A Life of Purpose

Some research released late last year shows that only 13% of employees, sampled from more than 140 countries, are “engaged” in their jobs, invested in or focussed on helping their organisations or work places to improve (1).

It also shows that 63% of people are “not engaged” – or simply unmotivated and unlikely to exert extra effort – whilst the remaining 24% are “actively disengaged” or truly unhappy and unproductive.

This research confirmed for me the reality I have seen in day-to-day life that for many, work is simply a way to earn money to get by, and that life is lived in anticipation of the nights out, the weekends and the yearly holiday. The thing is that it not only causes problems for the companies with decreasing productivity, increasing sick leave and absences from work, but this has a knock-on effect on the country and the world as a whole. The product and services offered by each company is affected by the quality in which the staff works, and this in turn affects the customers. If the businesses that make up a country – in fact, the world – are built on a foundation of 87% of their workers not being engaged, or worse, actively disengaged in their jobs, this has to be having a negative impact on every aspect of our society and life.

This attitude to work also has a personal effect because when you have no real purpose to what you do in life, why get up in the morning? Is it any surprise so many people struggle to sleep, or that so many people are partying and drinking much harder, perhaps to escape everyday life? When we consider the fact that most people will work a 5-day week for the majority of their lives, and therefore, on average, spend about one third or 30% of their life at work (2), could we then look at the rapidly increasing rates of suicide and consider that 87% of people not happy at work could be a contributing factor?

Could this begin as far back as childhood? The way choosing a career is approached is often from the point of view of either money, social standing, as in what is well thought of, what those around you want you to do – or, at the best of times, what you are good at or think you may enjoy. The only problem is that children and teens get so little exposure to the actual working environments they are thinking of entering that, in reality, they haven’t got a clue about what they are going into and what the job looks like on an everyday, routine basis. The education system doesn’t have the support and space to prepare children for real life, both on the purely practical level of:

  • How to get a mortgage
  • Pay taxes
  • Open a bank account

As well as these examples, on a more personal human level:

  • How to respect people
  • How to work in a team without competition, comparison and jealousy
  • How to have a loving relationship and long lasting marriage
  • How to raise children lovingly
  • How to look after and care for yourself, and this list also goes on.
Children are educated to get good grades, to perform and to make the schools look good with high-grade percentages. How are these young people prepared in any way for the real world?

Another factor is that when your career is chosen based on any of the above reasons, it doesn’t give you a purpose, a reason for wanting to do that job that is meaningful, or a sense of what you can bring to the world by doing that job.

Thanks to being a student of Universal Medicine, I have grown up with the support and guidance to connect to and know who I am and, through that knowing, be able to feel and express what strengths and qualities I bring to the world: my love of people, my ability to communicate things very effectively, my initiative, my true teamwork and leadership skills and my innate love and understanding of certain subjects.

Now they might just sound like stuff people write on a CV, but I have felt and seen how those things are a part of me and the way I naturally work. I have been given opportunities to do work experience in all the different work environments I was interested in, to get a real life taste of what I might be doing. And most importantly, the way careers were discussed in my family and with friends was not to do with salary or what would make my mum proud, but about what each line of work brought to the world – be it the amazing work of a lawyer, who represents truth and who can bring a stop moment and a rebalancing to a person who has lost their way and is doing wrong, or a nurse, who can provide the true loving care needed for someone who is sick, or even a cleaner, who lays the groundwork and foundations by cleaning so that the building runs smoothly and everyone else can do their job. No one is more or less important than another, each job bringing something very needed to the world without which the world couldn’t run.

By seeing work from this perspective, and feeling where my strengths would be best expressed, I gain a sense of purpose no matter what I am doing, and it means that I have enjoyed working from a young age and continue to do so. I may have ‘only’ worked in a coffee shop to some, but I recognise the impact I had when I worked there, just by talking to all the people I saw, and being myself, smiling and caring, touching people’s lives and serving a great cup of coffee to go with it. And now, as a receptionist, I have the opportunity to equally express my love of people and also my love of organisation through administration, being the loving first point of contact and also the support to allow the business to run itself smoothly.

