There is a quote I rather like by Jim Rohn that says, “If someone is going down the wrong road, he doesn’t need motivation to speed him up. What he needs is education to turn him around.”
You may be asking yourself, what exactly does that mean? I can only tell you what I think it means. If you are on a path that you don’t have a natural enthusiasm about, maybe you should stop and really look at whether it is something you should be pursuing. It is better to turn around and start over than to continue down a path that will never lead you to where you want to be. I believe that if you know what you want to create in life, and are lit up about it, you don’t need motivation. Why? Because you are pulled into action by something bigger than you are. You clearly see the actions to take and take them without some emotional struggle and battle with yourself to try and get yourself to do something.
Just recently, I read this other quote in a book I was reading:
“In the 2nd grade they asked us what we wanted to be. I said I wanted to be a ballplayer and they laughed. In the 8th grade they asked the same question, and I said a ballplayer, and they laughed a little more. By the 11th grade, no one was laughing.”
That was by Johnny Bench, a Hall of Fame baseball player. He knew what he was going to be. He lived with that sense of purpose from a young age.
When at school, I think there are very few children who answer those types of question by saying “A hypnotherapist. I want to be a hypnotherapist.” When I did decide to be a hypnotherapist, I think I was a lot younger than the vast majority of people who decide that they’d like to be a hypnotherapist. For me, it fulfilled a number of aspirations I had; to do some good in the world, to serve my fellow man, to help others fulfil their dreams, to earn a living, to learn about the human condition and the psychology of others, these were and still are driving factors for my choice of career which is a part of my identity and general life purpose today.
Most people go through life without considering their own purpose, let alone being aware of what it actually is. Some people phrase it in terms of “what were you born to do?” I am unsure of the notion of being born to do something. Instead, I think it best that we retain autonomy of our life and establish a sense of purpose that can drive us, give us meaning and enrich the quality of our lives as we progress.
My English A level reading at sixth form college included D. H. Lawrence’s novel, The Rainbow. The final section of the book focuses upon Ursula Brangwen and examines her struggle to find fulfilment for her passionate, spiritual and sensual nature against the confines of the increasingly materialist and conformist society around her. Ursula knew she had a sense of purpose and desire to explore life, but that sense of purpose was suppressed and made her unhappy and left her unfulfilled.
I recall feeling very determined to live with purpose after reading that novel. I also recall and still today feel very lucky to live in a society that permits me to have the freedom to live with purpose. To attempt to fulfil a purpose and live a life of meaning as a result.
Additionally, having a sense of purpose motivates us greatly. When you have a clear sense of purpose and have an ongoing vision for your life, you don’t need external motivation to get you to take action and become productive. Clarity of purpose inherently provides the desire to take action and does not require much thinking about. A sense of purpose fuels our motivation, making it even more valuable to know.
So, if you are looking for motivation, if you are looking for meaning in life, make the effort first to get clear about what your life purpose is. Know what your personal mission in life is and create the vision for your life from your mission. When you have done that, you will have an authentic expression of yourself and all the motivation you need to take the actions to fulfil on creating a life worth living.
An alternative way of looking at a sense of purpose is to say that it is a sense of meaningfulness, which informs and directs our actions, however large or small, and connects them easily to each other and to our future in a way that is congruent with who we are. A sense of purpose connects with our sense of self in a variety of beneficial ways: for some people it relates to their own identity and it is at the core of who they are. For others it is the sense of what they value and believe. Once we discover a sense of purpose it can enrich us in numerous ways (I’ll be repeating that sentence in this article; it’s important).
I have been running marathons and creating fundraising events for a chosen charity of mine this past year. A charity very close to my heart, the BAAF (British Adoption And Fostering) who did amazing work finding loving families for children in care here in the UK. I established some very close relationships with many members of staff there, I gave presentations, wrote articles and raised a lot of money for them. One person I became great friends with there had left an incredibly well-paying banking job in the city and joined the charity because of his desire to do some good in this area and we got on so well it seemed, because we shared a vision in this regard. Just a couple of weeks ago, totally out of the blue, the charity BAAF closed down! It just shut down! I had no idea, there were no warnings, it just closed it’s doors. It was so sad and I am still shocked by it. You can visit the charity web pages and read the official explanations, they cite government cuts and many people have gone to twitter citing mismanagement. It really bothered me. I got straight in touch with my friend and asked him about it.
He told me he had gone back to his old, very well-paid investment banking job in the city. He was disillusioned with the system, disillusioned with the structures around it, but clearly, he had lost touch with his sense of purpose altogether. There was no zing to his communication when he described his job and his role to me. He was no longer connected to his mission or his former vision. He was no longer living with the same sense of purpose at all.
