sucˇcess: (n.) The achievement of something desired, planned, or attempted

Finding Your Purpose

What is success? As author and speaker Earl Nightingale said, success is the steady progression toward a worthy ideal. Success is the ability to love, enjoy your work, and have fun in your life. Success is making a difference, a positive difference. Success is making the world a little bit better because you existed. And success begins with purpose.

The problem with most people today is that they do not have any purpose in their life. This lack of purpose is something most people experience at some point in their life. People will set goals and make plans to achieve them and they will work hard to gain the love and respect of others, but something is still missing. They feel as if life is passing them by. They may be accomplishing many things, but they're not enjoying themselves, because they lack purpose.

One of the reasons people do not set goals is because they don't know what the want in life. They do what their mother or father wants, or what their boss wants, or what their spouse wants, but they have no real purpose for living. Thoreau said, "The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation," and I think one of the reasons for that is a lack of purpose. If you have a purpose, you are doing what you enjoy, and it's much easier to become fulfilled.

One of the keys to success is the belief in a mission. A mission is your purpose for living. A mission supersedes goal setting. A mission gives your life meaning. All men and women who are successful and high achievers are people who seem to loose themselves in a commitment that is bigger than they are; they are turned on by a purpose or a mission.

All truly happy people have found a way to follow their purpose, to do what they enjoy. Certainly, there are laws that we have to follow to get along in society. But to be content, we also must learn to take risks and allow our uniqueness to blossom.

When we do what we really enjoy, we give ourselves up to something bigger than ourselves. We become involved totally in life, and we work for the pleasure of working. Purpose causes us to become totally committed to projects and people. And our egos become secondary to what we are trying to accomplish.

To find our purpose, we must first realize that we have choices. We are free, within certain societal limits, to do whatever we want to do. We can learn to play the piano, paint, or write. We can change jobs, start a business, move to another location, and say no to the demands of others. While we all have choices, it's important to understand, that following your purpose is risky. But life is short and our time here on earth is limited.

One of the worst things that you can do is to stay in a line of work for months and years that you do not enjoy. There are many people today who have spent their whole life doing something during the week so that they can somehow find something enjoyable to do on the weekends. In every case, these are men and women who have not found their purpose and have very little future. They view their jobs as a form of drudgery that pays their bills. And that they're paying their dues in order to enjoy the rest of their lives. And because of this attitude they will seldom achieve any happiness or success.

In every case, people who are not successful and happy in their work are those who have not taken the time to sit down and deal honestly and openly with themselves. They have not looked deep within themselves to find the inner treasures of talent and ability that they have demonstrated throughout their lives. They are content to do work that other people tell them to do, and to help achieve the goals that other people have set.

Over time, people who are not doing what they really enjoy, begin to feel helpless. They feel that there is nothing they can do to change things. Their income only rises enough to meet their expenses, and they worry about money all the time. The future looks to them very much the same as the past.

One of the keys to finding your purpose in life is to be able to understand yourself better. How would you describe yourself? Are you a risk taker? Are you persuasive, intuitive, or excitable? Are you cautious, controlled, or fact-oriented? Are you relaxed, friendly, or conciliatory? By answering these questions it helps you to better understand your motives and what excites you.

Some other important questions to ask yourself are: What activities are most important to you? What things would you most like to change about your life? What would you do if you had no limitations and knew you could not fail? How would you like to be remembered when you leave this life?

To find your purpose in life you need to become everything you are capable of becoming. You must develop yourself to the point where every day is a source of joy and satisfaction. You need to be able to hold up a mirror to yourself and refuse to work at anything that is not an expression of everything that is good and capable within you.

Success comes from being excellent at what you do. The market only pays excellent rewards for excellent performance. It pays average rewards for average performance and below-average rewards, and insecurity for below-average performance.

But excellence is a journey, not a destination. You never really get there. You can never really relax. The market is always changing and what constitutes excellence today will be different tomorrow and very different next year and the year after.

All really successful and happy people know in their hearts that they are very good at what they do. Wonderfully enough, if you are doing what you really love and enjoy, if you are following your purpose, you will know because of your attitude toward excellence.

When you find your purpose in life, you will have a continuous desire to learn more about it. You will be thinking continually about different ways you could upgrade your knowledge and skills. You will search for educational materials, for books audio programs, and additional courses that will help you become better and better in your field. People who are not driven to lean more about their fields are people who are in the wrong line of work. And if a person is in the wrong field and not constantly learning and growing in their field, their value and their ability to become financially independent diminishes with each passing day.

The purpose of life, is to love and be loved, to enjoy the ordinary, and to savor the present moment, It is finding work that brings pleasure, and continuing to learn, grow, and evolve. Discovering your purpose means finding out who you are and striving to be that person all the time. We can find purpose by making something special of ourselves for others, and by loving and working creatively.

Once you've developed a purpose for you life, it becomes easier to set and achieve your goals, because you will know what you really want. You will have goals that allow you to do what you really enjoy, and when this happens, you will have already become a success.

Every person was put on this earth to do something wonderful with his or her life. You can find your purpose in life, if you are willing to take risks, and go against the norm. You can find your purpose if you're willing to listen to your inner urges, rather than follow what other people want you to do. You'll find that when you are willing to take risks and make reasonable plans for doing what you love to do, you will have a life of abundance. You will have all the material possessions you want. And, you will gain the admiration of family and friends, because you will have become a unique individual who lives a daily life of joy.

This is not to say that you won't have challenges and problems. You will. But when you're doing the things that you truly enjoy, facing those problems and challenges will be much easier.

Life is too short to be unhappy. When you do what you really enjoy, discovering your purpose will be fun. You will be happy and fulfilled in both your work and your personal relationships. You will have more energy, creativity, and higher self-esteem. When you discover your true purpose in life your future will be unlimited.

CopyrightŠ 2005 by Joe Love and JLM & Associates, Inc. All rights reserved worldwide.

Joe Love draws on his 25 years of experience helping both individuals and companies build their businesses, increase profits, and achieve total success. He is the founder and CEO of JLM & Associates, a consulting and training organization, specializing in personal and business development. Through his seminars and lectures, Joe Love addresses thousands of men and women each year, including the executives and staffs of many of America's largest corporations, on the subjects of leadership, self-esteem, goals, achievement, and success psychology.

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Attracting Success