How to live a life of purpose

Athlete [photo credit]

I don't know of anybody who embarks on a journey without having a clear-cut description, road-map or if you like graph of the destination he or she intends to reach.

And if such a person does exist, he or she is definitely just taking a walk.

Having a clear-cut description will enable the traveller to navigate the route with ease.

Therefore based on what may suit the individual journeyman, it is either the road-map is in the traveller’s head memorized or on a piece of paper for ease of reference as the journey progresses.

Or alternatively, it is on the traveller's phone if he or she owns one.

This is to makes it more likely for the traveller to make a call to someone who may be of help in case he or she misses the way.

Or God forbid like we used to say in this part of the world where I come from, something terrible happens. Contacts on the phone might just come handy for the rescuers. That's by the way.

In the case all these are not available, the traveller must be prepared to ask for the direction where and when it is necessary as the journey hots up from those they meet on the way who are familiar with the route or have being to the destination he or she desires.

To do the contrary is akin to courting a disaster altogether. It is also tantamount to ending up wandering aimlessly in no man's land as if on a wild goose chase.

As unpalatable as it may sounds, however, it is the reality of some people's life and a fate that awaits anybody who is presently going through life without a purpose.

What then is a purpose, if I may ask?

Purpose is a goal or a plan of action which one has set his or her mind to achieve.

It can also be defined as a vision of what one wants to see comes to reality in one's life.

It may be to get married at a specific time in one's life. It may be to go to university. It may be to learn one vocational skill or the other. It may be to start a business or grow an existing one into a profitable national or global brand. The list goes on and on and on.

How is a life purpose set?

Life goal can be set provided there is sufficiently clear understanding about what it entails and what it requires to achieving it.

Life goal can also be set so far there is the courage of conviction, spiritual, intellectual, material, and psychological enablement- that the goal-setter can go all the way not minding the challenges that lay ahead.

One can set a life goal for himself or herself or it can be predestined. 

I'm not saying setting life goals for oneself is wrong. In fact, it is allowed.
It is even possible for one to stumbles into his or her God's given purpose (s) as the case may be. It happens.

It is, however, far better to seek to know the plan or the purpose of God for your life.

The reason being that its fulfilment and glory far outweigh anything you can ever imagine.

It is clearly for this reason Apostle Paul said in the book of Romans 8: 30. [Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, and these He also glorified. NKJV.]

This verse, though occurring as a form of spiritual exhortation to the church in general; its very essence can as well be transposed for use in myriads of the aspirational situation of an individual.

When to set a life goal?

If you are setting a life goal for yourself, it is best to do so when you are setting forth at dawn.

I mean you must start as early as possible. There's nothing age-specific about it. We have seen people who find their purpose so early in life. And they are often called geniuses. Parents and guardians are therefore implored to be observant of their children and wards.

Right from elementary school, conscious efforts and attention must be paid to signs on the way of our lives that indicate where life is leading us through not only responsive self-awareness and of the environments but a deliberate developmental engagement with our natural endowments and acquisitive skills.

But if you are not sure or still clueless, like I said earlier, then it is time to go and meet your maker so that he can help set the record straight and it shall be well with you.

Qualities of Purpose:
·         Purpose is spiritual.  Just like most things in life, purpose, too, takes its root from or in the spirit before their physical manifestations.

·         Purpose is adjustable.
There are short, medium, long-term purposes or goal. As a footballer for instance, the longest you can stay active is roughly, very roughly around forty years.

After that, you have to adjust your goal to something else that demands less of kinetic intelligence.

Inability to do this has often led to many great athletes suffering greatly from then henceforth because of either problem of adaptation or mismanagement of their finances.

Going bankrupt is one of the many consequences.

So, we must be able to adjust our goal as we journey through life because we are most likely to end up not where and how we started.

·         Purpose is time-bound. Life is transitional - childhood, adolescent, and adulthood- which require different rules of engagements.

There are things you can do as a babe that you cannot do as an adolescent. And there are things you can do as an adolescent which you cannot do as an adult and vice versa.

So, everything in life happens in space and time. Besides, life purpose can only be achieved when one is alive.

As such, only the living strives towards their life purpose. If it doesn't happen when you are young, it may happen when you are old.

I've been around long enough to confidently say nobody should be written off on the account where they are today.

Things can change. And I've seen many of such happened. So, you have no reason to lose faith in achieving your purpose in life even if you suffer repeated setbacks.

·         Purpose leads to success.
When one is purposeful in life, success is a near assurance with hard/smart work, optimism, enthusiasm, faith, and perseverance.

