As Henry David Thoreau famously said, “The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation.” He was explaining how most people are slaves to their work and to those who employ them. They become resigned to this state of affairs which Thoreau called “confirmed desperation.”

This rather bleak outlook does bear consideration. Thoreau made this statement in 1854, but a survey in 2005 by research company Harris Interactive showed that only 20% of working Americans are passionate about what they do for a living. That’s only one in every 5 Americans, and I’m sure we’re not alone. Why is it that people continue to spend their days doing work that drains the life out of them? What stops them from pursuing their passions and highest purpose in life?

This is the first in a series addressing this question. I’ve identified five areas that people give as reasons for staying with the status quo rather than reaching for their dreams. Look for the rest of the series in my blog, Deliberate Creator’s Corner, every Friday. I’ll be offering solutions to these obstacles, so as you read, see if any of the descriptions apply to you.

The five areas that stop people are:
1. Lack of clarity on what they are passionate about or what is meaningful to them
2. Time/lack of commitment
3. Money
4. Fears about failure or what others might think
5. Beliefs, conscious and subconscious, that don’t serve them

So, let’s start with lack of clarity. I get it. I’ve been there. It may seem odd that someone doesn’t know what they care about, but it happens often. When the focus is on getting through each day, meeting the obligations and expectations of a boss, children, spouse and other family and friends, people often push their own needs and desires to the back of their awareness. It’s easy to loose touch with yourself. You can continue for some years, ignoring the signs and signals that a change needs to happen. When you finally confront it due to a crisis, such as job loss, illness, or simply realizing you are deeply unhappy, you can find yourself in what feels like a void. You feel at a loss and directionless. If you aren’t clear about what you want, you can’t get what you want.

The solution is to embrace the void as a time to explore what matters to you. The whole point and purpose of life is to enjoy it! When you are struggling and pushing yourself through each day, you are out of your flow not living according to your highest purpose.

Allow yourself some undisturbed quiet time for self-reflection, even if it means leaving the house to ensure it. Relax and think about your ideal life. What would it look like? Don’t try to figure out how it can happen, just focus on what would bring you joy. It may be slow getting started, but once you get going, more ideas will start to flow.

Think of things you love to do. What would you do even if you didn’t get paid for it? What kind of people do you like to be around? What kind of environment do you like to be in? Think back to childhood dreams, or to something you’ve been wanting to do but have put off.

What are your talents and abilities? What do you do that makes you loose track of time? What do people compliment you on?

Use your answers to create a picture of your ideal life. What you love to do and are good at is your purpose.

You deserve to live a life of joy, doing things that are fun and fulfilling.

Author's Bio: 

Known as America's Life Purpose Coach™, Estra Roell is a certified Law of Attraction Life Coach and PSYCH-K® facilitator. Her passion is in helping people gain clarity on their passions and purpose and empowering them to move into inspired action to reach their goals using a variety of powerful processes.

Estra is a host on Blogtalk Radio's Coach Café and is a co-author of the books, "101 Great Ways to Enhance Your Career" and "How to Create a Rich, Successful and Fulfilling Life: Dynamic Tools for Overcoming Obstacles and Creating Rapid Transformation." She is also the creator of an online coaching program, "Living on Purpose: 12 Steps to Loving Monday Morning."

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