Life On Purpose Institute, Inc.
What Shapes Your Life Before You Know Your True Purpose?
by Dr. W. Bradford Swift Founder, Life On Purpose Institute Life On Purpose Certified Coach http://www.lifeonpurpose.com firstname.lastname@example.org
© 2011 W. Bradford Swift and Porpoise Publishing, All rights reserved. Visit Life On Purpose Institute’s web site for free yet valuable resources: http://www.lifeonpurpose.com. This report may NOT be freely distributed or included into other publications without written permission. For discounts on multiple copies contact Life On Purpose Institute at email@example.com.
What Shapes Your Life Before You Know Your True Purpose?
At the end of the chapter called “The Basic Elements of an Empowering and Enduring Life Purpose,” I asked you to consider the following basic premise: Your life is always being shaped by something. There’s never a time when it is not being shaped and molded by something. However, since most people aren’t clear what their life purpose is, it’s unlikely that it’s your life purpose shaping your life. I then asked you to ponder this question. “If your life is always being shaped by something, what shapes your life when you aren’t clear what your life purpose is?” I also suggested that you go back to your formative childhood years to see what influences shaped your life as you were growing up. Ponder this for a while and you will realize there are many different factors that shape a person’s life. Many of them take effect in those early, formative years. If you haven’t answered this question thoroughly in writing yet, take a moment now to do so before proceeding (After all, a sign of a coachable player is one who does the assignment thoroughly). Here are a few memory joggers to get you started: • Think about your parents and their influence on your life. How about other role models such as older siblings, teachers, relatives, ministers and Sunday school teachers. • Where were you born and raised? What country and part of the country we were raised in has a great impact on our life as well. • What was the socio-economic level of your family? • Was your family religious, anti-religion, or agnostic? • In what era were you born? Certainly, those who were raised during the Great Depression were greatly influenced by it, as were many of us who had parents raised during this challenging time. With these ideas in mind answer the question: “If your life is always being shaped by something, what shapes your life when you aren’t clear what your life purpose is?”
Your Inherited Purpose
We could go on making a laundry list of factors that affect and shape our lives, but you get the point. Our lives are shaped by many factors that, for the most part, we had
little or no say about. For the purpose of this discussion, we’ll call the accumulative effect of these factors your “inherited purpose.” Now, here’s the next piece to consider. Just like we each have a unique “true purpose” in life, we also have a unique inherited purpose. But before looking at what your particular inherited purpose is, we’ll examine some of the characteristics of an inherited purpose that are consistent for everyone. Your inherited purpose: • Is based in fear, in a need to survive. It’s what life fabricates for you so you’re able to make it in the world. • Leaves you with a sense of “Is that all there is to life?” When your life is shaped by your inherited purpose, you’re left fundamentally unsatisfied and unfulfilled, although this feeling may be masked by the next characteristic. If the inherited purpose had a theme song it might be the Rolling Stones', “I Can’t Get No Satisfaction.” • Is a “background phenomenon.” In other words, it is so much a part of whom you consider yourselves to be that it is transparent. Your inherited purpose is like water is to a fish. Fish don’t think about the fact that they’re swimming in water because that’s all they’ve ever known. Fish don’t recognize water until you distinguish it for them by taking them out of it. The same is true of your inherited purpose. Because of this background phenomenon, your inherited purpose has a tremendous influence on your life. It’s like a Master Puppeteer above the stage of life. You move through life not even realizing that you’re a puppet on a stage. You’re thinking you’re completely free in your life to come and go and do as you please. Meanwhile, your strings are being pulled by your inherited purpose. It’s this transparent nature that gives your inherited purpose so much shaping power in your live. • Is the default mechanism of a human being. It is what runs the show whenever you are on automatic or whenever you are not clear what your true purpose is. Even after you become clear about your true purpose, your inherited purpose waits in the wing for the moment when you are not causing life to happen. You never have to worry about waking up some morning and not knowing who you are or what’s shaping your life. Your inherited purpose will be right there. One of the most important aspects of the Life On Purpose Process is to unveil what your particular inherited purpose is. Here’s why. The more you can bring your inherited purpose from the background of your consciousness to the foreground, the less shaping power it has over your life. Next, we’ll learn what this old man behind the curtain has to do with your further distinguishing your inherited purpose.
A decorated container filled with candy and toys suspended from a height, intended to be broken by blindfolded children with sticks, and used as part of Christmas and birthday celebrations in certain LatinAmerican countries or at children's parties.
"The human mind is like a piñata. When it breaks open, there's a lot of surprises inside. Once you get the piñata perspective, you see that losing your mind can be a peak experience." ~Jane Wagner~ from The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe
Pulling the Curtain on the Wizard of Your Past
The movie The Wizard of Oz offers another way to view your inherited purpose. The Wizard had a tremendous influence on Dorothy and her friends. He sent them all over Oz in search of the witch’s broom so that Dorothy could return to Kansas. Eventually, though, the Wizard lost his power over them. Do you remember what happened? Toto, Dorothy’s little dog pulled back the curtain and revealed that there was no Great and Mighty Oz, only a little old man with a bunch of smoke and mirrors. Like Toto, the Life On Purpose Process pulls back the curtain and unveils the forces that have been shaping your life. Through a powerful exercise entitled “Pulling the Curtain On the Wizard of Your Past,” you will identify your own inherited purpose. As you identify your inherited purpose, you will bring it from the background of your consciousness, where it has been quietly yet powerfully shaping your life, to the foreground. When this happens, you will then begin to have choice about whether to let it continue to shape your life or to allow something else like your true purpose to become the primary shaping force. Just as we all have a unique true purpose in life, we all have a unique inherited purpose as well. Identifying your inherited purpose is almost as important as clarifying your true life purpose. If you don’t identify it, your inherited purpose will continue to run the show quietly in the background even after you’ve clarified your true purpose. It can act like a saboteur, foiling your every attempt to live true to your life purpose.
NOTE: This report was excerpted from Life On Purpose: Six Passages to an Inspired Life, an award winning finalist in the Self-Help: Motivational division of the Best Books 2007 Awards sponsored by USA News, available online at: http://lifeonpurpose.com/books