We All Need a Purpose, Even If It’s Bullshit
No grandiose purposes necessary
“Find your purpose now!” touted the advertisement. For the small fee of $5,000, at the end of this seminar I was guaranteed to walk out of there purpose in hand, similar to a high school diploma. I would walk through the stage of life, happily waving my purpose at my family and friends from atop the stage. From there on, my life would change and all my wildest dreams would come true… or at least that’s what the marketing team promised.
Being short $5,000, I decided to accept my fate and continue purposeless through life. As I kept walking down the street, I noticed some birds perched on the electric wire above my head. Their incessant, high-pitch chirping drilled my ears. I saw a small rock at my feet, which i bent down to pick up and readied to throw at the annoying creatures out of pure purposeless hate, when I was struck by a thought, “We all need a purpose in life, even if it’s bullshit.” These tiny creatures chirp their heart out every day because they truly believe their chirps keep the Earth rotating… and as idiotic as that may sound, their purpose keeps them alive and chirping.
Why do we need a purpose?
Have you ever driven without a destination in mind? I do it usually when I’m mad or sad. And although it’s fun for a while, eventually the directionless becomes tiresome, because even if you start with no direction in mind, the road will always present you with a decision. Do I keep going straight or make a turn? Will I turn left or right? And if I keep going straight, how much longer will I go? Eventually, all this directionless decision-making leaves me drained, and I set my destination again — back home.
Life is not much different. Even if you start with no purpose, life will always present you with decisions. Those decisions will eventually lead you somewhere… and you could end up in bad neighborhood if you have no idea where you’re headed, or at least a general idea of where you want to end up.
Your Purpose Is Not Set In Stone
One of the biggest reasons why some hesitate to find a purpose (or to look for one) is the ill-conceived notion that a purpose is set in stone, and that once chosen, it cannot be changed. What a terrifying prospect! No wonder some people choose to live with no purpose at all.
Purposes vary in length and importance. When I wake up in the morning, my main purpose is preparing my body for the day, which I do by either jumping in the shower or washing my face. Short-term purpose, but no less important. As the day progresses, the purposes change. Ultimately, these short-term purposes converge to meet long-term purposes. There’s nothing wrong with setting short-term purposes. Sometimes, when our mental health is not where we wish it would be, all our brain can do is set short-term purposes, and we should not feel discouraged by it. A purpose is a purpose, and giving even a little bit of guidance to our life, as small as it may be, can eventually lead to huge progress.
Don’t Give Up
As with everything that matters, finding a purpose, a long-term purpose, may take time. It is not something that will come to you in an instant. Continue setting up short-term purposes, and work hard to meet them. With time and perseverance, you will eventually find that purpose that makes you excited to get out of bed every morning. And always remember, purposes can be changed. Nothing is set in stone.