Your purpose isn’t something you find or discover. It’s something you create.
This may sound unsettling because it’s easier for us to believe that we all have some sort of pre-destined purpose or fate. “If only I were able to solve this puzzle that is my life then everything will make sense and my life will magically click into place!” …Right?
The above view purports that life is akin to a journey whereupon your destination (or purpose) is merely finding that perfectly succinct feeling of satisfaction and relief that comes from puzzling together the various random pieces in your life and seeing a beautifully perfect image begin to take form… And boom. There it is! …Purpose!
But life isn’t like that.
Back To Life, Back To Reality
…At least not completely.
When you decide to buy a puzzle, you already know what the final result — the completed puzzle — is going to look like. Because the picture is on the cover of the box! The picture that will ultimately result is probably why you bought that particular puzzle in the first place.
…At least that’s the case for me. (Why would I want to put hours into solving a jigsaw puzzle if I’m not even going to like the end result?)
Life Outside The Box
Life may be like a puzzle in the sense of fishing through the different pieces of your life and finding the ones that fit together, but it’s also a lot harder… because there’s no picture on the “box” that is your life! (And if you think there is, it’s likely that you’re boxing yourself in.)
Okay, great. …How the hell am I going to figure out what to do with my life? There’s so many options, so many different ways to take things… How do I even know where to start?
Ask yourself this: What do you want the “picture” of your life to look like? If you can choose any picture at all, what would it be?
This part is awesome, because you get to use your imagination. It might also feel terrifying, because you have to make some decisions and, quite possibly, take risks.
Risk: The Jigsaw Puzzle of The Game of Life?
Ever notice how many of the world’s most renowned and greatest artists were risk takers? They were risk takers because they broke the patterns of traditional art forms and ventured into new, unknown territory, exploring entirely new ways of creating art.
Historically, these avant-garde artists are often mocked, harshly judged, and ridiculed. But the true artist doesn’t let these nay-sayers bring them down. In fact, it may only serve to strengthen one’s resolve and keep at it.
Others follow, until there’s a whole new artistic movement that has swung into effect. With these new strength in numbers, the masses soon begin to acknowledge the validity of this new way of creating art, and hence begin to take it a little more seriously and earnestly consider the merits of this new form of art — for there are indeed merits. (Then agin, is anything truly without merit?)
In time, a finer knowledge and appreciation for this new art form becomes widespread. It may no longer be considered as avant-garde, but that’s okay… isn’t it? Isn’t that what you wanted as an artist all along? For your creative work to have a real, widespread impact on the world, forever changed and transformed because of you?
Cookie Cutter Paint By Number
If you really have no idea whatsoever what kind of picture you’d like to piece together for yourself, there’s nothing inherently wrong with going the cookie-cutter-paint-by-number route. Just look around and see what other people are doing, and then do the same thing. If doing so yields happiness for you, then great!
But more and more, many members of the human species aren’t finding happiness and fulfillment in doing what their parents did or what other friends and family members are doing. That’s okay too. It just means you’re a black sheep (like me)! Bahh! 😉
Bah Bah Black Sheep (Have You Any Wool?)
Don’t pull the wool over your eyes and pretend you’re happy, satisfied, and fulfilled if you’re not. (You’ll know if you aren’t.) Take pride in your black-sheep-ness! It’s an opportunity for you to transform from Sad Black Sheep to Sexy Avant-Garde Creator!! 😉
So, returning to the previous questions: “How the hell am I going to figure out what to do with my life? … How do I even know where to start?”
If the cookie-cutter-paint-by-number approach isn’t working out for you, then at least you’ve got that ruled out. Knowing what you don’t want is important. It’s a great step in the right direction!
Ain’t Life So Puzzling?
This brings us back to the questions, “What do you want the “picture” of your life to look like? If you can choose any picture at all, what would it be?”
If you have perfection-paralysis or analysis-paralysis like I do, then knowing that you don’t have to paint or piece together just ONE perfect picture in your life will help you tremendously.
Instead, be like any awesomely creative artist: Make lots of sketches! And rough sketches can take no time at all, so don’t worry about wasting time by making lots of them. Draw, paint, create — abundantly! There are no “wrong” creations.
When you create with wild abandon, you’ll soon recognize what types, styles, forms, or themes of art you love working on best. Once you got that figured out… do more of the same!
The Beginning = The End
Just like life, the universe, and everything, the idea behind the puzzle started off as a unified whole. But it wouldn’t be a puzzle if you opened up the box and found there was already a completed picture inside. What fun would that be?
The fun is in putting the pieces back together and figuring it out along the way!
So figure out the pictures you want displayed on the boxes of your life’s puzzle collection. Imagine them. Paint them. Break them up into puzzle-piece steps.
Then, one by one, put the pieces together.
Each completed puzzle is but a piece in the bigger puzzle-picture that is your life. And before you know it, you’ll have created several beautiful life masterpieces.