·         Purpose is definable.
Whatever in life can be imagined can be defined. It outlines can be verbally or manually painted. And the moment one can define his or her purpose in life, the battle is half won, the rest is left to the details of the methodology adopted towards achieving it.

·         Purpose is conceptualizable.
Life is a campaign; and long and tortuous one at that. So, there is a need for proper conceptualization which gives room for feedback, evaluation and adjustment to strategies as and when necessary.

·         Purpose is plan-able.
A purpose is plan-able when it becomes a revelation. And writing out the methods, steps or approaches to achieving it is of necessity because it is a journey. And it advisable not to take lightly this part of our goal-setting; it could make or mar you.

·         Purpose is achievable.
Purpose is nothing if it is not achievable. A purpose well-conceived is achievable.

Right from the point of its conceptualization, no stone should be left unturned to ensure everything is put in their place. Otherwise, it is not a purpose. It is a wish.

·         Purpose is miss-able (like a sitter-goal in a game of football)
Purpose can be missed if we give in to distraction.

It is like when you get to the marketplace, (which life is metaphorically, speaking) do you focus on what you are there to buy or you allow yourself get distracted by the noisome environment occasioned by the many buyers and sellers? No!
Let your eyes stay on the ball of your purpose in life at all the time.

·         Purpose is recoverable.
 If a footballer whose purpose on the field of play is to score a goal and he misses a sitter (s) as the case may be or if he misses what we often refer to as glaring chances but in a sudden change of fortune he is able to atone for his sins of not converting obvious goal-scoring chances by netting a brace at the dying minute of the game.

We can say he has recovered his purpose maybe not when the fans of the team expect him to but it doesn't matter. It would have been worse if he didn't and his team ended up on the losing side.

From the foregoing, we can then conclude that a purposeless life is, among others, one that's lacking in direction, focus to buttress what have been mentioned above.

A purposeless life can therefore not be worth living because it is miserable. It is time-wasting. It is unprofitable. It is frustrating not only to the one living it but to others who are stakeholders in our life project.

And so a purposeless life is, put summarily, and to reinforce what I said earlier, a disaster.

And this definitely is not the plan of God for your life and my life.

But how come then that people live a purposeless life?

On the surface of it, I want to assume nobody sets out to live a purposeless life, at least not consciously, which unfortunately they now live for one reason or the other.

People live a purposeless life sometimes out of sheer ignorance, disobedience, wishful thinking, dishonesty, and misguided exuberance, or as a result of a care-free lifestyle if you like.

To illustrate the points I'm driving at, let me give one practical personal example.

I think it is only fair and proper I start with myself instead of with others, more so because; charity they say begins at home.

In 1999, I was in Abuja as a member of a team of builders to execute a project for the Nigerian Army.

But somehow, the project didn't go according to plan.

And out of anger and frustration, I left and returned to Lagos which was our originating state and my place of residence.

Still, for saving grace, unknown to me, I travelled to Abeokuta to see my family where I met a God's servant at the earnest imploring of a blood brother.

The God's servant told me that I should go back to Abuja that God has something in stock for me there.

But under my breath, I was disputing his prophetic declaration and vowing never to go back. I didn't go to disobedience.

Later, it so happened that another project was substituted for the one that suffered a delay and my compatriots who tarry make really good money.

And I only get to know of it two years afterwards when out of frustration I was forced to go and rejoined them in Calabar where also the main project has been completed. There I was left with scraping the remnants.

So, you can see what an act of disobedience did cause me.

On a daily basis, purpose and opportunities have been missed by people who, among others, are disobedient, dishonest, wishful thinkers, ignorant, living in misguided exuberance or a care-free lifestyle.

What having a purpose does for your life?

  •     It gives direction to life.

When you are living a life of purpose, there is a direction to your life. You are not just wandering aimlessly around. And like the saying goes - if you don't stand up for something, you fall for anything. May that not be your portion in Jesus Name? Amen.

  • It gives life a focus.

When there is a purpose to life, focus is automatic. You gaze don't shift impatiently from what is helpful to things that are don't add up to your life.

  •     It puts sparks into life. 

Purpose puts sparks into life. There are no dull moments in your life because a set of actionable plans or projects have been put in place. You have something to live for.

  •       It makes life worth living.

A purposeful life makes life itself worth living. And the more your life's goal continues to take shape right before your eyes, the greater your zeal to wanting to see it all to the very end,

  •       It helps to determine where you stand and how much ground you have covered in life.

When you are purposeful, you have something to evaluate every now and then as regards where it manifestation vis-a-viz its realisation stands and how much ground you have covered with an ongoing project (s) as the case may be.

Finally, in all education must be prioritized because it has a place in the greater fulfilment of our life goals and purposes.

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