“Without a conscious life purpose a man is totally lost, drifting, adapting to events rather than creating events. Without knowing his life purpose a man lives a weakened, impotent existence…”
~David Deida – The Way of the Superior Man*
When I first read The Way of The Superior Man in my 20’s, I had myself a convenient little life. A decent job, nice home, comfortable relationship, an interesting social life, and fulfilling hobbies.
On the surface it was all quite nice. I had the pieces that were supposed to add up to a happy and fulfilling existence.
Slice a layer deeper though and it was a much different story:
I was a raging blaze of frustrated angst.
Something was missing.
That something was ‘purpose’.
Or rather, the total lack of it.
No matter how good my life was, I could never relax and enjoy it. Whatever successes I did have, paled in comparison to the spectacular failure I thought I was.
Because as long as my purpose remained undiscovered, I could never be at peace in the world.
I felt worthless. I felt the burden of not being able to solve this unbearable problem. A cloud of depression and self-pity hung over me like a thick, heavy cloak.
Fuck That Guy…
You can imagine why reading David Deida made me murderous. His words sliced me to the core. He spoke precisely to the nauseating truth I was all too painfully aware of:
I was living a “weakened, impotent existence”.
It was all so frustrating. Because besides repeating “find your purpose” over and over again, Deida gave me no fucking clue how to do that.
Cue the jaded cynicism.
And cue the simultaneous harsh judgement and deep envy I felt for those men taking life by the balls and pursuing their dreams.
I so desperately wanted what they seemed to have:
The conviction, confidence and self-assurance of a life with purpose… The magnetism, presence and vitality… And the power and courage to be masters of their kingdom.
I wanted it bad.
But I had no idea how to get it.
In the end, it was something I stumbled my way through for another 10 years. 10 long years of not feeling good enough, of constantly judging myself, and feeling like a failure.
Ultimately that’s the journey I had to go on.
But if I’m really honest with myself, there was a lot of unnecessary misery, heartache, and frustration.
Looking back, I’ve realised that there were some big mistakes that I was making.
Painful mistakes. Time-wasting mistakes.
If I could travel back in time there’s some important lessons I’d want myself to know. If I had the chance to warn myself of the three biggest mistakes I was making, this is the conversation I’d have.
And if you’re struggling to find your purpose, may these lessons serve you on your journey too.
find your purpose mistake #1
You Don’t Find Your Purpose
You’re going about this backwards.
You think that your purpose is about a specific action. You believe that if you could just find the thing to do, you’d feel better. I get it. You want to find the action that gives relief from the desperation.
It’s true – taking action IS important. You don’t find your purpose by sitting around talking about it. What’s also true is that underlying the urge to take action, is the desire for a feeling.
When we’re talking about goals or outcomes, have you ever asked yourself “why do I want this?”.
Nine times out of ten the answer will be some form of “because I want to feel ________”
The action hopefully leads to a desired feeling.
So let’s short-cut the process:
Instead of confusing your purpose only with an action, your purpose is also to feel.
And before you can do that, your purpose is to decide what you want to feel.
If there were no obstacles in your way, no roadblocks stopping you from living the life you most want, what would that look like?
Imagine the highest, most idealised, empowered, heart-centered, connected, all-knowing, god-king version of yourself.
- Who is he?
- What does he feel?
- What’s important to him?
- What does he value?
- How does he live his life?
- By what ideals does he live that life?
- What vision guides him?
- What is his Code of Honour?
Getting clear on these answers will super-charge your ability to find your purpose.
Because when you connect to this higher-potential version of yourself, magic happens. Take the time to reflect on these questions and use them to guide your life now. Stop chasing only actions and take the time to really connect with the values driving you.
Align yourself with the vision and feeling of the man you most want to be, and watch your life transform.
find your purpose mistake #2
Your Purpose Isn’t a Destination
I get it. You’re standing there, map in hand, trying to figure it all out:
“How do I get from ‘Point A’ – frustration and failure, to ‘Point Z’ – purpose and success?”
The truth is, your purpose isn’t a destination. Your purpose is not some place where you can plant your flag in the ground and proclaim “I HAVE ARRIVED!!!”
Sure, there might come a day when you stumble across a career or cause that you’re compelled to dedicate your life to. An all-encompassing thing that defines who and what you are as a man. But if you’re anything like most men, it probably won’t happen like that.
So let’s get that out of the way right now.
Want to know how to really find your purpose?
Live the life you’re already living now. And, live it impeccably.
Embrace every single step of this infinite and ever-changing journey, and live it to it’s fullest.
Yep, “it’s all about the journey, man”
What I’ve noticed is this:
It’s not the giant leaps forward that are most significant. (Don’t get me wrong, they are awesome)
But rather the small, consistent challenges faced and overcome.
So instead of looking at the infinite options and feeling overwhelmed, simply identify the next best action. Instead of “how do I get to Z?”, ask “where is B?”
It really is as simple as putting one foot in front of the other.
And the more you can come from this perspective, the more enjoyable the journey becomes. Stop overthinking it and twisting yourself up in knots. Let go a little. Do the thing that’s right in front of you, and do it with conviction. You’ll find options opening up that you couldn’t possibly have foreseen.
When you’re not so stressed about getting to Point Z, there’s a whole wonderful and meaningful alphabet to explore.
find your purpose mistake #3
You Use Fear As An Excuse
You pretend that you don’t know what you want.
You see the multitude of options in front of you and feel overwhelmed:
“So much choice! What’s the right thing for me?”
“How do I really know what will make me happy and fulfilled?”
But in your heart of hearts, in those quiet moments of honest reflection, you know. When you stop and look, and ask those questions like ‘what is my next best step?’, ‘what do I want to create?’, ‘who is it that I really want to be?’… you know.
And if you don’t know, you at least have an idea.
You’re just scared. Scared that you don’t have what it takes.
You’re afraid to take responsibility for becoming that man. That if you try, you’ll fail.
So it’s easier not to try.
But let’s get real here:
That’s a massive cop-out.
If you really want to find your purpose, it’s time to get brutally honest with yourself. Admit that not going after what you want is the source of your suffering. Because until you do, you’ll continue deluding yourself that you can keep getting away with not stepping up.
Sounds harsh right?
Well it’s time for a little tough-love accountability. It’s time to choose ruthless responsibility for creating the life you desire.
Living a life of purpose, passion and meaning is having the courage to try. It’s knowing that sometimes you’ll fail, but doing whatever it takes to get back up and keep trying. Those obstacles, challenges and resistances you feel? Facing them is what gives your life purpose. They show you who you are and where you want to go.
Have the courage to look yourself square in the eye, not swallow your own shit, and go for it.
I can’t imagine I would’ve enjoyed hearing this back then. But often the best medicine is the most bitter to swallow.
If I had’ve known then what I know now, I could’ve saved so much pain and desperation. I wasted so much of my life feeling frustrated trying to work this stuff out. I hope that by sharing this story you can bypass the time wasting and painful not-knowing that I went through.
And if you need some help feeling more purposeful in your life, reach out. I help guys with simple, practical, and actionable strategies to start living a more purposeful life right now. Click here to schedule a time to chat.
Because here’s the thing: you don’t have to struggle and stay stuck trying to figure it out on your own. But you do need to be courageous and ask for help.
Hey, I’m Reece – since 2014 I’ve been helping men build healthy relationships, have more connected sex, and create lives that fucking rock.
Learn more about my men’s coaching program and apply for a free, no-obligation 90-minute online coaching call to discover how I can best support you.