Why You Don’t Need To Know Your Purpose

happiness May 04, 2017

Is your zest for life or passion for work diminishing? Do you feel there is something missing? Are you not sure what your purpose is?

Many people I coach feel stuck and dissatisfied. They know what they don’t want, but they are unsure as to what they do want. Some are paralysed as to what to do next.

What if there was a simple and fun way to navigate yourself to a purposeful life without knowing what your life purpose is? What if you had a way to move quickly to what you want? What if there is a way to bring more enjoyment and fun into your life starting today?

Well, I believe there is and we don’t need to KNOW what our purpose is but we are required to recognise and follow what brings us what I call “smile on!”

Let me explain with an analogy.

A few weeks ago Tor and I watched the movie Grand Torino starring Clint Eastwood. Clint plays Walt Kowalski, a grumpy, tough-minded, unhappy an old man, who can’t get along with either his kids or his Vietnamese neighbours.

As time goes on, he gets to know them and forms a special bond with Thao, a young Vietnamese teenager who’s under pressure from his gang member cousin. I won’t spoil the ending if you haven’t seen it but it’s a tearjerker!

There is a scene in the movie where they are standing in Walt’s garage. The conversation turns to the number of tools Walt has accumulated over the years.

Thao looks around at all the tools hanging up on the tool racks and says, “There is so much shit packed in here!” Walt replies ”Well, every tool has its purpose, everything has a job to do.”

As I watched that scene, the sentence, every tool has a purpose, really got me thinking.

The Little Hammer

Image by Phillip Swinburn

Let's suppose, for this exercise, each of those tools in Walt’s garage has a consciousness and a soul. Each one is a little being!

Firstly, consider what would it feel like to just sit on the tool rack at the back of an old dark garage for weeks and months and not be used for anything?

Worthless, disconnected and restless?

Then, imagine, Walt comes along and picks up the little hammer and uses it to do a small demolition job. The hammer is elated. Being held, being wielded, being used to break up some old plasterboard. At the end of the day, the hammer is beaming!!! He can’t wait until tomorrow. Another day of being used and needed.

In the following days, he is used for some jobs, straightening a piece of metal, breaking a stone in half, knocking a table leg back into place, hitting a spanner to loosen a rusty nut, smashing off an old piece of plumbing piping.

Each time he is used it give him pleasure, but he feels it's not enough, something is missing. He is busy, he feels needed, but there is a lack of fulfilment! Feeling confused the hammer believes it’s more action that’s needed. I just need to do more of the same he thinks. Yes, more breaking, bending, banging and smashing. This is surely the solution to his lack of fulfilment.

You Can’t Get Enough Of What You Don’t Want!

More days are filled with hitting things, but he can’t get enough of what he doesn’t really want. His zest for life begins to diminish. He can’t understand why he is so dissatisfied and stuck. He doesn’t know what to do next!

Then, one day he is used to hit a small picture nail into the wall. Whamo! His little hammer soul lights up. He gets an energy surge that’s different to what he has experienced before. It feels deeper and lasts longer. He feels alive at last. He feels 'smile on!'

He now understands what he was true purpose is. What he has been put on this planet to do. His true purpose is to hit nails. Everything else he hits pales in comparison to hitting a nail. Now he knows what his little hammer soul was searching for all along.

As he gets used more and more to hit nails his little life begins to be filled with joy, energy, passion and purpose. He is now the bright light on the tool rack.

Navigating a Path Towards More Passion and Purpose

Using the analogy of the little hammer, we can navigate our way into a more purposeful existence by paying close attention to what energises us. I call this feeling of aliveness and vitality ‘smile on’ energy.

This feeling of ‘smile on’ is a powerful inner guide that will navigate us to a life that’s filled with more joy, love, vitality and purpose.

Our ‘smile on’ is our wisdom that guides us to where we want to go. The life we love. The life we are meant to live. 

Choices Choices

Life is a constant stream of choices or choice points. Some are big, and some are small. As Tony Robbins says, ” Our life is shaped by the decisions we make.” Once we start to make choices and live our life based on what brings ‘smile on’ we will be guided to more possibility, passion and purpose.

Today, tomorrow and every day start noticing what choices bring you ‘smile on’ energy. As you go through the day keep asking yourself, “Does this choice bring me more smile on?” Or, “Am I more drained and smile off?” Just keep following your ‘smile on’. Whenever it feels energising, follow it. Where does it lead you? Now, what can you see? What’s the next step that’s ‘smile on?’ And the next? And the next? You get the idea!

That feeling that something is missing soon goes away. To boil it down, remember this simple equation:

Smile on energy + Daily action = Purposeful life

The primary goal, to move into a more purposeful life, is to make ‘smile on’ choices. Although this is very simple, it doesn’t mean it’s easy! Still, it’s worth the effort and your life will be profoundly and positively impacted as your true path and purpose unfold before you very eyes!

Each of us is unique. Your ‘smile on’ will lead you to the life you love.

It’s time for you to find your ‘smile on’ and follow it.

I’ll leave you with the wise words of Harold Whitman Thurman:

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go for that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

If you prefer a more visual representation of finding your smile, I made a video on the concept. This video is part 3 of an 8 part video training on how to be happy. 


You can find the full "How to be Happy" playlist on this link: How To Be Happy Video Series

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