Looking at my work in this way gives my life purpose and I don’t live for my days off or my holiday. It actually makes me want to go work, and commit to my job, because I know and appreciate that my presence in that job makes a difference. Can you imagine the potential we would have if we had a whole workforce with the same motivation – not to earn more money or retire early, but a wanting to work to make a positive difference in the world because of the work they do?

By Rebecca Briant, 19, Receptionist and Student of Politics, London, UK

References:

  1. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/on-leadership/wp/2013/10/10/only-13-percent-of-people-worldwide-actually-like-going-to-work/
  2. https://www.reference.com/math/percentage-lives-spent-working-599e3f7fb2c88fca

Related Reading
There is honour in every job
Am I in the right job?
Elegance and Purpose – At Work

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943 thoughts on “A Life of Purpose

  1. I was having a conversation today about a particular career area, and the person I was talking to was telling me that the job is not as glamorous as it may seem – and yet as they described it that seeming struggle or boring or dull aspects faded when I considered the purpose or potential that I could have in that career to do amazing things. I can see that when this is not the foundation, any job can being tedious in time 

  2. Essentially what is missing is that we don’t generally wake with the purpose of being our gorgeous, delicious and amazing selves. That’s our ultimate purpose no matter what we do. And is this not a key foundation to living a loving and joyful life?

    1. Thanks for offering us another understanding of the word purpose that is not solely focused on work. When we delve into the details of purpose we are able to understand the areas that Joshua has shared here of our amazingness. What a great inspiration to wake up each morning and know that your purpose in life is to sharing how amazing, delicate, sensitive, playful and the list goes on and on for each and everyone of us of who we truly are.

  3. “This research confirmed for me the reality I have seen in day-to-day life that for many, work is simply a way to earn money to get by, and that life is lived in anticipation of the nights out, the weekends and the yearly holiday.” The crazy thing about this is that we make life about a tiny part of our entire life. How can we only live for our spare time, time out and vacation time when most of our days involve work, family, friendships, colleagues, daily stuff etc.? This in itself already shows an equation that does not add up. If we do not honour every moment of our life with the same respect and love and care even the moments where we are willing to do so will not have the fullness of enjoyment we wish them to be.

  4. Just going on those stats alone you wouldn’t buy a business or employ anyone would you? It’s a broad cross section from 140 countries. I must say I have 5 businesses and these stats aren’t reflective in our businesses. The reason?, in 2 parts Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine. I am not saying they work in my businesses literally but the way they are and they way they support me goes out and reflects in how I am within my businesses and community. There is a tangible support that takes true care of people if you equally take care of yourself. The balance comes from how you are, the quality you are that then holds naturally everywhere else. I wouldn’t say those stats would be reflective of any business that receives the same support we do.

  5. It is true there is this sense of pointlessness these days with people when it comes to getting up in the morning and going to work. It’s easy to see this with our work colleagues and the lack of interest in the actual work they are employed to do.
    Last year I had two great examples of this where two people, on two separate occasions actually refused to do parts of their jobs, just because they did not want to. What I observed was that the task being asked of them (administrative) was in their job description and was not difficult in any way, or beyond their capabilities. The point was they just did not feel like doing it and refused, and the management said ok – where do you go from here.

  6. What a completely refreshing article on work and how we can be at work. I myself have worked ‘just to pay the bills’ and for that ‘next trip away’, never really considering the service to community that my work has been. I am acutely aware of this nowadays, but also love the fact that work is in fact service and that is the true reward of work. Yes it is always good to get paid, for it is important to be able to live, but it’s not the driving force.

  7. I remember when I was finishing high school we all had a meeting with a career adviser about what jobs or fields of work would be suitable for us, but it never really took into account every student’s true strengths and qualities. It would be great to see a class in schools, that helped students feel supported to enter the workforce from a view point that their awesome natural skills and qualities could be nurtured and supported to bring all of who they are out to the world and from there they could feel what job they truly would like to try. No matter how much money they could earn or the status it may bring, but from the knowing that who they are is a hugely needed quality for our worldwide workforce today.

  8. I love the purpose of working to make a positive difference in the world -I used to look at work as something that killed time and paid the bills. Sure I was super driven, but this was not a true relationship with work and what it brings. Work is a big part of our lives and there is an opportunity here to shift how we perceive working. When I change my approach to work and see it as an amazing potential and purpose for lifetimes to come, then I can never be frustrated or bored or tired of working.