I contrast this to a lady I coached whose children had left home and husband had retired. Her previous sense of purpose had been on looking after her family and devoting her time and energy and love to her family. She found that she was a little bit lost and not knowing what to do with herself, something experienced by many when they encounter a major transition in life.
She joined a friend one evening to go to a cookery class and enjoyed it so much; she attended more of them to use up her time and energy. To the surprise of friends and family, she embarked on more sophisticated courses and also explored the field of nutrition. She decided that she’d start teaching the older generation, primarily retired individuals, how to cook beneficially for their own health needs and her classes filled up.
Some of her earlier students became friends who started to teach her her classes that were getting busier and busier. She ended up featuring on a number of TV and radio shows and still today goes on on national and international tours demonstrating her skills and knowledge, something that she had not really known about herself before. She had found a new sense of purpose, and it made her life more meaningful in a variety of ways, she was discovering things about herself that she had not been aware of before which had now given her a sense of independence and identity beyond that which existed before.
However subtle your life purpose may be or seem today, it may well have been informing you and guiding you all along and throughout your life. Regardless of who we are, we all crave, yearn for and seek out meaning. How do we discover our purpose, or get a flavour of our sense of purpose? Put simply, explore these five areas, ask yourself some questions and answer them honestly and objectively:
1. What have you always wanted to do?
What did you love as a child? Even if you think you may have lost touch with it somewhat, consider what you loved as a child and then throughout your younger years. Consider the younger you aged 10, aged 14, aged 16, 18 and 21. If you were to meet any of those younger versions of you today, would they be impressed with what you have pursued in life?
2. What are you passionate about?
What gets you most excited in life? What pushes your buttons? What turns you on? What makes you feel alive? As you start to think about those things, dig deeper into your answers….. What is it about this that gets you so involved?
With those questions answered, you are now in a place to examine what underpins that. With your answers to the previous questions, now ask; what does it do for me?
Regardless of how unusual the answer to this may be, really take note of it and ask yourself “and what does THAT do for me?” Keep on asking that question, “and what does that do for me?” Until you cannot ask it anymore. What you are doing is asking what the purpose is behind your passion and you get more and more significant answers as you keep asking the question. When you get to the stage where you can’t ask the question any further, you have discovered the purpose behind your passion.
3. What gets you impassioned?
This sounds similar to the previous question. However, it is very different. Having examined what you are passionate about, now let’s look at what stirs you; what fills you with love or hate, for example?
Have a think about the issues that you have been most concerned with in your life? What are your values that you promote or defend? What really matters to you? What do you stand for? What are you prepared to fight for?
There are certain things that are likely to upset or frustrate you more than other things. There are also certain things that stir you and get you inspired, motivated and driven. Consider these and work out how they relate to any sense of purpose you are discovering.
4. Do you seem to be naturally gifted at something?
I am not one for believing that we are born with natural gifts. I tend to think that we are more capable than that, and that we can develop and become better at anything we put our minds to – but it is a discussion for another day, and let’s put the debate to one side for a moment.
What do you believe you are naturally gifted at? What have you had a natural affinity for? Think about the things that you have done with flow, with ease and that you feel like you create and engage with effortlessly at times.
These are the things that you feel natural doing, that you excel at and might be referred to as a natural gift you have. Essentially, these things will have a relationship with your sense of purpose; work out how.
5. Lying on your death bed…
This can sound a tad morbid initially. Do this as a visualisation, and really employ the notion using mental imagery to examine it. Take some time to truly engage with the setting of being on your death bed, with very limited time remaining, and you are reflecting upon your life, what do you want your life to have stood for? What needs to have happened for you to feel satisfied? For you to have meaning for your existence?
You might like to consider the kinds of contributions you have made, or what your life stood for, where you made an impact, and how you’d like to be remembered, or even if you feel any need to be remembered – your purpose may not require any external evaluation (I’d recommend that).
When answered honestly and objectively, these questions and areas of exploration will definitely help you discover the things that will motivate you naturally, have you being productive, taking action and perhaps most importantly, satisfy our constant craving and need for having a sense of meaning in our life.
Have some of themes here resonated with you? Then have a read of these pages:
1. Do you need help or support in a particular area of your life?
Coaching with Adam Eason Or Hypnotherapy with Adam Eason
2. Would you like a satisfying and meaningful career as a hypnotherapist helping others? Are you a hypnotherapist looking for stimulating and career enhancing continued professional development and advanced studies?
Adam Eason’s Anglo European training college.
3. Are you a hypnotherapist looking to fulfil your ambitions or advance your career?
Hypnotherapist Mentoring with Adam Eason.
Likewise, if you’d like to learn more about self-hypnosis, understand the evidence based principles of it from a scientific perspective and learn how to apply it to many areas of your life while having fun and in a safe environment and have the opportunity to test everything you learn, then come and join me for my one day seminar which does all that and more, have a read here: The Science of Self-Hypnosis Seminar.