On my last irreverent post, it was pointed out that some people’s purpose in life is to serve as a warning to others. (That could have been me in my twenties.) Those people who seem to be disaster magnets are those who are at the whim of the currents of life. They make no plans; they have no goals; they don’t think past the moment to possible consequences of their actions. When the inevitable happens and bad things occur, they moan over the “bad luck” they seem to attract.
Have you ever noticed how the goal-driven, purposeful people have seemingly such good luck? It’s no accident. Having a clear goal in front of them guides their decisions daily. Knowing what you want gives you direction, energy, and a sense of control. Even when uncontrollable events interfere, it’s only a momentary distraction. They swim where they wish, mindful of the currents but in control of their direction. These are the people with purpose.
Purpose does not have to be grand. You don’t have to save the world. But why are you here? Do you know? What is important in your heart? How do you express that daily in your dealings with work, people, and leisure? Can someone who knows you well name your purpose? Can you?
Your purpose can change with your circumstances, but there is an underlying principle in all you do. What is yours? Is it directed inward—to reward yourself—or is it directed outward?
I challenge you to find one thing, only one thing, to place in your daily life that is for the good of others. Such a simple act as always smiling when you make eye contact can be the one thing that makes another’s day better. Perhaps you can always allow a merging driver into your lane—even the jerk who speeds past everyone and puts others at risk. Say “You’re welcome” every time someone says “Thank you.” In a long line, be patient and calm with the cashier. Ripples in a pond, good acts are replicated and passed on.
There was a drive-through I visited several times a week to pick up a diet Coke. (It has since closed.) They greeted me enthusiastically every time I came. But it wasn’t like that at first. What was the difference? One morning I was in a really good mood and I started my order with a shout of “Good morning!” The person at the speaker responded, “Well, good morning to you too! How can I help you?” This was certainly perkier than the greetings I had been getting. So each morning I came, I started my order with "Good morning!” The server commented over time how nice it was to be greeted so warmly, so I’ve tried to do it whenever I stop at a drive-through. Does it always make a difference? I don’t know. But I know it made a difference to one person, so why not continue?
Such a small thing. I’m certainly no saint, but it fits my purpose of finding the good in people and letting them know. It builds bridges, and that’s what I want to do.
What’s your purpose?