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The power of purpose

You don’t need a title to realise your potential, just believe in yourself and focus on your goals reports Chitra Jha

education Updated: Aug 25, 2010 12:17 IST
Chitra Jha
Chitra Jha
Hindustan Times

How many of us live truly purposeful lives and how many just drift along, always trying to fit in with the trends, living life on others’ terms? A lack of an individual or collective purpose makes us feel inadequate, helpless and powerless. Lao Tzu, a famous Chinese philosopher who lived more than 2,500 years ago, had said, “The biggest problem in the world today is that individuals experience themselves as powerless.” We haven’t progressed much on this count in these two-and-a-half millenniums. We still feel helpless, negative, lethargic, frustrated, and resentful. We often live in fear, enslaved by our circumstances, which we think are beyond our control. All these are signs of powerlessness. Our efforts to achieve success in any field are sabotaged by powerlessness as it breeds negativity.

True power comes with purpose. It brings an inner awareness, an inner state of being in control, knowing that we can achieve our goals. It brings a calm conviction about our true identity. It makes us believe that we can achieve all that we set out to achieve in life. It gives us a quiet confidence in our abilities. It helps us set a direction for our life. It makes us distinguish among circumstances over which we have some control and over which we have no control. This power makes us define ourselves from inside out. It makes our internal space a positive one. From this space, our internal dialogue always moves us towards self-confidence. We constantly keep affirming, “I am a capable person. I can handle all life challenges with élan. I am creative. I learn from all my mistakes. Etc. etc.”

Mahatma Gandhi is a shining example of a person who used the power of purpose in the most effective manner. He held no political office. He didn’t possess great wealth. He was a small, frail, scantily-clad man, who took on the might of the British empire and drove the erstwhile rulers without firing a single shot. How did he achieve this supposedly impossible goal? He could do it with the power of purpose; the power which can move mountains and achieve miracles.

How can we cultivate this power in our lives? This power comes with a vision for our future. It comes when we open up to new possibilities. It comes when we nurture our inherent strengths. Yes, each one of us has been granted numerous gifts by nature/ God/ the universe/ spirit/ energy/ intelligence… whatever name you may call it. Ask yourself, “What are the blessings/ gifts/ powers that I have been blessed with so far?” Make a list of these blessings. Your list could include a safe and secure home, a loving family, fresh drinking water, plenty of food, good health, a sound mind, education, employment, friends, freedom from life threats, talents, abilities etc.

Once you have made this list, you are ready to ask the next question: “Why have I been given all these gifts? What is the purpose?” This is a very important question, so let the answer come in from deep inside you. For some, the purpose could be to experience love, joy, beauty, and aliveness. For some others, it could be sharing the gifts and supporting others in living joyful, authentic lives. Some may be inclined to create conditions where everyone can live with inner security and peace. Some may wish to understand more about the human nature and human experience. There can be as many purposes as there are people, since each one of us is unique, with our unique bouquet of gifts and talents.

Once you have identified your most compelling purpose you are ready for the final question. Ask yourself, “What actions do I need to take today in the direction of my life’s purpose? How can I align my gifts with the purpose I have identified?” Whichever way you may frame this question, the answer to this question will give you the power of purpose. This answer will make you look at each moment as an opportunity to march forward on your chosen path.

So, ask these questions, honestly answer them and find your power of purpose. This power will propel you towards success in any chosen field because this field will be aligned with who you are.

The author is a life-skills coach, time-line therapist, and new consciousness writer.

First Published: Aug 25, 2010 12:08 IST