How do we truly apply our spirituality on a daily basis? How many of us have been practicing spirituality for years, having intuitions of a higher possibility for ourselves and the planet, and then come out of meditation or the course we happen to be doing and have a dozen bills land on us at the same time, get delayed in traffic before an important meeting, have a telephone conversation with a robotic customer services person who would test the patience of Buddha himself and then feel our inspiration and clarity ebb from us like water through a sieve? Yet at the same time we know that what we experience in those snatches of enlightenment is both compelling and completely authentic. We know that there is a greater possibility for ourselves and the world than the one we see with our worldly eyes. ‘That’s the way things ought to be’ we think. So how then can our highest possibility become our common reality? How can we create the world we would most like to live in?

Ultimately religion, spirituality, coaching, and personal development all harbor one question at their core: What’s your Purpose? In other words how can we develop ourselves for the benefit of the whole? Even personal effectiveness training aimed at improving business performance brings us to the same realization that personal success pales in significance and meaning when compared to collective success. The greater is far greater than the sum of it’s parts.

When we can answer the question “What’s your Purpose?” we become gloriously lucid about what our highest possibility is and how we can apply that in the world. We discover without a doubt what is vitally important to us….. ‘vitally’ meaning ‘full of life’. This is the kind of importance which does not make us grow dutiful and serious but instead raises us to a new level of vitality, focusing and heightening our enthusiasm.

‘What’s your Purpose?’ is to my mind the most important question we could ask ourselves in this lifetime. Simply put it says “if I could measure what is uplifting and important to me on a scale of 1-10, what would score 8,9 or 10 at any stage of my life and regardless of the mood or circumstances I am in. What is eternally true for me?” The moment we understand what that is and put it into action our life changes. We simply begin ‘letting go’ of everything that scores below an 8. We don’t even have to work that hard at the letting go part. Simply by continually buying into our 8,9,10 possibility we stop focusing on what falls below that. It becomes less attractive to us. Once we know that something is 6 out of 10 for us, we start to wonder ‘what’s a 9 then?’ Why would we action a 6 when a 9 is only a question away. So, like a garden, the areas we nourish are the ones that thrive. We need to do some weeding from time to time but generally the garden takes care of itself. Life after all is about ‘living’ rather than ‘managing’.

Try taking the Free Life Purpose Quizz Here and reveal your score:

Purpose is the key to personal fulfillment and meaning. When we know what’s important to us and contribute to the world from that point our lives become more valuable to us and more relevant to the rest of the world. We use our gifts in service of ourselves and others focusing on the highest good. Surely that’s why they are called “gifts”.

Fulfillment always come from ‘giving’ more than ‘getting’ which is why people can have all the cars, houses, possessions and sexual partners in the world and still feel empty inside, continually needing more and more – just have a look at the high street on Saturday afternoon. Giving brings our the best in us. Of course this must include giving to ourselves as well as others otherwise we move into sacrifice creating a vacuum inside us which tends to be filled with some of the most popular unsaviouries of human experience such as anger, bitterness, resentment, frustration, illness etc. So giving in a whole-hearted sense is giving ourselves to life.

There are some extraordinary fringe benefits to embracing our Purpose and dedicating ourselves to the general good in this way…. we move beyond our limitations. Our Purpose is necessarily bigger than us, which means that when we choose to live it we automatically grow beyond the boundaries and ‘safe limits’ we have previously placed about us. Gandhi for example, was terrified of public speaking. As a boy he was so timid that he would run home after school just to avoid talking to people. Addressing an audience made him physically sick. For many of us if there is something which frightens us we avoid it, shaping our lives around our comforts and avoiding the scary bits. Gandhi however, served a Purpose far greater than himself. If he was truly to dedicate himself to ‘the non-violent liberation of people’ he would have to go beyond his fear and set new and ever widening boundaries for himself. And so he did. The testament of his ability to embrace his Purpose over his limitations is that India is now Indian. Purpose helps us understand that we are limitless.

So then, how do we find our Purpose and live it on a daily basis? ‘What’s my Purpose?’ can be a tough question to answer. There are so many variables. ‘Do I look at how I relate to the world from a spiritual perspective, or from the point of view of my career or in terms of my relationship? Or perhaps it’s as a parent? Is my Purpose a goal that I set myself or something that has been mapped out in the cosmos as my destiny? Answering these questions and more is BIG. It goes to the very heart of us…. so perhaps that’s where we need to go to discover what our Purpose is.

Whenever I start to work with an individual or group to discover what their Purpose is, I look at where their greatest values and gifts meet the highest contribution they would like to make. I ask them 7 questions which help them determine their answers through their creative minds. Having worked with upwards of 60,000 people it has become clear that the logical mind creates the greatest blocks to discovering and living our highest potential. It complicates things and disguises essence. Our creative mind on the other hand is always open and ready to play. Sufi master Gul Hasan says “the imagination is the principle and power by which we are given free will to make our destiny”. It’s our key tool and it’s available to everybody. Asking questions in the ‘what if’ zone allows us to move into a possibility we can imagine as opposed to one limited by our experience which may be plagued by doubts and insecurities. The creative mind is free. It sees things as they could be instead of how they have been.

