Do What Makes You Come Alive

“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

-Howard Thurman

If I asked you to explain to me the purpose of your life in one sentence, what would you say?

What does that even mean? Life purpose. I’m not talking about your Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or your particular vocation, although they most likely have a lot to do with your life purpose. What I do mean is a one sentence explanation of your underlying focus. If you had one day or seventy years left to live, what would you do with the time? Don’t think too much about it, it does’t need to be complicated, and if it changes tomorrow there will be no judgement from me. I took a lot of time to write this article; it would be a great reward for me if you would take a minute to answer my question in a short, once sentence, comment.

If I answered the question for you, I would say something like, “My purpose in life is to be free and inspire the same hunger for freedom in others”.  A longer conversation might include some of my ideas on freedom (and of course I invite that conversation for anyone who wants to engage in it) but that is not the purpose of what I share today.

I feel like I am at a fork in the road, of sorts. I can continue on this path where I am familiar with the surroundings and the noises of the darkness, or I can choose a new path; one that is different but no less challenging. So many people in our culture seem to me as though they are in a rush to get right to the point, to pursue their long term goal/purpose in an obvious, tangible, explicable manner. It is almost like we are so obsessed with the end-state that we miss the point. I believe now more than ever that it is the alignment that entices the end result we are looking for, outside of our obsession with the object. If I want to be an engaging public speaker, I need to listen. If I want to write, I need to read. If I want to be rich, I need to invest. If I want to fight for freedom, I need to let go.

It is within my own error that I have found compassion. It is in my most challenging and weakest moments that I have tapped into the deepest strength within me. It is in the most lonely moments that I have found the best company. It is my failures that have led me to succeed. If I spent my whole life listening, reading, investing, and letting go; if I never engaged an audience, wrote a book, lived a life of riches, or found freedom, my life would be be better lived in pursuit of those things than not. I have found a deep happiness in living an end-result aligned life; whether or not I reach the end-result is not the point. Is it?

1 Comment

  1. Lynda says:

    “To live, love, laugh, enjoy the journey and do something meaningful….”

    Hope all is well Ashley 🙂



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