On Purpose

I don’t have purpose. Purposes have me.

Whenever I hear “seek your purpose” when someone asks “what path should I take my career?” I shake my head. Though perhaps well-intentioned, the fetishization of purpose is fundamentally misguided. Purpose is not a possession. Purpose is not a destination. Purpose can’t be sought after. Purpose finds us.

The more you try to control it, hold it, and identify as it…the more purpose floats away.

I love the saying, “when the student is ready, the teacher will come.” I feel the same way about purpose. When the person is ready, the purpose will come. Seek readiness, not purpose.

Readiness is composed of equal parts curiosity and discipline. Curiosity represents the vibrant exploration of the present. Discipline represents the grounded wisdom of the future. Both can be accessed anytime. Both are always with you.

Inasmuch as you don’t seek purpose, you don’t wait for purpose either. Sometimes purpose finds you early. Sometimes it won’t. Sometimes different purposes will replace others at different times of your life. And often, there will be emptiness. That’s all totally fine. Curiosity will expand the system of your life. Discipline will cultivate your ability to push towards excellence when the shelf life of excitement runs its expiration.

Curiosity expands. Discipline deepens. Purpose has a greater chance to weave in and out of you with that much area covered.

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