I once met a young man who didn’t have any goals. He was extremely smart. He picked up new information like a sponge. He was curious. He was always asking me to share new ideas and thinking with him.
He devoured Tim Ferriss’s body of work. Had studied Buddhism growing up. Was busily trying to teach himself both mandarin and how to cook.
Alas, he had no purpose. When I would ask him what his long term goals were, he’d flounder. There was nothing that looking into the future to clarify his vision that excited him.
But that was okay. He was happy.
He was always willing to take onboard feedback because he wanted to learn.
He lived a good life, had a fiance, was close to his family, and was in a job he liked.
As his career develops, I expect that he’ll try a little of this, and a little of that.
He career will develop by curiosity.
One of my favourite Authors, Elizabeth Gilbert is like that.
She wrote New York Times best seller, “The Signature of all things” about a 50 something year old woman who cultivated moss in the 19th century simply by following her curiosity around gardening.
Who knew a book about moss would be a bestseller? No one. Maybe not even Gilbert herself. But it was her curiosity that lead her to study moss, and follow horticultural stories throughout history for her wonderfully pieced historical fiction.
Maybe the young man in my story will one day because famous for something equally obscure.
The point is that not all of us will feel a deep sense of purpose. Some of us will simply live by curiosity and that’s okay.
Our lives can still be meaningful, productive, mindful and happy.
Living on purpose
Others of us will feel a deep sense of purpose. Our blinkered focused on a vision will spur us forward and the most important thing for us is learning to maintain focussed and stay aligned.
We may move into public service, create products that change lives, save actual lives by joining the police, army, paramedics, or becomes doctors.
We may become mothers and fathers, feeling called to grow and nurture a family and community.
Regardless of our vision we have one. It’s almost as if we are our purpose in some cases (e.g. Doctors, Police)
And that’s okay too.
My hypothesis is that these two ways of thinking compliment each others on a scale whereby some of us are far down wide side, and singular focussed. Others may be a little curious and still purposeful and as such have many goals, potentially spreading themselves a little thin at times.
Neither one is better than the other, they are simply traits which make us, us.
Where do you fall on the purpose vs. curiosity scale?
I think I’m a bit of both. I want to help people to be successful, happy and mindful and I’m curious… about so many things.
Let us know how you go,