Sunday, August 12, 2007

Curious about Purpose: Do You Know What Yours Is? How Do You Fulfill It?

The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” - Robert Byrne, American celebrity

Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.” – W. Clement Stone, American businessman

True happiness... is not attained through self-gratification, but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” - Helen Keller, American author

With the above quotations, I could probably stop right now – they do say it all. I am always amazed when I search weekly for quotations and discover that there are words like “purpose” where the quotations continue for pages. There were so many good and positive ones that I really had a challenge picking the ones I will share with you.

All right. What about purpose? I have found that determining, and, of course, writing down our purpose is no small task. There are a plethora of books about purpose (note: when I searched books for “purpose” I got 454,112 results).

Many self-improvement gurus talk about the importance of purpose, but do not help us find our purpose. In John-Roger’s and Peter McWilliams’ Life 101, they have a common sense approach to purpose. “Before taking successful action, you must first know what you want. (If you don’t know what you want, how do you know if you’ve successfully gotten it?) Before knowing what you want, it’s good to know why you want it. A good way of knowing why you want something is by knowing your purpose in life.”

As they and others have pointed out, your purpose is not a goal. It is a simple positive statement of why we are here. It usually begins, “I am …” and is only a few words long. We use it to set our course in life.

Following are some of the many quotations I found from the experts:
  • I am here for a purpose and that purpose is to grow into a mountain, not to shrink to a grain of sand. Henceforth will I apply ALL my efforts to become the highest mountain of all and I will strain my potential until it cries for mercy.” - Og Mandino, American author
  • Never forget that the purpose for which a man lives is the improvement of the man himself, so that he may go out of this world having, in his great sphere or his small one, done some little good for his fellow creatures and labored a little to diminish the sin and sorrow that are in the world.” - William E. Gladstone, British leader
  • Every path serves a purpose.” - Gene Oliver, American athlete
  • Winners are people with definite purpose in life.” - Denis Waitley, American writer“
  • I see my purpose in life as making the world a happier place to be in.” - David Niven, English actor

A little different take on purpose:

  • Being busy does not always mean real work. The object of all work is production or accomplishment and to either of these ends there must be forethought, system, planning, intelligence, and honest purpose, as well as perspiration. Seeming to do is not doing.” - Thomas A. Edison, American inventor
  • As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light in the darkness of mere being.” - Carl Jung, Swiss psychologist
  • The purpose of business is to create and keep a customer.” - Peter Drucker, American businessman
  • Civilization is a process in the service of Eros, whose purpose is to combine single human individuals, and after that families, then races, peoples and nations, into one great unity, the unity of mankind. Why this has to happen, we do not know; the work of Eros is precisely this.” - Sigmund Freud, Austrian psychologist
  • It is not how much one makes but to what purpose one spends.” - John Ruskin, English writer

And, my gift quotations for you for the coming week. I suggest you copy these and post them in your work area as reminders:

Singleness of purpose is one of the chief essentials for success in life, no matter what may be one's aim.” - John D. Rockefeller, American businessman

The purpose of learning is growth, and our minds, unlike our bodies, can continue growing as long as we live.” - Mortimer Adler, American philosopher

The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” - Pablo Picasso, Spanish artist

Have a terrific, purposeful week!