The Answer to Life’s Hardest Question

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“What is my real purpose?”

If you think back to your first memories chances are they weren’t filled with worrying about bills, making a sale or future office politics. In my case, I remember being no more than five and climbing a tree while my grandmother watched. I remember her voice telling me how amazing I was as a climber. Take a moment and go back to your earliest childhood memories and try not to smile. I recall how I felt the last day of school before break. Remember that feeling? I believe it was a combination of elation and relief at the same time.

As we get older “reality” sets in. For most of us we find a job, pay bills, deal with other people’s problems and so on. For many people this creates a routine that leads to either frustration or despair. Even if you enjoy what you do for a living, on a personal level we tend to ask questions about life itself.

These questions can range from “Why am I here?” to “Why can’t I find happiness?”  So where do you find the answers? It’s not going to materialize at the end of a week at a meditation retreat. You certainly will feel more refreshed, but enlightenment comes from something far greater than the act of sitting for hours trying not to think. I agree activities like massages, yoga and meditation help us manage our problems and create a temporary escape from life, but what if our problems are really just symptoms of the questions that need to be answered?

I find that most life questions we ask ourselves circle back to one core theme. “What is my real purpose?” It seems everyone chases it, but few ever discover it.

Here’s a question for your question. Do you even know why you want to find your purpose? Don’t say to be happy or fulfilled. This is the problem with the question. I am not convinced there’s an answer. It becomes the chicken and egg plight that drives a huge business model that continues to grow. Think about how many “self-help” products you’ve invested in, yet you still have the same questions.

So what’s the answer? If it doesn’t sit “inside of us” where does one find it? Answer? I believe it’s around all of us right now. Your ego (inside) is so consumed with pleasing others you miss the answers. You may be thinking, “I live my own life by design Brian! I am not consumed with the need to please others.” Really? It’s funny how, as adults, we’re trying to gain the approval of others daily and don’t even realize it. That’s why you choose certain brands to wear or drive. You go out and buy an expensive watch and someone says, “nice watch”, you reply with, “this old thing?” Deep down you feel good that someone noticed.

Listen, I am guilty of this as well which is why I am writing about it. I get it and it’s an easy trap to fall into. I am fully aware that people will judge you based on these things. But again, “what is my purpose?” I don’t believe it’s an on/off switch rather a journey. The answer lies in serving others. Don’t be concerned others don’t recognize your greatness. Instead you should be more concerned you miss other people’s greatness.

Imagine if you spent your time focusing on finding greatness in others. From the stranger at the grocery store to the receptionist at the doctor’s office. What if you took a moment to let people know you see something special in them? Life has become so fast paced and transactional we forget others are struggling with the same questions. Today I witnessed a lady deal with an unfriendly customer at the airport in an amazing way. I wasn’t part of the transaction, but went over afterwards and shared with her how amazing she was with the customer. She thanked me and began to tear up. She shared it’s been a tough month for her because her Mother was ill. I believe our exchange gave her a sense of purpose. So simple and yet so powerful.

Start today, by observing every interaction you have and find a way to find purpose in someone else’s life. Find a way to make a difference for them. If the person doesn’t seem to have purpose just look harder. The answers to life’s hardest questions are within others not us. Put aside what may appear as socially risky and act upon the remainder. You’ll be amazed how life’s answers just seem to appear.

Learn more about Brian Parsley www.brianparsley.com

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