  9. I’m visiting the South of Spain currently and its very interesting to feel the energy of mañana, which means tomorrow, everything seems to be put off for another day. There doesn’t seem to be a life of purpose in the village or surrounding area I’m currently staying in. The energy is heavy, it’s like a blanket that has been thrown over you and weighs you down. And to be honest as beautiful as it is I would not like to live here as you could actually go to sleep and not wake up for hundreds of years.

  10. Purpose comes from not what we do but how we do something. Sweeping floors and cleaning toilets has an equal purpose to child care, being a CEO or a company – purpose is unrelated to what is being performed.

    1. In addition to it being about how we do work, is the why we do the work. The two go hand in hand for me. I clean so it leaves a clear, beautiful and ordered space for myself and other people (why) and to do this I need to move with presence and grace (how).

  11. Having a conversation with someone last night she shared that when she had purpose in her life she felt she could handle life and when she didn’t she felt out of sorts and like life was too much for her. We hold so much wisdom within and when we truly commit to life the richness of life is right there on offer.

  12. I am observing that as I learn to appreciate my qualities and what I bring there is not a need to seek appreciation outside myself. I simply know and if I meet another who tries to bring me down I am not affected and am less likely to react because of the appreciation I have towards myself as part of my foundation I have set in place.

  13. I have more purpose in my life than ever since I stepped into the workforce 5 years ago. The more I commit to work the more purpose I have. The more purpose I have the more I commit to work and to life. With purpose in my life I feel happy and fulfilled in my own life, and I know that I am supporting others to feel happy and fulfilled in theirs. This brings more purpose and more commitment. The more I commit to purpose the more it builds. The more it builds the more joyful I feel.

  14. I remember as a child being able to go to work with Dad during school holidays. I loved it, being his helper in the office, getting to know the people he worked with and also getting a feeling for what work was like and what was needed when we are working. When I go to my local supermarket on the weekend they employ many school students who are in their first job and learning what it’s like to be working, earning money and starting to increase their responsibility for themselves as they become adults in this world. We all have so much to bring and work is one way that we can serve our communities and I have to say that it can be very enjoyable.

  15. Some startling statistics that expose so much… when disconnection is so rampant the illnesses that come from this shutting down are also highlighted and we do know where all these maladies are heading… off the Richter scale.

  16. Could part of the issue so called problem be that we see life and work as two separate things – when in truth they are one and the same.

  17. Work is unavoidable for the most part, and if we truly observe those that can afford not to work, then we see that it is not all that it is cracked up to be. Thus why so many people struggle in retirement. In reality, you should never retire, unless of course forced to by physical or mental injury. But even then, if you really want to, there is always work to be done. Perhaps the most harmonious of all creatures is the bee, a true symbol of hard work, and a most curious creature with a form of intelligence that allows it to read the angles of the world and communicate that fact to other bees. My point is, that you don’t see bees depressed or disengaged. They simply go on about their work without complaint, and the harmony they exude as a result is easily felt. We could very well learn to do the same.

  18. It makes such a difference if we start to make work not about earning money but about the true service we can do in there …and everywhere. This will make us feel vital as we make it about brotherhood and union from which we are part of too.

  19. It is not hard to come to the conclusion that many employees are only there for the money. There are so many sayings that we hear every week; “I hate Mondays”, Wednesday is ‘hump’ day (meaning you have gotten through the first half of the week and closer to having days off again, and “thank god it’s Friday.” There are also the common ‘jokes’ about retiring tomorrow if they have a big win on lotto. Although many people get on with their work and do a ‘good’ job, that underlying energy of not really wanting to be there makes a big difference to the culture of a work team. I am sure I was in this same boat until I attended Universal Medicine presentations and re-discovered there was more to life than travel, holidays and the ‘good’ life. Work to me now is foundational to my way of life, it is where I am purposefully amongst people, which is the real meaning of life.

  20. If your soul purpose is to serve humanity then you will be inspired to do what ever is needed. Purpose is the answer to lack of commitment to life.

  21. It is deeply inspiring to read the commitment you have and the joy you get from expressing that in the world. It is indeed a rarity and thus we live in the sad reality of the repercussion of people not having had the gorgeous and loving support you have… and therefore not living or even knowing their potential.

