What is your purpose in life?
First, let’s define what Purpose is.
“That which a person sets before himself as an object to be reached or accomplished; the end or aim to which the view is directed in any plan, measure, or exertion; view; aim; design; intention; plan.”
Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Let me share an inspirational story with you. My long time mentor, Doug Axtell, first shared this story with me back in 1996 and I have looked at it every year (and throughout the year) since then to remind me to find my purpose, to keep striving towards what it is I want in life and to never—never give up!
As the story goes:
“A group of refugees was about to flee a war zone by hiking over some of the most rugged terrain in the country. As they were about to leave, they were approached by a frail, old man and a younger woman who carried an infant. The leaders of the group agreed to take them along with them. It was made clear that the man would have to make it on his own—they would not help him.”
“Several days into the journey the old man fell to the ground, saying he was too exhausted to continue. He pleaded to the group to be left behind to die. Facing the harsh reality of the situation, the leader of the group reluctantly decided to do just that and started off on their way.”
“Suddenly the young mother placed her baby in the old man’s arms and told him that it was his turn to carry the child and walked away with the group. It was several minutes before the woman looked back, but when she did, she saw the old man stumbling along the trail with the child in his arms.”
"They all made it across the mountains.”
— Author Unknown
Talking about purpose—this man was about to give up and die. When given a new purpose in his life he found the strength, courage and determination to get up and continue on. He did not want the baby to die.
It is our human nature to discover a wellspring of mental power, vigor and personal encouragement when faced with a new aim or goal. However, when we are too tired, discouraged or full of fear, our tendency is to sit back and give up.
Does this mean we are weak?
No. Mostly, it means we have lost our motivation. I can also mean the sight to our purpose has become blurry or foggy. On the other hand, simply it could be that we just need to find a new purpose.
For the man in the story it was fortunate enough that he was traveling with the woman and the infant, or he would have been left to die. It was even more fortunate that she passed him the baby instead of walking off with the group. His new purpose found him.
We can only be so fortunate. All too often, we must find our way through the fog and mist to continue towards our intended purpose. Many times, we have to find a new reason for our existence or aim in life. We have to re-motivate ourselves to keep our determination and drive.
Look at your life and examine if you have lost the motivation, drive and determination to strive towards your purpose. If your purpose has become blurred or foggy—how can you clarify the sight or lift that fog?
Where can you look to find a new purpose?