its essence, and start being who you really are today. Start small, by all means, but start. You deserve it.
Update: I scheduled this post a while ago, but came across Andrew Olson’s beautifully written post How to Find Your Passion yesterday. I discovered Andrew’s brand new blog a couple of weeks ago, and think it’s a real gem. If you’d like to read more about this subject, I urge you to check out this post and the rest of his blog.
Thank you so much Melody! 🙂 You have helped me incredibly. I’ve been trying to figure out my “purpose” for the past few weeks now. I’m only 20 years old but I feel like I’m stuck in a routine like a robot. School – work, no sleep, negative attitude. I just found your blog today and I already feel like it’s helping!
It’s great to meet you! You know, there’s this incredibly, ok, I’m just going to say it, retarded idea that we have to figure out the ONE thing we have to do for the rest of our lives and then stick with it. And we should do this when we’re teenagers or in our early twenties, because, apparently, that’s when we’re best equipped to make such all encompassing life decisions. (That. Was sarcasm, btw.)
Don’t think of it as finding the ONE thing you can be passionate about for the rest of your life. Think of it as finding your next passionate project.
I grew up wanting to be a teacher. But then I found out what teachers make and how the public school system treats them and I said no way. Then I discovered a passion for acting, singing and performing. I got an acting scholarship for college and thought this was it. But when I actually went, something was off. I dropped out after one semester. I switched gears and entered the pre-law program and Golden Gate University. I ended up not liking that either, but I did figure out that I loved contract law. So, I switched to International Business. There was a lot of trial and error there, but I wouldn’t have figured out each next step unless the I took the one before.
I managed restaurants for years. I loved it. Until I didn’t anymore. Then I left and became a dealer in Vegas. I loved that, too. Until I didn’t anymore. I moved to Germany to work in telecommunications. I loved it. Until I didn’t anymore. I backpacked around Europe, which made me want to keep doing that and so I decided to become an English teacher. I never really loved that, but I loved being in Barcelona, where the teacher certification program was, so I stayed. I got a big corporate job again and I loved that. Until I didn’t anymore.
Nothing went wrong in any of this. I simply found passion after passion after passion and each step led to the next. I wouldn’t be here right now if I had missed even one of those. The key to happiness isn’t finding that one thing that will make you happy forever. The key is being willing to let something go when it no longer makes you happy, and allow it to inspire you to the next thing that will light your fire.
That should probably be on a poster… 😉
[…] But I never stopped. Like an unfinished marble statue being shaped by the sculpture – with each word I read –acting like a chisel – I slowly but surely created the beautiful structure of thought within – the genius – that had been waiting, all my life, to be unveiled. In fact it was how I discovered my purpose, and Melody Fletcher deals with that subject beautifully in her article You Already Know What Your Purpose Is. […]
Sorry I’m so late to this party 🙂 Thank you so much for linking to my post!
I totally agree about the no contract part – just do whatever makes you feel best. I guess we’re both on the same wavelength on this concept… I found myself nodding my head as I read. Our posts complimented each other really well. Between the two of us, readers better be able to find their passion/purpose in life :p
Everything happens with divine timing. 🙂
You’re really welcome. It was an excellent piece of writing and I agree that our two posts really complimented each other, so it deserved to be linked to.
This is a really empowering article! As I read this, I’m reminded that the choices I’m making are just that – choices. And I have the power to choose! Such an important thing to remember – especially when we maybe feel stuck or limited.
You’re so welcome. I’m so glad that this article was useful to you. 🙂
I guess what it all comes down to is how bad people really want it. Like you said there is always a way if we just get creative and look for other avenues. I will say this though, having kids does limit the choices because not only do we have to make any sacrifices but we also have to ask them to as well. For example, if someone wanted to travel the world and they had kids, they could certainly find a way. However, that would mean a big sacrifice on the part of the children. They could loose friends, have to leave a school they love, give up sports (possibly a career in sports as well). Just remember, just because it is our dream doesn’t make it our children’s dream.
You make an excellent point. When you have kids, just as when you have a spouse or any other relationship like that, it becomes a co-creation. But I don’t think it limits you, it just changes things a bit. Of course you don’t just decide – you can talk to your kids and let them use their own intuition. I remember when my mom made the decision to move us from Germany to the US. I was 9. She asked my sister and I if we wanted to go. I said yes (I’ve always loved adventure) and my sister said no (she was older and more attached to her friends.) My mother used her intuition and moved us. I had a very hard time the first year (language and cultural differences). But both my sister and I agree that it was the right thing to do. Neither one of us would trade the experience for the world. The things we sacrificed were no match for what we gained.
