THE BLOG
09/20/2014 08:09 am ET Updated Dec 06, 2017

Finding Purpose

Patrick Meier via Getty Images

Do you have a purpose-driven life? Or are you among the multitude of regular Joe's who have not identified or achieved their purpose? Because you are living without or in search of purpose, you are therefore inferior to those who are driven toward some great plan. Right?

Consider this: Why do we need a purpose? What if loving, living and learning is our only purpose? What if getting everything out of life that we ever wanted is our purpose? What if enjoying music, nurturing a child, or greeting everyone with a smile is our purpose? Is that wrong? Is it not enough?

2014-09-15-river.jpg

When lack of purpose makes you feel empty and worthless, perhaps you are defeating the purpose. Change your perspective, and you will see that a goal of being happy now is much more satisfying and much more attainable than searching for some external mission or ideal. Take inventory of all the blessings you have now. From your body and all the things it does well to your home, your job, your family, your animals, or the beauty of nature, how many things do you have to be thankful for? How long can you make your list? Why do we focus on the things we should do or have -- like a purpose -- when we already do and have so much? The constant striving for more only detracts from our enjoyment of the here and now and it devalues what we have. It is not the "better" way to go.

Follow the current. According to Eastern philosophy, going with the flow will get you to your destination much more quickly than fighting the current. At times the current is slow and lazy. Other times it is fast and furious. Occasionally it flounders, and then we can use our oars or our strong arms to propel us along. We want to progress in life. Having dreams is wonderful. As long as your river takes you toward your dreams, you can have spectacular journeys along the way. If you take breaks along the way, enjoy the scenery, the company, and the moments, it will all be wonderful. But if you have a specific destination that you doggedly fight to get to, you run the risk of burning out, missing much along the way, or arriving and wondering if this is all there is.

Destinations are meant to change. Life doesn't stand still. If we choose to, it will continue living and changing and growing around us, and it will leave us behind. Be part of the change, and you can be involved in molding it into something you love. Flexibility and optimism will get you through any form of change with the least negative side effects. Continue to move toward your dreams, but be prepared to revise them from time to time.

View setbacks as re-sets. In the biorhythm of life, there are many ups and downs. The downs are not designed to hurt us. They are not outside forces out to get us. They are signals, warnings and signs. They are telling us it's time for change. Something is dead, it's time for something new, something different is on the horizon. Don't run, hide, get angry, or wallow in fear or sadness. Try to understand the message and move forward toward a new future. Change it up. Embrace the possibilities. Find the good in even the worst situations. It is there.

If you have decided that your purpose is to progress at your own pace, build dreams, live and love with all you've got, congratulations. You win the prize! You get to be happy today. You get to spread that joy and happiness to others. Your positive outlook will help them in their life journeys. And you will have a very promising tomorrow filled with whatever you want it to be filled with. Conversely, if you are doing things that create negative value in your life, do it consciously. Make the decision. Own it. If you do something "bad" for yourself, decide that you love yourself anyway. You are not a bad person. And perhaps you can also do something to offset or positively move you closer to your dreams. When you're ready and the current is strong, you will fly toward that only-imagined realty. You will do and be want you want to be. Just know it takes more than a dream. Taking actions toward that dream will get you there, no matter how small the steps may be. One day it will be yours, and then you can dream for something more.

Cindy Tansin is author of the book Lead With Your Heart and the Rest will Follow. Her expertise is in promoting personal and professional growth, addressing issues of mind, body, spirit, and financial soundness. Follow her at www.cindytansin.com