Saturday, July 12, 2008

What is my purpose? part 2

Part 1 was more or less about the purpose for humans in general, which I think we must at least consider (if not fully answer) to provide some context for the question "What is my purpose in particular?"

Which could mean any of at least the following:
  1. For what purpose was I born? Why was I put on this earth?
  2. What do I want to do with my life?
  3. What is the vision, if any, I'm striving toward? What would an objective observer reasonably conclude about my life's real values and priorities, based upon what I actually say and do?
I was thinking about #1 when I started writing this, but of course #2 is also a reasonable question. And essays like this one point out that #3 is may be useful when thinking about the aim of one particular life. That is, in order to answer "Which way to steer?" we need to know both where we're currently headed(#3) as well as where we want to go(#2).

Let me make a few suggestions about #2 and #3 first, then I'd like to talk about #1. There's a thought-experiment that I sometimes call the "man from Mars," which I ran on myself a few years ago, which I suppose constituted my #3 at the time.

Covey's Seven Habits starts off with "Begin with the end in mind." I've often used this -- "Imagine you're at the end of your career (or life)," I begin. "What do you want to see as you look back?" These sorts of questions are great ways to think about #2.
By the way, though I really like Covey's "7 Habits", it seems to send the overall message: "Be a good and wise person" but it doesn't show us how to do that. What we need -- rather who we need -- is a relationship with our creator and redeemer. Otherwise our defensiveness and denial and so on will dog our steps and make it impossible to be as wise or as good as we ought to be. "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom," say the Proverbs

As for question #1: why was this particular person put in this place at this time? Well, right now I'm out of time. More on that in part 3

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