The Single Question You Should Ask To Find Your Life Purpose
Don’t you just love articles with these kinds of titles?
‘The single (insert something here) way to (insert something reader wants)’ titles. They’re almost as good as the ‘(insert number here) reasons to do (insert something reader wants to do here)’ ones.
Clickbait. That’s what they are.
But now you’re here. I’ve caught you. And you’re going to be glad I have.
Because I’m about to hit you with a massive fist of wisdom. A kamikaze of brilliance. A mallet of unshakeable genius.
Provided you’re absolutely, positively, 100% like me. It’s definitely worked for me. No promises for you. You’re kind of weird after all.
If you’re competitive, or insecure (or, like me, a bit of both), then you can’t help but compare your life to others. And now, we live in a world where that’s really easy. Social media is always trumpeting to us how happy so and so are, and how amazing a time such and such is having, and what an insane adventurer that guy you barely know but met that one time is.
And that’s before you get to what your close friends, former close friends and ex-girl/boyfriends are doing. Because every time I’m on Facebook, it looks to me like they’re all just having a fantastic time, doing all kinds of crazy great things, and that they seem to float through life completely uninterrupted by pressures that I find completely ordinary.
Perhaps my life is mundane. Or perhaps (and this is what I really think), it’s all just bullshit.
Facebook/Instagram/Twitter/Snapchat/Text messaging/Phone calls/Smoke signals/Morse code are all just brief snapshots of a person’s life. They aren’t the whole thing. They’re a glimpse. A window. A street facing window on a house.
Sure, everyone can see they have a nice living room. It’s got a beautiful sofa in it. But it’s just a living room. You don’t get to see the untidy bedroom. The dishes piling in the sink. Or the bodies buried in the backyard.
Nevertheless, it can be hard to ignore these things and focus on yourself. When it seems like everyone is going places, it can be easy to feel like you’re stuck on a bus to Nowheresville.
But this is when you ask yourself the question.
THE question. You know, the premise for this article. THE QUESTION.
“Would you trade?”
If you had the opportunity to trade lives with this person, would you?
And bear in mind, you have to trade everything. You get all the good, AND all the bad. Sure, you get all of Nicky’s friends, but you also get that needy rattling that she does a lot. You get the fact that she always HAS a boyfriend, but you also get the fact that she always NEEDS a boyfriend. What I’m really saying here is this:
“If you could, would you completely trade lives with this person? Would you be willing to shoulder all their negative points, in exchange for the positives they have? When everything is added up, do they actually, really, honestly have it better than you? Would you be willing to be them, rather than be you?”
If the answer is no, then that’s simple. You don’t do anything. You carry on being you, and you thank your lucky stars you aren’t them. If however the answer is yes, then we have a problem. Because you actually can’t trade lives with that person.
What you can do though, is work to make your life more like theirs. You can try and understand what exactly it is about that person that you like, why they get opportunities that you want and how they deal with situations.
And then all you have to do is copy them.That’s the secret. Steal their good bits. Leave their bad bits. Rinse, repeat, and then rinse, repeat again, until you no longer want to trade.
That’s it. That’s all you have to do. That’s the secret to the elusive quest for growth. Surround yourself with people you would love to be, or want to be like – do your best to exhibit the characteristics that you like about them and before you know it, you’ll be living the life you actually want.
And now, I know I’ve said that this will be a single insight piece, but I’m going to give you another one. For free!
When it’s all said and done, you’ve won at life, when you can look back at the lives of everyone and say, “I wouldn’t trade for any. And if I could pick between all of the lives that have been lived, the one I would want was my own.”
It’s a simple framework, but it works. Because it’s value specific. Just because you would choose your life, doesn’t mean other people have to. They might choose something completely different. And they probably will, because what they choose reflects who they are, and what they want.
Remember, ultimately, there’s no winning the race of life. It’s not a competition. You can’t ‘win’ at life, nobody comes out the other side. And there is no right and wrong when it comes to the decisions we make – there’s only better or worse. It’s like Baz Luhrmann’s Sunscreen song said, “The race is long. And in the end, it’s only with yourself.”
Best of luck with your race.