Creating a purposeful existence

“When love and skill work together, expect a masterpiece,” wrote John Ruskin, the Victorian artist, scientist, poet, environmentalist, and philosopher.

bee on a flower in the nature. macro

All of nature is on call, operating in silence and yet on purpose. The mighty oak was once a little nut that stood its ground. The acorn contains the design for the fully developed oak tree in all its mightiness. Where you find purpose and strong principles, there you find success and balance.

A ship would never sail without a destination. Similarly you can’t find life balance without having a clear objective. When you have purpose, you know where you are going, and you know why you want to go there. You are driven to get there. A sense of purpose creates energy, meaning, gumption, and love. You lose track of time doing things that have a solid purpose. You find enjoyment and make a difference to others.

Finding Life Balance starts with having clarity of purpose — knowing what you want and why you want it. This applies to your work and to your home. Without clarity we are unable to focus. This leads us to do too much – maybe in too many directions – and results in imbalance. Remember, it is not how fast you go or how efficient you are that counts; it’s whether you’re going in the right direction. If you are heading in the wrong direction, even thinking positively will help only temporarily.

Purposeful living enables you to know what’s really important in your life. Focusing on important things in life leads to balance. Focusing on unimportant things wastes time and energy and leads to imbalance.

You should not confuse important things with urgent things. In fact, there is an inverse relationship between what’s urgent and what’s important. What is important is generally not urgent. Things become urgent only if we have neglected to do them. Focusing on urgent things can lead to imbalance. Although many of us are aware of the differences between urgent and important, most of us are unaware of where our time disappears to. Awareness comes from keeping track of how we spend our time.

Benefits to Living a Purposeful Life

“The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work,” commented Richard Bach, author of the best-seller “Jonathan Livingston Seagull.”

When you enjoy your work, you are more efficient and effective, and this helps you achieve Life Balance. When you get involved in the right kind of work, you take a big step toward acquiring a sense of purpose and living a good life. Doing what you love in a conducive environment invites passion and makes it easier to wield your talent with maximum effect. You understand the bigger purpose of your work. You’re like the mason who knows that he is building a cathedral instead of just laying stones.

When you do purposeful work, you feel guided by principles. Your principles are the anchor, providing a source of steadiness amid tumultuous circumstances. If your anchor is bendable, then it will not hold the boat in place properly. In the words of Abraham Lincoln, “Important principles may and must be inflexible.” If principles can be bent, they cannot serve as reliable guides to behaviour.

“A musician must make music, an artist must paint, a poet must write if he is ultimately at peace with himself,” said Abraham Maslow, a 20th-century American psychologist.

Obstacles to living a purposeful Life

Few of us have personal direction early in life. Instead of choosing our own ideal jobs, we let the jobs choose us. Most jobs look great if you don’t really know what you’re looking for. If you haven’t really decided where you want to go in your career, there are too many bewildering paths to take.

Many people seem to follow the same pattern in work or marriage: They leave a job that they’ve found unfulfilling and find the same kind of job next time around. The same applies for people who get divorced: They seem to end up marrying the same kind of person again. They then blame bad fortune and never realize that they simply didn’t reflect long enough or deep enough to decide what sort of work they wanted or what sort of spouse best complemented them.


“Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities,” according to John Maxwell, leadership trainer and author of the book Developing the Leader Within You. “They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”

Here are some ways to overcome obstacles to living a purposeful life at home and at work:

       Have clarity of purpose.

       Have a shared vision.

       Choose wisely to achieve Life Balance.

       Be willing to take risks.

       Eliminate doubt from your life.

       Seek authenticity, not charisma.

       Be transformational, not just transactional.

       Seek intentional congruence.

       Concentrate on being, not on doing.

       Close the gap between where you are and where you want to go.

(Excerpt from the book, ‘Life Balance the Corporate Sufi Way, by Azim Jamal & Nido Qubein)


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