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Lots of people have written all sorts of obvious stuff about living on purpose.  What isn't plainly obvious is what happens as a result of not living on purpose. If you want to see the outcome of letting others determine your destiny, truly listen to any person who blames others or "the system" for their lot in life.

Inversely, listen to any person who considers him/her self to be either be successful or on the way to success with some/most of their goals and you will rapidly find out what happens if you choose a purpose in life and live toward it.

Life as a whole is not much different from any of our individual journeys. It is easy to end up places you don't want to be when you fail to pick a destination, plot a course, and use a map to measure your progress and make adjustments for obstacles you encounter.

Oddly enough, we all start this journey with absolutely no say in the matter. We don't get to pick our parents, place of birth, or time of arrival. The good news is that not long after being born, we start to crave and seek out control over ourselves and how we relate to our environment. In our teen years we fight some heated battles with our parents as we assert our ideas of how we want to live. If all goes well, we age and grow independent enough to build our own separate lives and families.

So where exactly do we go astray and end up unhappily blaming others for our lot in life? That is a tough question to answer for every person who asks it. Though, one thing is the same for all who DO NOT GO ASTRAY.

-  They don't find themselves blaming parents, teachers, government, community, age, height, weight, religion, or skin color for their lot in life.

Anyone who has successfully developed their character beyond the point where we learn self accountability stops blaming others for where they are in life and starts figuring out what to do with the time and resources they have right now.

Yes, horrible things happen to everyone. When we are weak and inexperienced like children, we don't know how to avoid these perils. Young children are forced to depend on others to care for them. Once we can read and ask others how they got where they are (good and bad) we can teach ourselves. From this point on we control our destiny. Even if we choose to live a life of randomness and blaming others for where we are, it is still our choice.

If you're still reading, you get it. You probably are also interested in some thoughts on how to better plot and maintain your own course in life.

- Be self-accountable through a sense of ownership

  • Equate accountability to ownership. If you feel ownership of your destiny then you'll be accountable to yourself for it. Each moment is your responsibility. How you got here matters less in determining your future than (for example...why polka-dots are never found alone). If you find yourself feeling sorry and blaming others, stop yourself immediately. Don't wast time asking how or why such times fell upon you. Instead, ask what you will do with the resources you have and how you will make tomorrow a better day.

- Know Your Unique Talents

  • Treat your life like a business. In order for business to succeed you must have a unique selling proposition. That is what makes you separate and different from all the other people offering what you have. In order for your life to be what you will consider successful, you must understand your life's unique selling proposition. Your unique selling proposition is the core of your talents, skills, abilities, and passions. This is what makes you different, defines your purpose, and will make your life different from everyone else. Build a Venn diagram similar to the one above. When you are done, the center were the four categories overlap should contain a rough description of your life's purpose.

- Exercise Self Discipline

  • Anything that is worthwhile and also easy is undoubtedly already in your life. If you want to add the worthwhile things that aren't easy, you will have to exercise a significant amount of discipline.

- Push Beyond Your Comfort Zone

  • If you aren't failing you aren't trying hard enough. Failure is just another way of describing what happens when we learn how to do something.

- Set SMART Goals

  • SMART is a commonly used mnemonic that will help you set goals to fulfill the purpose you choose for your life. Make your goals specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely.

- Maintain Balance and Energy - Often harder than it sounds

  • First, you have to understand that only true balance leads to sustainable energy. You can get quick boost lots of ways (over the counter, through the drive through window, and in a back ally). None of these will provide the kind of energy that sees you through the journey involved in fulfilling your purpose.
    • List the areas of your life down the left side of a page (career, spiritual, physical, financial, family, social, and personal growth).
    • Then draw a line from the word toward the right side of the page. This line indicates how satisfied you are with each area. 100% satisfied should show a long line from the word to the right side.
    • Next, draw a line for how much time & effort you spend on each area. A maximum effort should show a long line from the word to the right side.
    • Now you have a picture showing your level of effort and the result it provides. You can adjust your effort/investment to balance your satisfaction as you see fit. I use the 80/20 rule. You'll find 80% of your outcome is driven by 20% of your effort.  If I'm 80% satisfied, I usually refocus energy to an area that isn't 80% yet.

- Do Work You Love.

  • You'll never again have a bad day at work day if you choose work you love. You will also notice that amazing things start to happen for no apparent reason (other than that your passion for your work creates amazing outcomes). If your work matches your life's purpose, you'll love it. Keep in mind, our work should be a reflection of who we are. Life is not good when it works the other way around.

If you enjoyed this post, you should check out our free Resources Page. I placed some downloadable worksheets there that will help you build a life plan and set realistic goals.

What do you think? Is living on purpose with this effort? Is there an easier way to live on purpose?

Tweet me @sethhaigh

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Comment by Seth Haigh on September 13, 2012 at 8:28pm
Well said Rich. Thanks for the comment.
Comment by Rich Avery on September 13, 2012 at 8:14pm

Good stuff!  I agree that it all starts with a sense of ownership and desire to be responsible and set our own course - to decide to make something happen instead of just letting stuff happen.

Comment by Donnie Overholt on September 12, 2012 at 7:43am

A lot of people that live there life with out purpose think that life is all about chance, being at the right place at the right time. But people that live life with a purpose know where the right place is and what time to be there.

Comment by Ann Musico on September 12, 2012 at 2:53am

Truthfully - no.  As you said it's always been a process of commitment and recommitment.  Great point.

Comment by Seth Haigh on September 11, 2012 at 3:00pm

Can you think of even one thing you call a success that only required one moment of commitment?

Comment by Seth Haigh on September 11, 2012 at 2:59pm

Agreed, it is worth the effort. Also agree sustaining your energy and commitment is critical. It appears the people who succeed are perpetually making the decision to make success happen.

I say this because when it comes to things I've enjoyed success with, I had to commit and recommit to putting in the effort needed (over and over again). I can't think of one thing I call a success that only took one moment of deciding to commit.

Thanks for the comment and conversation (as well as the idea you just gave me for my next blog).



Comment by Ann Musico on September 11, 2012 at 2:20pm

I have to say living on purpose is DEFINITELY worth the effort!  And as with most things that are worthwhile - it takes some effort.  The real question, I think, is are we willing to consistently, intentionally do it? 

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