Every so often, I catch snippets of Antiques Roadshow while doing cardio at the gym. Of course, the wide variety of antiques featured is truly fascinating.

However, I think the most interesting element of the show is the reaction of an owner when it turns out the item in question is extremely valuable. Sure, there are looks of shock and surprise, but some people actually look like they are suddenly scared of the object!

I think this latter group is horrified in part because they never realized the significance of the item in question. Perhaps some of them believed someone else’s low valuation. In any case, when they get the good news as to their antique’s true value, they suddenly picture all the times they have treated it carelessly.

We often handle our life’s purpose carelessly too.

In continuation from last week, here are several more ways we lose track of our life’s purpose.

Reason #4 – We tend to discount the value of our purpose. You may not have realized it yet, but chances are your life’s purpose resides very near the intersection of opportunity and talent. However, we’re often too quick to brush aside compliments from others regarding things we do well. We tend to think that anything that comes easily to us must come just as easily to others. Obviously, this isn’t true. But the real problem is that this results in a tendency to discount the value of our purpose: If our gifts are ‘nothing’ then how can a purpose that involves using them be meaningful?

Solution: First, acknowledge and embrace your talents. Don’t allow modesty to undermine your life’s purpose. Moses called himself the humblest man on Earth, and that self-ascribed superlative made it into the final draft (Num. 12:3). So, it’s probably ok to admit that you’ve got a few strengths too. Accept the compliments offered by others, and ask them to elaborate where necessary to better understand your talents. Also study the biographies of ‘purposeful’ people. I’m infamous for Wikipedia-ing just about everything, including people. I just love getting the back story! One thing you’ll discover is that ‘purpose’ is a powerful animating force of life!

Reason #5 – We think we’re not ‘good enough’ to pursue our purpose. This misunderstanding comes in several forms. Unfortunately, sometimes the culprit is someone who matters to us. A good friend or family member may express doubt that we possess the innate ability to pursue a dream. Or, a teacher or boss may insist that our pursuit is simply impossible. Alternatively, sometimes we consider our own faults and disqualify ourselves on that basis. Either way, both cater to doubt, and the stronger the muscle of doubt becomes, the less likely you are to resist it.

Solution: Recognize that doubt is always a deception that categorically denies any chance that you might really be good – even great – at something. Your purpose may be nigh impossible for most people, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible for you! Decide not to be disqualified. In addition, having a ‘Personal Board of Directors’ is extremely helpful. Life is full of enough negativity as it is. Surround yourself with positive people who will encourage you and help you take practical steps toward your purpose. They will remind you of who you are when you need it most.

As we’ve discussed, there are a handful of common reasons we lose track of our dreams, fail to identify our passions, and wrestle with feelings of purposelessness. However, there are also practical ways to combat each of these tendencies and prevent life from passing us by, or our assumptions from undermining our aspirations.

I hope these thoughts are helpful. If you think of anything I’ve missed, please share your thoughts below!

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Leave a Comment – Are there other ways that people lose track of their dream or their passion? Are there other helpful ways to find the way back?

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