I guess what I’m really saying is, if you make your decisions energetically and intuitively, you will automatically have your children’s true best interest at heart. Oh, and watching a parent make decisions like that did more to empower me than anything else. Hope that makes sense (don’t want to write yet another novel… LOL)
I like the over all message of this post. As per usual though, I feel compelled to play devil’s advocate. 😉 Somebody has gotta do it, so it might as well be me.
“You have no obligation to do anything while you’re here. There’s nothing you HAVE TO do, there’s nothing you must take care of and there’s no one (including you) waiting to judge your ability to do this thing and therefore reward or punish you.”
I’m not sure I agree with this. Yes, it is possible to “not do” something that you came here to do. You can, for example, go play bingo all day long and never, ever relate to whatever it was you came to experience. Of course, you are probably going to get depressed and anxious if you do that.
That’s the whole idea of having things like “spirit guides” and “angels”. You don’t have to do what they say, but if you don’t do what they say you usually end up the worse for it even though what they say is often not something you would “automatically” want to do.
To borrow from a religious perspective, I kinda doubt Jesus “wanted” to go hang on a cross for instance. I sure as hell wouldn’t be too fond of that suggestion if a spirit guide popped in and said yeah, bro, guess you better do that. I suspect that’s why Jesus in the story had to do some serious praying–like–yeah, about this whole “hang on the cross thing–can we like–not do that?”
You, will, of course, judge what you did or didn’t do yourself. If you came here to learn about something and you played bingo all day, you will probably “judge” yourself on the use of your own free will from a spiritual standpoint.
Now, I’m not saying one shouldn’t “have fun” but I do think there are things like “dharma” or duties incumbent on a person and if they don’t relate to them I think there are consequences.
What say you? Do you think spirit guides exist? If so, do you think they always say things you “identify” as stuff you want to do?
We’re clearly coming at this from very different vantage points, so our answers are going to differ quite a bit in principle. I’ll give you the short answer (relatively speaking), because some of this is so juicy that I’m going to use it for future blog posts. 🙂
I believe that when we are in pure, positive, non-physical form, we let go of all judgment. That’s a human condition (and not one that serves us). When we move away from who we really are, it feels bad. But we are not doing any damage to ourselves or the Universe. We are not failing. There’s no way to fail at this game (that’s how I like to think of it, since we tend to take life way too seriously). Every desire we have, even the ones born out of what we don’t want (actually, especially those) causes us and the universal consciousness to expand. We can realize that expansion now (by continuously moving into a better feeling place), or we can wait until we die. When we die, we let go of all our limiting beliefs and fully move into that expanded version of us, that’s been there all along, and which is constantly being created and evolving because of what we and others are living. And it’s from this vantage point that we come back – not to learn anything, but to continue the fun and expansion, to take the Universal consciousness into places it has never been before. I actually wrote about this in a blog post already. You can find it here.
Spirit guides or angels (in short, because this is definitely turning into a blog post of its own) are part of that Universal consciousness. When we “channel” a guide, for example, we are simply tapping into that frequency and interpreting it through our brains. We could both tap into the same frequency and get very different sounding things (the truth at the core would be the same.) So the message I receive makes perfect sense to me, while the message you receive makes perfect sense to you. Because we’re the ones who interpreted it into terms we could perfectly understand. The guides, just like our inner being, assist us by holding a high vibrational space for us, and calling us to them. They don’t care if we go or not – not in the sense that they’d be sad if we don’t. They cannot be sad, because that would mean that they would have allowed themselves to lower their own vibration and look at us as thought there was something wrong. And they will never look at that version of us. That wouldn’t serve them or us. They look only at the best version of us, calling us to it and knowing that we will, eventually, get there.
