I wonder if I’m the only person who can really get hung up sometimes trying to come to any definitive conclusion about my life purpose . . . trying to answer age old questions about why I’m here or what I’m supposed to be doing. I could max out my Kindle with books written to help me decipher the code of my unique destiny and still end up with nothing but a headache.
It’s that nagging feeling I keep having that I ought to be about some important business. It shows up in all the ways that I ‘should’ myself . . . “I really should be doing more . . . contributing more . . . making more of a difference . . .” It’s often implied if not stated that because I can, I should . . . that the world needs me to figure out what I’m here to do and to get busy doing it.
You take your responsibilities oh so seriously, says the Team when I visit this topic with them. We see it all the time—the way you burden yourselves with this belief that you came here to “make a difference” . . . and that the value of your life depends on figuring out as soon as possible what difference you can make and getting on with it before it’s too late.
We don’t like bursting your bubble (much) but the truth is your world will keep on turning just fine whether you set out to make a difference in it or not. You sort of get this idea both right and wrong. You get it ‘wrong’ or rather, you’re misguided in the sense that you make such a big deal about what it is you decide to do, and about the reasons you consider worthwhile for doing it. You get it wrong by making it about obligation . . . duty . . . sacrifice . . . all those things you’ve decided are so noble and so necessary for a life lived well, when in fact it’s much more about the joy you experience—the fun you have—along the way.
You hear words like the ones we’re offering to you about this and immediately your sirens sound, summoning the selfishness police, because of all the illusions you hold dear, the one that is often nearest and dearest to you is the one that says you earn your worth by how far down on the list of priorities you place yourself. You elevate and celebrate what you regard as specific sacrifices and keep your indulgences under your hat, usually without ever really considering that it’s the motive that matters, not the motion.
You get it right, however, by believing that you do make a difference. In fact, you can’t not make a difference even if you never lift a finger in service to another. We’re not suggesting you dispense with all service to fellow beings or beasts or causes—only that you follow your bliss to that service, understanding that your joy, your expansion is the real point of it all, not the effect you may have on anyone else.
Believe it or not, there is nothing you should do. No lasting merit badge waits to be pinned to your breast for your good deeds other than the satisfaction you felt in doing them and the inevitable ways that they enlarged you. You’re free to choose your point of view—and to attach yourselves to it. So if the notion of doing what you think you should do beckons to you, then have at it.
But if we were you (and we are) . . . we wouldn’t want to.