I had a quick thought this week, but it really got me thinking: What is the difference between these two questions?
1. How do I discover my life’s purpose?
2. How do I choose the purpose of my life?
The difference is subtle but very impactful. The difference is in the verbs of the sentences: “choose” vs. “discover”. If you set off to discover something, it implies that what you are seeking (or have discovered by accident) has always been there. The classic historical example of this is the caveman “discovering” fire.
If you “choose” something, it means that you have used your brain, made a decision (involving values like reason, volition, consciousness, and honesty) and eliminated other possible options.
So…what’s the big deal?
The big deal is that to “discover” your purpose suggests that you have no free will. You could very easily say, “I discovered my purpose the other day. It was hidden behind my shed.” This completely removes your responsibility and invokes a sense of duty to your life. This philosophy is known as determinism, which holds that all things are pre-determined and that you have no say in your life whatsoever.
I don’t believe that for one second.
The other idea is the exact opposite. As soon as you use the word “choose,” it implies options and the use, to your highest ability, of your brain to choose something that will benefit your life and bring you immense joy. It also places all the responsibly on you.
Responsibility is very scary. I never forget the first time I realized that my health was my responsibility and that what happened in my past was my problem—not my doctor’s. I recall a panic attack. But as the smoke began to clear, I realized that if I was responsible, I could be responsible for creating something fantastic and amazing.
It’s your responsibility to choose what you want to pursue in your life. It is a hard and difficult choice, but it’s yours for the choosing. Go out and create something amazing for yourself.Dr. K