  22. And even when people feel a kind of purpose when starting their first job you easily see that disappear as the momentum of the companies mostly are having making money as their purpose. This is a very empty approach to life and makes people easily go to giving up on life.

  23. What an eye-opener… especially when one starts to know about energetic responsibility… if 87% of employees are not engaged, and we know where disengagement leads to, then we , and by we I mean humanity, are on a fast track to a train wreck of enormous proportions.

  24. I reckon a life infused with purpose is one of the healthiest ways to live, it really puts into perspective all the little stuff and when you know that you have job to do, you know you have to care for your body and make choices so you are able to fulfil this purpose, it also gives you a greater sense of the bigger picture and that you have a vital role to play in it. I wonder how many mental illnesses could be helped if living a life of purpose was more readily taught.

  25. I chose a job thinking I could hide and make myself small based on a belief that every thing I did meant very little but the truth is that although I am not seen to be doing a lot the job I do lays the foundation for another to go out and work. As I begin to understand and appreciate what I bring and this is indeed work in progress as I let go of the beliefs and ideals my relationship with my work is changing and becoming more meaningful realising the impact I make when I live with purpose towards myself, within the family, on the farm and in all areas of my life.

  26. Understanding the purpose of your role within the company or business you work for, and also as a person in society immediately transforms any job into something that can be enjoyed. Yes … enjoyed! No matter what the job is.

    1. And in appreciating our contribution and value to our workplace and position, our purpose is further ignited and confirmed.

  27. Purpose is key for all work for sure and working as a contractor for different organisations doesn’t mean my role has any less purpose and contribution to the whole.

  28. Great Blog, Rebecca, it makes us think more deeply about work, why we go to work, and questions our true purpose in life. When I was young work was all about getting food on the table and having a good education but this has changed now, food on the table and a good education for most is now a given right and not thought about and so the purpose of work has shifted. For me now my work is about making it about people first, and if I don’t I can feel how the purpose becomes lost, and the day no longer has it’s normal sparkle and the job can then become mundane.

  29. For me it has always been important to enjoy my job, the bonus is getting paid for what you enjoy, however many of my friends have chosen top end jobs, they are exhausted and stressed, the key for me is to bring the quality we live in, to the quality we work in and this gives us a purpose to serve humanity, not making it all about us.

  30. Our poor attitude to work and increasing absenteeism is a product of our discontent with life, withdrawing from our purpose rather than committing in full to all aspects of life and allowing our light to lead the way.

  31. You have raised many important issues to ponder here Rebecca, thank you. What struck me particularly this morning was your message of gaining a sense of purpose no matter what we are doing; a powerful learning indeed.

  32. We offer courses in some very obscure subjects sometimes, just to do an A level or degree. I would like to see courses in life skills (or domestic engineering perhaps) offering things like basic budgeting, food and nutrition, first aid, science of cleaning, growing vegetables, community work, being a carer, relationships and so forth. So people can be an apprentice or student of something they would actually find useful. Maybe there will be a forward thinking college that takes that up one day?

  33. The old education system really needs to be totally overhauled and restructured with the emphasis on love, connection and practicality. My schooling, although a long time ago. was loveless and so much of what I did learn has never really been much use to me. Does life really need to be so serious and competitive making people live only for the weekends or can life, work and play be continuously joyful if that is what we choose.

  34. Working with a sense of purpose makes a huge difference. When there is a sense of purpose we can see the bigger picture behind everything so that no matter what job we are doing the true significance of it is felt.

  35. It is amazing to be aware of the extent to which purpose is ignored in our education system but it makes sense given the fact that most adults do not live with true purpose. How many teachers truly love going to work? The great thing is we all have an ability to connect to purpose if we want to.

  36. The desire to be fully present at work, to be connected with colleagues and customers alike, to be loving as a person at work is at polar opposites to the self-centred desire to make work all about yourself, how much you don’t like it, who wasn’t nice to you, how much you earn, and when is it over. There is much wisdom in this approach.

  37. Lack of purpose and sitting or slouching one’s way through the working day without engagement and focus saps our energy and makes for a very tedious and devitalised existence.

  38. When we work with a sense of purpose our days become filled with a sense of wonderment and deep satisfaction. It is medicine in itself.

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