“You must discover the purpose and the reason you were placed on this earth if you want to be successful”
Does this sound familiar? Have you tried to discover purpose but feel unsuccessful?
Motivational speakers idolise purpose. Religious preachers emphasise on it so much, people feel unsuccessful because they haven’t discovered it. Parents teach their kids that their career, life partner, friends, and decisions all culminate in their purpose.
Well, let me burst your bubble. Everything you have been taught, from the time of birth to this very hour, are LIES.
All it does is to help put this unsurmountable pressure on you that makes you feel like you should achieve something at a particular time.
Nigerian parents are simply the worst at this.
Once you clock 26 or 27 as a lady, they start asking you if you are straight, or start recommending powerful men of God that can pray for you to find a husband. You begin to feel inadequate because you haven’t started doing something that feels like ‘purpose’
Here are 5 major reasons why you can’t discover your purpose:
You Think Your Purpose Is Your Career:
This is one of the biggest reasons why you can’t discover your purpose. You attribute your purpose to a high paying job in a reputable company that pays you seven figures at entry-level, and expect to be worth 5 billion dollars at the end of fifteen years.
That’s why you are miserable because the expectations are unrealistic.
Your job cannot be your purpose because first, man makes constant changes. Even if he doesn’t want to change, the ever-changing dynamics of the human society will force him to (for instance, COVID-19). So, you cannot expect to be in one industry forever. You’ll feel dissatisfied after a while even if you love your job.
Secondly, job successes are measurable. You can measure your job performance when you get a promotion or a raise. But one day, you will have to retire. Your bones will become feeble, and your eyes will grow dim. Your job won’t fend for you then, but you have to keep living. What will be your driving force?
I believe that your purpose is what drives you. Your purpose makes you learn constantly. Your purpose adds value to the other person and makes him/her smile. The number of lives you have touched, and the milestones you have made in this world that have nothing do with your job will become your purpose.
Valuing other people’s opinions over your happiness:
Hmm. You see this one. You see it. This is the greatest problem Nigerians have.
This is also called the “what-will-people-say” syndrome.
People who are dead broke borrow money to organise a lavish wedding and then go home to sip garri. Adults who are heavily in debt borrow money to impress their rich friends and keep up with the Jones’s. Women who barely feed three times a day buy the most expensive dresses because ‘their own can’t be the worse’.
Remember the times in secondary school, right around JAMB exam period. There was hardly any student who didn’t want to study one of these courses: Medicine, Engineering, Law, Nursing, Pharmacy, Accounting, Linguistics and Communication/Mass communication. Any other course was a disgrace to the family.
Apart from the fact that your JAMB scores couldn’t fetch those courses, a lot of people that opted to study medicine can’t stand being in the hospital. A lot of people that opted to study engineering can’t stand going to the site. A lot of people that study law are terrible communicators and are better off studying creative writing.
But because it sounded great in your parent’s ear, you opted for those courses at the detriment of your happiness, and now you do everything to please people.
Any time you feel pressured, ask yourself, “What makes me happy?”
It may be talking about relationships, styling people, teaching children, or any other thing. Once you stop living your life to please other people, your life path will become clearer.
Don’t succumb to parental pressure. I understand the pressure in Nigerian families. Parents pressurise their children so that they can present them as trophies to their counterparts, as prizes for raising them well. But remember that you will left to face the consequences of your actions one day, and your parents will be long gone.
Instant Gratification Delays Purpose Discovery:
This is also in line with point 2 above. It either stems from people’s opinions, or you are just low-key greedy. You can’t sacrifice 15 to 20 years of your life into fulfilling your dreams or contributing to a worthy cause. You’d prefer to compete with rich secondary school or university friends, whose parents have already done the underground work for their success. You need to stop thinking of NOW so that you can achieve a better TOMORROW. People will still respect you at 50.
You have low self-esteem:
You somehow feel that the good things of life are unattainable because you have not learned to look beyond your present condition. This is why I have issues with people who feel that children who get beat up a lot by their parents still turn out well. If you were in those shoes, look at yourself. Are you psychologically stable?
Many people now settle for anything that looks slightly better than what they grew up in, even its unhealthy. Many women find it hard to stay in healthy marriages because they were sexually assaulted as kids. Deep down, they have internalised the ‘MEN ARE SCUM’ mantra and have become very hateful in the name of feminism.
How can you help yourself?
- Seek help.
- Go for therapy.
- Join a support group.
- Speak up
- Take your health and fitness seriously. Read more about it here.
You cannot heal another person if your body is wounded.
You Constantly Resist Your Purpose:
Many people know what they can do to touch lives or make a difference, but they won’t do it to discover purpose. They are master procrastinators and the greatest excuse givers. These people claim to be realistic but pessimistic underneath. They have been poor for so long that generosity doesn’t cross their mind. Unless, they change their view and approach to life, this set of people will keep struggling.
Here are some basic questions to help us discover our life purpose:
- If money wasn’t an option, what will I be doing?
- If this was my last day on earth and the last chance for me to enjoy worldly happiness, what will I do?
- Are there pains I can endure?
- What can I do without being paid?
- What regrets do you not want to have when you’re old?
If you enjoyed reading this, don’t forget to share with your friends and loved ones, and leave a comment below about your childhood experiences and how they have shaped you. We will love to hear from you.