My good friend and fellow paisano (a moniker we use among us as alumni of Sacred Heart Seminary in Palo, Leyte), Ray Junia, who is OpinYon’s founding publisher, once confided to me that upon waking up every morning he doesn’t fail to recite the following prayer:
“Lord, help me serve my purpose and let me live my destiny according to thy will.”
That Ray, being an ex-seminarian, has the propensity to invoke God’s will for his life purpose is no surprise. But, it is quite interesting to observe that Ray, who is a veteran topnotch – if not, consummate – public relations (PR) expert, touted as one of the country’s highest paid PR practitioners, has undeniably spent over four decades in the seemingly dog-eat-dog, tricky world of public relations, where the rule of thumb is “image over essence, perception over substance”. Interestingly so, his colourful experience and venturous exploits in the nitty-gritty world of PR practice would surely make a bestseller, perhaps aptly titled, “Confessions of a Restless PR Specialist.”
As a friend and fellow paisano, and despite his professional and material success, Ray is veritably modest, unassuming, generous, and indiscriminating to everyone – with his feet fully grounded on life’s unfading truth, beauty, and reality.
How did Ray arrive at enunciating his soulful prayer every morning? It’s not the subject of this piece. Perhaps, it could be a good topic for a later piece on this column.
Whilst, for now, as this piece’s title suggests, let me try getting on the subject of LIFE PURPOSE.
It has oft been said that a life without a purpose is not worth living. What is LIFE PURPOSE all about? How do we find it?
Whatever the circumstances of our birth, our coming into this world could not have been a mere accident. There is a reason, a meaning, a purpose for our being incarnated into this life. Many of us think of life purpose and meaning in life as the same thing; but they are quite different. In my perspective, meaning in life or a “meaningful life” is broader than a “purposeful life”. A meaningful life is something that we “behold” out of a meaningful experience, while a “purposeful life” is something that we actively commit to or we are “impassioned to do” out of a meaningful reflection. Thus, a purposeful life is a meaningful life.
Purpose can guide our life decisions, influence our behavior, shape our goals, offer us a sense of direction, and creates meaning for our life. Each of us has a unique purpose, just as everyone has different paths to pursue in life.
To find our purpose in life is to see our self-worth or significance through the prism of our individual gifts – which are innate, inherent, and God-given. With these gifts, we can individually contribute something for the greater good of society and the development of human life.
Renowned author and speaker Emily Esfahani Smith nailed it right when she said: “Purpose in life is less about what you want than about what you give, and its key is using your strength to serve others.” When we find our true purpose in life, everything starts to make sense, life becomes meaningful, and there’s always a good reason to wake up every morning.
In what ways can we live a life with a purpose?
Let me share these insightful suggestions or common threads that bind for people who live a life of purpose, culled from Frank Sonnenberg’s book,
“Follow Your Conscience: Make a Difference in Your Life and in the Lives of Others”:
1. Live by your beliefs and values. People who live a life of purpose have core beliefs and values that influence their decisions, shape their day-to-day actions, and determine their short- and long-term priorities. They place significant value on being a person of high integrity and in earning the trust and respect of others.
2. Set priorities. People who live a life of purpose identify those activities that matter most to them and spend the majority of their time and effort in those areas.
3. Follow your passion. People who live a life of purpose wake up each morning eager to face the new day. They pursue their dreams with fervor, put their heart into everything they do, and feel that they’re personally making a difference.
4. Achieve balance. People who live a life of purpose put their heart into their career and into building relationships with friends and family, and at the same time reserve adequate time to satisfy their personal needs. Achieving balance means living up to one’s potential in all facets of life.
5. Feel content. People who live a life of purpose have an inner peace. They’re satisfied with what they have and who they are. To them, the grass is greener on their own side of the fence.
6. Make a difference. People who live a life of purpose make a meaningful difference in someone else’s life. They do things for others without expectation of personal gain, serve as exemplary role models, and gain as much satisfaction witnessing the success of others as witnessing their own.
7. Live in the moment. People who live a life of purpose cherish every moment and seek to live life without regret, taking joy in the experiences that life gives and not worrying about keeping score.
One final point, is purpose a matter only of personal choice and fulfilment? Or has it something to do with God’s will?
Let me adduce an insight. If life purpose is some kind of a “vocation” or calling in life, then it may be presupposed that there is somebody who is calling. God perhaps? I can’t avoid recalling, thus back in my seminary days, the truism: “Many are called, but few are chosen.”
In like manner, if life purpose can be can be considered as some sort of a life mission, then who’s commissioning or sending us on a mission? Again, God perhaps? Indicatively, therefore, it seems plausible that our life purpose is not exclusively or independently of our own will and satisfaction, but has something to do with God’s purpose or will too.
Verily, in sum, my good friend, Ray Junia, cannot be more right when he appended his daily morning prayer with
“Lord...let me live my destiny according to thy will.”