Finding Your Purpose

June 7th, 2018 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »

 

When asked what the most perplexing thing was about humanity, the Dali Lama replied, “Man. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.”

There’s a famous scene from the 1991 movie “City Slickers” where the Jack Palance character, Curly, seated comfortably on the back of a beautiful horse, looks over at Mitch, played by Billy Crystal, and says, “Do you know what the secret of life is?” Then he holds up his gloved index finger and says, “One thing. Just one thing.” To which Mitch responds, “What, your finger?” Curly, with a cigarette hanging from his lips continues to stare at him and repeats, “One thing, just one thing. You stick to that and everything else don’t mean @#$%.” Mitch then replies,”That’s great, but what’s the one thing?” And Curly replies, “That’s what you gotta figure out.”

I spent some time honing in on what that was for me, and about 10 years ago, I heard someone describe a happy friend as a person who was living a purpose driven life, and it hit me. That’s where I’ve found happiness.

True happiness for me seems only to come from living a purpose driven life, but that’s not always easy, and plenty of things can get in the way.

Behavioral scientists have long known that our neurons are set by the age of 2 or 3. In my case, a friend once observed, “You always try to deliver the impossible on a platinum platter, and people just get used to it. So, you kind of make your life your own personal hell by always trying to exceed everyone’s expectations.”

The bad news is that, now that I’ve figured it out, I still have trouble trying not to focus on always making people happy all the time. It’s not easy, but its also not impossible. I always have to remind myself that it is not my circus and they are not my monkeys. We all have to figure out our personal vulnerabilities.

I’ve wanted to have bumper stickers made saying, “We’re all messed up,” because we are all messed up in our own way, and it’s up to us to either try to figure it out or get someone to help us figure things out. Otherwise, we just drive ourselves and everyone else bonkers. If we can recognize our personal flaws, we might be able to stop doing some of the destructive things we do to ourselves while we’re on this journey.

But the point of this article wasn’t to concentrate on either my story or Mitch’s. It was to get you to try to figure out your stories, your “one thing.” It’s just a matter of deciding what that one thing is that makes you tick, or purr, or sing. Sometimes, it’s simply about honing in on the beauty of that one thing, and that, my friends, takes focus. It also takes thought, honesty, and discipline.

OK, so 3-year-old Pete was sitting in his little “reward for pooping on the potty” electric car, and he thought the battery was dead because all he heard when he pushed on the ignition switch was click, click. Anyway, according to my daughter, he sat back, shook his head and said, “Son of a *%^#. This is messed up.” When his folks corrected him, he looked down and said it again under his breath. Fortunately, I wasn’t there because, as indicated above, I just want him to love me, but when she told me, I thought, “You got that right, kid. This is messed up!” So, let’s fix it.

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