“Your mission in life,” taught the Buddha, “is to find your mission in life and then to give your whole heart and soul to it.”
You were beamed to earth, “trailing clouds of glory,” for a purpose.
You have something noble and profound to accomplish. None other can take your place.
“Let your light shine,” commanded Jesus.
Your unfulfilled mission is a gaping black hole of squandered potential. Statues will be erected to honor your name when you fulfill your mission.
The challenge is that finding mission in the first place is usually tougher than actually living mission.
How many times have you asked God in desperation what to do, while telling Him you’ll do whatever He asks if He just shows you the way?
I can’t speak for you, but for me His answer is almost always, “You think I’d make it that easy for you?” spoken with a sly grin and a hearty chuckle.
Thanks to His calculated evasiveness, I’ve had to uncover my own clues revealing my mission.
I’m certain that the two greatest clues I’ve unearthed are universal.
You can know with conviction that you’ve been shown the path to mission by:
- What upsets and angers you about society.
- What you fear the most.
Fix What Angers You
Reading the backs of cereal boxes chaps my hide.
The bland and insipid clichés make me want to strangle each and every obtuse member of the bureaucratic corporate committee who had a hand in castrating the message.
You undoubtedly find it silly that I would even mention something so trivial.
But I’m a writer. I notice things like that. In fact, I can’t not notice them. It’s tattooed into my DNA. It’s my mission to convey meaning, pierce minds, transform hearts.
You can’t help but notice and be angered by certain things, too. Things that other people are clueless about. Things far more important than cereal box ads.
Go fix them; it’s your mission to do so. Leap from the couch. Yank the TV cord from the wall. Flee from Facebook. Go. Fix. Them.
As Michael Strong wrote in Be the Solution: How Entrepreneurs and Conscious Capitalists Can Solve All the World’s Problems:
…we welcome dissatisfaction as the source of craving for the good. But we never accept whining or criticizing of others or critiques of society.
“If you don’t like it, go fix it, go create a world, a community, a subculture in which your ideals can be instantiated, realized, in which you can show us what your vision of beauty and nobility looks like.
“Create a new social reality, so that I can see your dreams come true. I want to see a world in which billions of dreams are coming true constantly.
“Criticize by creating.”
Trust & Follow Your Fear
In The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Steven Pressfield writes:
Are you paralyzed by fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator.
“Fear tells us what we have to do…The more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.
“Resistance is experienced as fear; the degree of fear equates to the strength of the Resistance. Therefore the more fear we feel about a specific enterprise, the more certain we can be that that enterprise is important to us and to the growth of our soul.
“That’s why we feel so much Resistance. If it meant nothing to us, there’d be no Resistance.”
Seth Godin concurs:
…if you’re afraid of something, of putting yourself out there, of creating a kind of connection or a promise, that’s a clue that you’re on the right track. Go, do that.”
I was scared poopless of the idea of Life Manifestos.
Afraid of flushing time, money, and effort down the drain. Worried sick about launching an uncertain venture then screaming to the earth in a fiery ball of failure. Terrified that my precious pearls would be nothing more than scorned fodder for oblivious swine. Intimidated by the awesome challenge of cramming libraries of wisdom into 150-word manifestos.
So I did it.
Because I knew that fear was the call of mission.
What are you desperately afraid of?
I’m not talking about primal fears like snakes and heights.
I’m talking about those intuitions screaming from your soul that you’ve slammed into a box, locked tightly, buried deeply.
I’m talking about every great idea you’ve ever had that you’ve talked yourself out of because the prospect of failure paralyzed you.
I’m talking about those venomous butterflies swarming in your gut every time you think of doing ____________.
Those fears are a laser pinpointing the exact source and nature of your mission. They are not the storm; they are the lighthouse.
Set your course to point straight at them. Man your rudder, adjust your sails. Square your shoulders. Grit your teeth. Strap on a diaper if necessary.
Bellow “Banzai!” and kamikaze through them.
You won’t die. You’ll come alive for the first time. The universe will shift. And you will know what you were born to do.
No more armchair criticizing. No more fearful paralysis. No more fumbling in the dark groping for mission.
Follow the clues of what angers you and what scares you. And through darkness and confusion will burst the brilliant light of mission.