In terms of our guides telling us things that we may not want to do, I have two answers: 1.) When we tap into higher energies, they will always call us toward what we truly want. It may not take the form that we thought it would, but at its core, it is always what we truly want. But, if that is the case, and as long as we don’t hold too staunchly to some idea of how this should’ve happened, we will feel the truth of the message in our guts. 2.) We have the ability to tap into all kinds of frequencies, but we cannot tap into any energy that’s too far removed from where we are. Not all frequencies are useful to us. If you’re in a dark place, you could easily “channel” what would seem like an “evil” entity. No such thing exists, but every thought that’s ever been thought still exists, and if we tap into those thoughts it could sound pretty bad. If you’re in a high vibrational place, you can’t get anywhere near thoughts like that. Important note: If another person, like a psychic, is tapping into your guides for you, make sure they have their own energy in order. They will only be able to access those frequencies in their own vibrational vicinity. A depressed psychic will not be able to give you helpful messages (unless you’re in a deep depression yourself.)
So, even if you’re getting messages from some guide, you still have to determine how that message feels to you. Does it feel better than you currently do? Then go with it. For example, if you’re depressed, your guide may coach you into anger. You might not think that’s angelic, but you don’t have access to butterflies and puppies from depression. Anger is actually a step up, though, and feels better. So, in that case, I’d follow that guide’s advice. But if what they say doesn’t feel better to you, you may have tapped into something that simply matches a current train of thought. This is why you should always raise your vibration before doing energy work. After a while, of course, you can feel the difference between tapping into higher energies and energies which match your current stream of thoughts.
Wow. Ok. I’ll stop now. 🙂
I gotcha. I guess where the verbage throws me off is sometimes when you say “you” in your posts I don’t automatically conclude “higher you”. The reason I don’t conclude “higher you” is because most people don’t operate from “higher you” and dissolve duality.
I’ve noticed that what HIGHER you wants is often greatly at odds with what Earth you wants. Not to beat a dead horse, but in astrology there are two systems–vedic–star based and tropical or “earth based”. The star based will tell you about the spirit–the earth based will tell you about the “psychology” experienced. The two aren’t the same–although they are on the same “page”.
I learned about the raising vibration part from an energy worker friend who had some unresolved stuff around a certain issue. Her information was good in all respects–except around the unresolved stuff–and there her information was more destructive–both to her and to everyone else. She was sure he guide “told” her to do something that was uh, “not so good”.
I’ll look forward to your future posts! Later!
This was a wonderful read! I think deep down inside we know our purpose. You know what makes you happy, but many people fear making large amounts of money isn’t possible. Everyone wants to have a career that pushes a lot of money in their bank accounts. Money shouldn’t be the in the picture when your searching for your purpose. Happiness should be all your concerned about.
Who cares if your not a millionaire…
Who cares if your not a sex toy…
Who cares if your not famous…
Happiness is better than any of those, and even if your purose doesn’t envolve you becoming rich at the end of the day you’ll be happy. Becoming a professional baseball player because your good at it without the passion isn’t the way to go. If you enjoy basketball, but you’re not good at it you just have to have patience, persistance, and belief.
Just my 2 cents.
Thanks for your brilliant comment. Although, personally, I’ve never aspired to be a sex toy… LOL.
Your 2 cents are worth a lot.
Hey Melody, great article. I really like that we ALREADY know our purpose–we just might not KNOW that we know! So your lottery question exercise helps us uncover what we already know. And thanks for the idea that opportunities will increase as we pursue what we love. I agree, and needed a reminder of that 🙂
You’re so welcome. I’m always happy to remind people of what they already know. Because that’s all I can do, really. We each have access to all the knowledge of the Universe. We just have to remember it. 🙂
The baby pictures is so perfect! And gosh was I a believer of “If only I can find my purpose…”, I’d be happy. Now I’m practicing to be happy, no matter what. Because, I guess, my purpose is to be free, haha. Great post!!
Hi Maya (I love the “Ms Buddha”!),
I know right?! I saw that baby picture and just had to use it. It’s the cutest thing ever.
I’m so glad that you found this post helpful. Thanks so much for the feedback!
Great post and source of inspiration!
I believe we all know what our purpose in life is, but that we don’t allow ourselves to go for it, because it is too big and overwhelming.
I believe that if we the more we love what we do, the more we will do what we love.
Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much for your kind words.
And I completely agree with you. When you find the vibration of being happy with what you do now, you open yourself up to receiving more things you can be happy about. 🙂
Thank you for your post. It seems like recognition or awareness of one’s passion is the first step to living one’s passion. Step 2 is not dismissing that discovered passion.
