- People who have purpose have the belief that their life matters and that they can make a difference.
- To be present and in the moment is to be focused on the task at hand, and nothing else.
- Presence and purpose are inextricably connected and dependent on one another for success.
In a world where distraction is everywhere and multitasking is common practice, it seems obvious that our presence in the moment is compromised. What is the impact of not being present and how does that affect our purpose in life?
Purpose affects every aspect of our being. People who have purpose have the belief that their life matters and that they can make a difference.
Purpose is at the very core of positivity and a reason to get up in the morning. Having purpose is also a prime motivator that defines choices and provides a line of sight for what is important.
“Great minds have purposes; others have wishes.” –Washington Irving
When asked what he would do if he had his life to live over again, the actor Bill Murray said in an interview: “I would like to be more present.” He suggested that fame had become somewhat of a distraction from his being able to always be present.
To be present and in the moment is to be focused on the task at hand, and nothing else. When you meet someone, that person has all your focus. Your thoughts and feelings are not distracted by something unrelated, which transports your presence from the moment. When distracted or sidetracked from your task, your purpose will also be negatively affected.
Take the example of throwing darts. When focused on the board, my grip on the dart, and my breathing, I am in the moment and I can be very accurate. When something distracts me and takes my focus away from my task—a loud noise or a rude comment—I am lucky to hit the wall.
My purpose of throwing the darts accurately has now been lost due to my lack of presence. I have been transported away from being in the moment and subsequently have lost my purpose. Presence and purpose are inextricably connected and dependent on one another for success.
“Most of us go to our graves with our music still inside us, unplayed.” –Oliver Wendell Holmes
An Inner Voyage
To decide what you are actually seeking in life, you will need to take an inner voyage. Your personal goals will not be found on Google, or be copied from a friend or mentor. That is, if you want them to work for you. Ultimately, you are defining your purpose. How can anyone do that for you? You are the only one who can commit to your purpose. A major part of figuring out the content of your life is an inner voyage. You will need to explore yourself in depth.
“Life has meaning only if you do what is meaningful to you.” –Alan Cohen
What Has Meaning to You and Why?
Start your inner voyage by exploring what you determine as meaningful. Is work meaningful? What about relationships, are they meaningful to you? How important is having fun? Explore your inner contents for the most meaningful parts of your life. This helps you decide where you want to put your purpose. This structure also helps you to decide where your focus needs to be. Not just long term but in each unfolding moment.
Why are these directions meaningful? Knowing why something has meaning to you helps you to commit more fully. When you do not know why you are motivated, you tend to vacillate and become misdirected and random.
Becoming Your True Self
When we start to align with our purpose and stay present and in the moment, we are moving toward arriving at our true self. You can now start to understand and develop a sense of yourself as an independent individual. Your purpose and presence, which are unique to you, will guide you to a place that is self-defining.
You can break away from the limitations of judgment and negativity passed along to you by others. The past labels given to you by others, or yourself, no longer apply.
You have come to recognize the power of your own values, ideals, and beliefs. The past has lost its hold on your present and future identity. You are in the now, not the then.
Formulating Your Goals
Through purpose and being present you will also be more fluent at setting and achieving your goals. The core foundation of achieving one’s goals is to know your purpose and stay connected to that purpose by being focused and in the moment.
Taking on your personal power has helped you find and become your true self. Through cultivating these habits of purpose and presence, your mental and physical health will also benefit. Support your inner voyage and it will continue to assist and develop your depth as a person.
Craig, N. & Snook, S.A. (2014). From Purpose to Impact. Harvard Business Review, May 2014.