Reality Check: The Value of Purpose

“I personally believe that each and every one of us was put here for a purpose; that’s to build and not destroy.”

Do you recognize those words? They came from Red Skelton—the comedian who poked fun at the pompous and self-important through gentle good humour. His characters, such as Freddy the Freeloader, always seemed to come out on top despite apparently lacking intelligence, money, or power.

Skelton commented specifically on his life’s purpose: “If by chance someday you are not feeling well and you should remember some silly little thing that I’ve said or done and it brings back a smile to your face or a chuckle to your heart, then my purpose has been served for my fellow man.”

Skelton wasn’t just a funny man. He understood the importance of humour and its connection to his life’s purpose.

Do you wonder about your life’s purpose?

In Choice Theory, Dr. Glasser offers the idea of the “quality world.” That little “world” in our mind is our collection of pictures of everything we perceive that contributes to our quality of life. It’s not just things, of course. There are people, ideas, and ideals too.

When reality and our quality world are reasonably well-matched, we’re satisfied. However, if they are not matched, well…we’re not!

Your quality world, like Skelton’s, may contain the idea that you have been put on this earth for a purpose. Skelton was clear about his purpose and how he could fulfill it. If purpose is in your quality world, then knowing your purpose and living up to it can be very satisfying.

However, you may have the unsettling feeling that you should have a purpose, yet have no clue what that purpose might be. How do you find out? How can you be sure?

If unclarity of purpose is causing you dissatisfaction, here are a few suggestions.

  • Purpose need not be lofty. If you think that purpose doesn’t count unless it’s earth-shaking, award-winning, or goes viral, then you are mistaken! Your purpose may be enormously valuable even if it is never recognized or praised by the world.
  • Your purpose may take time to become clear. So, find one small place where you can make a positive difference and start making that difference. Act where you can see and understand the consequences of your action. Build on what you learn from those actions.
  • Let go of the idea that there is only one perfect purpose for you. You may have many gifts and many potential purposes. Use what you have—your talents and characteristics—and start working toward one—any one—positive purpose.

Having purpose can bring satisfaction, and it is ultimately up to you to choose it. Some folks see their life’s purpose as raising healthy, responsible children. Other people find their purpose in teaching, in providing goods or services, or in helping others.

In whatever positive purpose you choose, as Red Skelton would say, “May I wish you all continued success, and God bless.”

Is purpose important to you? What brings meaning and purpose to your life?

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