Sometimes you just need to shift your focus and just do it
Have you ever thought about what the world wants from you, as opposed to what you want to give?
When you think about your life’s purpose, is the focus mainly on what you can supply? Does your purpose stem from what you desire to give, such as sharing music if you like music or coaching people if you like coaching?
Alternatively, do you focus on the demand side, but from a broad perspective? Do you pay attention to what the world needs in general? Do you feel you should be a peacemaker because the world needs peace? Do you feel you should wake people up because the world needs people to wake up? Do you want to be a teacher because the world needs education?
Societal needs or individual needs first?
Consider that the world doesn’t need you to change it. Perhaps the world is fine the way it is.
When I was younger, I’d often interpret my purpose as needing to do something for the world. I needed to give my gifts to the world, or I needed to help the world make some changes, or both. I had to find a worldly need that I could help fulfil.
But, when I tried to act in such a manner, I felt uninspired. The motivation wasn’t there. It looked good on paper though; it seemed noble.
When I’ve enjoyed the most purposeful shifts in my life, and the inspiration was strong, it felt like I was answering a calling. But, it wasn’t a calling to satisfy a need or to share a gift; it was a calling to explore. If the world needed anything from me, it only needed me to help it explore. It didn’t need me to help it solve problems, to heal, or to transform itself.
The world sends us plenty of invitations to go and explore. But we overcomplicate these invitations. We layer the simple process of exploration with extra neediness. We want money. We want relationships. We want fitness.
It’s like being invited to a wedding and stressing yourself out with questions like what am I going to wear, who else will be there, and what gift should I bring. The details will work themselves out in good time. This neediness is inappropriate and misses the point of the event.
Many proclaim: “I need to make money, create a fit body, attract a beautiful relationship, give back to the world, and then maybe when I retire, I’ll spend a little time exploring the things I want to explore.”
But, if we could just explore and stop being needy, we’d find that the road itself is abundant in resources, our bodies are already adequate, and the best relationships flow into our lives when we’re in motion anyway. We gain the prerequisites by not treating them as prerequisites.
Pause and reflect
When you catch yourself layering neediness on top of exploration with endless have-to’s, pause and ask yourself: what type of exploration are you delaying?
When you have all your needs satisfied and you’re ready to begin living without neediness, what will you do then? Why not do that now, and let your needs be satisfied along the way?
When you’re needy, the world seems needy too. If you have needs, then everyone else must have needs, and so the entire world must be a needy place indeed. Your life becomes a bastion of neediness—what you need from yourself, what you need from the world, what people need from you, and what needs are unfulfilled in the world.
But what if this neediness is just an idea? What if you’re projecting neediness throughout your reality unnecessarily?
What if there are no prerequisites? What if you don’t have to do anything else first? What if you could just explore now? What if through the process of exploration, you end up satisfying your needs too? You probably wouldn’t even notice the needs then. They’d be non-issues; you’d be too immersed in the exploration.
When we explore wholeheartedly and stop obsessing over our needs, we answer life’s calling with a simple “Yes” instead of a “Yeah, but. . . .” And life will respond with a “Here you go!” instead of “Okay, we’ll wait till you’re ready.”
Steve Pavlina is a renowned American author and expert on personal development and leadership. He is a strong advocate of “paying it forward” and is delighted to be able to share his insights to help inspire and empower people to realise their own greatness. For more on Steve’s work, visit www.stevepavlina.com. For personal development training, e-mail us at email@example.com. For more Thought of the Week articles, click here.
Reposted with permission on Leaderonomics.com.