Exactly. When I coach people about their passion, we explore what they would do with their lives if there were no limitations. And the answer is never anything new. But as quickly as the dream leaves their mouths, they dismiss it. “Well sure, I’d love to do THAT, but I can’t…” It’s like they’ve relegated their dream to the “impossible” box and that’s where it stays. So Step 1 and Step 2 are kind of interlinked. When you stop dismissing your dreams, you become more aware of them an have the ability to recognize them as such.
Thanks so much for making this valuable point!
I really enjoyed this post on passion. I’ve seen people chasing their passion only to come up short and get discouraged by not finding it. And others seem to have never lived without knowing it. I think people sometimes hope that they recieve a sign saying that their passion is to sell followers or to be a physician (or whatever)…but if they don’t get the calling that they “hope for” then the figure that their passion is absent.
For me, I get a since of my passion by the way I feel about doing certain things. I know what drives me and what I’d do at any costs, and for no payment. My passions have changed over the years and I expect them to change more in the future. As I expand as a persona, learn more and witness more – it’s my expectation that my passions adjust accordingly.
Great post Melody!
Thanks so much for your valuable comment. This is why it helps to look at the essence of what you want. For example, if I’d gotten stuck on the idea of being a public school teacher being my passion, that wouldn’t have worked out. There were too many elements that didn’t suit me (or didn’t line up with the essence of what I wanted.) But the essence of teaching, of helping to bring clarity to others, could be realized in an infinite number of ways – not just the one.
I love the point you made: Our passions will always grow and expand, just as we grow and expand. We never stop expanding, but we might stop keeping up with that expansion, meaning, we don’t allow ourselves to realize those new passions as they develop. And that’s when we become bored or miserable and wonder where all the excitement and adventure went…
I know we all have one purpose in common and that is to love and make the world a better place. How we express that purpose really doesn’t matter. A janitor is as important as a professional speaker and guru blogger. Trouble is we don’t really believe that. One can manifest all material dreams and if they don’t extend love it really doesn’t mean much. One may be a street person playing drums barely eating enough to stay alive but if it’s done with love they are the one living the dream and manifesting their destiny.
What an awesome point you make. A few weeks ago, I included a video in my newsletter of a man in Singapore (I think) who directs traffic. He happily and joyfully dances through his entire shift, every day. He’s famous for it. An he uplifts everyone that sees him. You just can’t help but be caught up in his enthusiasm. It doesn’t matter what your actual profession is, you can be connected doing anything. But I want to be careful to point out (not to you, but to others reading this) that this work isn’t just about sitting on the street with your drums and learning to love it (as in helping the poor to be ok with being poor…) The point is that by learning to love that experience, it opens the door to the Universe bringing you more things to love.
We can both: we can feel good and be happy, AND we can have exciting, adventurous, luxurious lives. But it’s never going to work if we don’t keep it in that order. 🙂
I guess deep down we already know what our purpose in life is but while for some it’s already clear, to others the water is murky and it’s hard to sift through the garbage.
For some practical advice on this, Steve Pavlina and Adrienne Smith suggests making a list until you get to the ones that strike a chord with you and make you cry.
Finding that one ACTIVITY that will make one happy makes me think of finding Mr./Ms. Right. You may not find the perfect one but what one can do instead is to be the perfect one. It’s not really a good analogy but what just came to my mind.
Thanks for sharing this gem!
Thank you for stopping by! Your analogy is fine, and I totally agree. By “being” the perfect one instead of looking for the perfect one, you’re focusing on your own happiness instead of asking someone else to provide it (by acting in a way that you can react to with happiness).
Steve’s advice is definitely solid. I’ve been reading his stuff for a long time. His work actually inspired me to consider launching a website, in the first place. 🙂
Thanks for the valuable comment.
I’m a lot like you when it comes to teaching as a passion. I love to learn new things and teach it to others. I wouldn’t want to teach one subject for the rest of my life though.
It’s about what is practical in the moment. The lottery question is a fun one. The mind wants to have certainty that it can be comfortable that is why it seeks out money. Spirit knows it can have anything that it desires yet it doesn’t have as much say on how it shows up.
No surprise there (i.e you being a teacher)… 😉
The question really takes away our limitations, and for most of us, our main limitation is money. With enough money, we can make all other limitations go away…
Thanks for stopping by!