It also takes the pressure off. Asking questions in the ‘what if’ zone means that we don’t have to be right or wrong thereby ending self-judgment and filtering. Even the most stalwart “this-is-the-way-things-have-always-been-done-and-that’s-how-they-should-continue” person pops instantaneously into their imagination with a decent ‘what if’ question. Ultimately when we are living our Purpose we are at the peak of our freedom as human beings. Freedom from doubt, freedom from fear, freedom from limitation. It makes sense therefore to speak to this freest part of ourselves to determine what that Purpose is.

So, the process becomes about aligning our values, talents and giving aspirations around a single point of focus. A few years ago I was shown an amazing 2 minute piece of film describing why geese fly in ‘V’ formation when they travel. It said that as each goose flaps its wings it creates an updraft or lift for the goose that flies behind it dragging it along in its slipstream consequently creating a greater drag throughout the flock. This ‘V’ formation affords them an extra 71% flying range. 71%! They rotate the bird a the front sharing the leadership position and when one goose gets ill or tired two others fly down to rest with it so that they have a minimum of 3, enough to make up a mini ‘v’ and catch up with the rest of the flock later. It’s a perfect model for enlightened living and what do they get for it?.... and endless summer! Developing this blend of cooperation and alignment means that they can fly around the world covering vast distances and generating their own flow. When the weather starts to get a bit chilly in Canada they say “let’s go to Africa! and their ‘V’ formation allows them to get there. When we align our gifts, values and the contribution we would most like to make around a single point of focus which is our Purpose we experience the same 71% inner ‘lift’. We find that we can stay flying longer and go further – we get our geese in order.

Try taking the Free Life Purpose Quizz Here and reveal your score:

The program I have developed is called Purpose | Attitude | Means (P|A|M). Through answering 7 core questions people discover their Purpose for themselves and generate an authentic and incisive conversation with themselves. It has become the core for coaching programs, spiritual development work, business effectiveness and success coaching. However for any growth or development process to work and be sustainable it must become behavioral. So many personal development systems, models and ideals fall simply because we cannot intuitively ‘behave’ them and so they cannot enter into the fabric of our characters. So then, how does this shift happen? Our outlook and Attitude in life determine our day to day behavior. In the second part of the process we develop an Attitude which is both uplifting and helpful to ourselves and others.

Finally we have to develop the Means of putting our Purpose into practice in every area of our lives so that our relationships, work, health, spiritual development and every other area of life becomes a living expression of the most important and fulfilling part of ourselves. Purpose | Attitude | Means is a program which enables people to write their personal manifesto for living according to their highest view of the world.

The program and process is designed to apply to any human being regardless of their background and belief systems. God, spirituality and religion are never mentioned throughout the process. People determine their own answers and responses to questions according to what is profoundly true for them. In so doing, they arrive at a place of inner enquiry which taps into their essence as a human being. Ultimately this means that they come to Peace. Why? because when we live in accordance with our core values and contribute meaningfully to the world with our greatest gifts we are in Integrity with ourselves. That means that we no longer create conflict in the same way. People who move beyond inner conflict are peaceful. Yet ‘peaceful’ does not mean ‘passive’. This is a peace which is active, contributes and is constantly exploring and expanding into, the greater reaches of its potential. We become astronauts with our feet firmly on the ground.

Inevitably those who experience this dynamic inner peace move deeply into a spiritual relationship with life. More often than not, those who see life from a spiritual perspective and who discover their Purpose say that their Purpose is their spirituality applied. However, people who do not view the world from an outwardly spiritual perspective still behave in accordance with their highest values and ideals about the world. They also experience the same levels of inner and dynamic peace. So, in reality, what difference does it make if we see the world spiritually or not? The results – actions driven by higher values – are the same. Therefore…..

Purposeful living and spiritual living are one.

If this is true and a person living in integrity with their higher Purpose is inherently peaceful then what would be the impact on the world of Purposeful groups, Purposeful businesses, Purposeful families and communities? What if our relationships had a Purpose? How would that effect our children? How about if our governments, schools and media all championed a Purpose greater than themselves, what would the world be like? Is that something that says ‘yes’ to us 8,9 or 10 out of 10?

If Purposeful people = Peaceful people, a critical mass of Purposeful people means that we no longer have the need for war. What kind of a planet would we grow if Peace were our baseline foundation? Does that sound like heaven on earth?

Richard Jacobs

Try taking the Free Life Purpose Quizz Here and reveal your score:

©Richard Jacobs 2008

Author's Bio: 

My name is Richard Jacobs. I have had the privilege of coaching over 100,000 people in seminars and workshops. One of these seminars.... probably life's most important question was turned into a book - "What's Your Purpose? Seven Questions to find your answer". I developed a whole system to find and live your Purpose with follow up programs - how to create the Attitude that most makes you sing and the Means to achieve your goals while keeping a smile on your face.
I have been in the self-improvement industry for 16 years and am based in the UK.
My purpose is to generate enlightened living.
All my material is my own. It's unique, refreshing and extremely effective. It works for all age groups and crosses all cultural and religious boundaries. It's also got a sense of humour.