Have you ever driven all the way to work only to realize you were on ‘autopilot’ and can’t remember anything you saw or did the whole way there?
Or, missed a turn that seemed to come up out of nowhere because you were distracted?
It’s kind of surreal, isn’t it.
I missed a turn on the way home from work three days ago. It’s an easy mistake in downtown Los Angeles – at least for me…
But the experience got me thinking that life often happens the same way.
There are a handful of common reasons that we lose track of our dreams.
As a result, we can start to feel like our lives lack purpose or we’re pouring a lot of effort into meaningless work. I’ve certainly wrestled with this. If you have too, here are a few thoughts on why we lose track of our life’s purpose and what to do about it:
Reason #1 – We’re not able to recognize ‘purpose’ during formative experiences. Sometimes, we just lack the maturity to see our life’s ‘purpose’ staring us in the face. We’re too young, idealistic, or inexperienced, and therefore we don’t form the illuminating insights into ourselves at the time of the experience. We need a little more ‘life’ under our belt before we’ll have “ears to hear and eyes to see” (Prov. 20:12 NLT). Don’t worry! Your purpose remains – it will wait for you. You may just need to mature before you embrace it.
Solution: Be patient. Allow yourself time to mature as you advance through school, into a career, and into positions of greater responsibility, both personally and professionally. Also, consistently seek out more formative experiences to provide more opportunity for more insight.
Reason #2 – We’re overwhelmed by daily distractions. Let’s face it – modern life is extremely ‘busy.’ Menial distractions are so common place, we don’t even recognize their tyranny. Unless we are extremely intentional, distractions prevent us from having time available to capture the insights we’re already capable of apprehending. As author Jon Acuff says, “When life gets full … your dream is one of the first things to get lost in the fray.”
Solution: We’re never going to ‘have’ time, so we have to ‘make’ it. Prioritize introspective activities like taking time to reflect on your life and journal about your thoughts. Also, be sure to develop a ‘Personal Board of Directors’ that can provide you objective perspective and guidance.
Reason #3 – We play dumb. Sometimes, we recognize certain insights but we don’t like their implications. We realize that we’re passionate about a particular activity, but think it impossible to make a good living at it. Or, maybe we want to do something else – something sexier, more important, or that demands more money. Either way, we choose to ignore the obvious.
Solution: Work up the courage to acknowledge the truth. This can take awhile – it certainly did for me! But here’s something else to think about: Srully Blotnick, an American author and journalist, did a study from 1960 to 1980 of 1,500 business school graduates, tracking their success after graduation based on their career choices. They were separated into two groups: Those who chose to do something for money first and passion second (83%), and those who chose to follow their dreams and then worry about money later (17%). Of the 255 people who prioritized their passion, 100 were millionaires after only 20 years! But, of the 1,245 people who chose to work for money and worry about passion later, there was only 1 millionaire.
I realize that practicality often demands that we prioritize making money to support ourselves. Nonetheless, the implications for acknowledging personal insights are still powerful! Don’t ignore them – they may be the key to your success.
I don’t want this post to get too long, so this seems like a good place to leave things. If these thoughts resonate with you, be sure to tune in next week for part two!
Leave a Comment – Do you feel like you’ve lost track of your life’s purpose? Have you ever felt that way in the past? If so, what advice do you have for others?