Burundi is a small country just east of Congo in Africa. Several years ago, a young man was walking through the countryside when he came across a small keeper of elephants. The man had a fence made of what looked like vintage bamboo wrapped around the herd. Within this fence were 10-12 massive elephants; some weighing in at over 10,000 lbs.
Interestingly, these elephants were restrained by a simple rope wrapped around their ankle tied to a metal rod hammered into the ground. It was obvious these elephants could, at any time, break free from their constraints, but for some reason, they did not.
The young man shocked by what he saw, had his translator ask the keeper why these animals do not break away from these mere tethers. His response was, “When they were very young we tied them up with large chains to a 4-foot steel post hammered deep into the ground. It was sturdy and strong enough to keep them from escaping. As they grew older, they became conditioned to believe they could never break free. Today, out of convenience, we simply keep a rope wrapped where the chains once were. We believe they could easily cut these ropes, but they don’t.”
How often do outdated beliefs, practices, and history keep us from breaking the tiny ropes that keep us from our purpose? How often do the patterns from our past, poison our future?
Living a life of purpose is a universal desire. A longing for fullness, color, variety, and depth. But too often we are controlled by our past. With every opportunity, resource, and tool available to escape, we still believe in the strength of that rope.
As I often say to those who follow me, “Today isn’t rehearsal. This is your life. The pace of time is moving rapidly to your final day. A day you cannot control. A day where time stops, and you will only have what you had.”
In my experience, there are three simple elements which make up the vast majority of our physical story. Our work, our relationships, and our location.
But sadly, our culture likes to turn simple solutions into complex problems. We like to over-analyze and reason away the very things that could solve our troubles.
Below, I have outlined what might seem too simple to be considered brilliant; but I disagree. Like me, if you can manage to break free from the limits of your past and live within the answers to these three questions, you’ll find yourself living the life you’ve always wanted.
3 Critical Questions To Confirm Your Purpose
- What are you most passionate about? If your passion is not your profession, you have a problem. We spend the majority of our lives working; and if you dislike your job, you often dislike your life. Sticking with the pattern of college, steady job, retirement, and death typically pulls purpose from the picture.
So what drives you? What work makes you come alive? Maybe you have a dream to start a business, launch a profitable blog, or build a charity. Regardless of what chains you wore as a child, it’s time to break free. We live in a world filled with resources and support to help cut that rope and create that career. The question is, do you believe it?
- Who’s most important to you? Life is only as meaningful as the people who experience it with you. But too often our fears keep us from words to be said and commitments to be made. Instead, we live on as independent entities homesick for relationships we believe we can’t have.
But not anymore. I don’t believe we are victims to life, I believe we are victors. We have a choice, and we have the ability to create the relationships we desire. So who is the one person most important to you? Who makes you better, loves you fully, and brings joy to your life? If you’re on a separate journey from this person, it might be time to reconsider the path you’re on.
- Where is your favorite place on earth? It’s baffling to watch millions of people lay down their dreams for destination and settle for living vicariously through the social media feeds of those brave enough to live. Finding comfort in familiarity is common. But if you have a desire to live on a farm (like our family does), yet you live in a city, it’s time change that. If you hate the cold of the Midwest and fill your home with images of tropical destinations, it’s time to chase that.
Location determines the majority of our activity. And just because you were born one place, does not mean you must die there. Look, in maturity, we must come to the realization that someday isn’t a day and a dream without a plan is merely a wish. If your heart desires a destination in which you believe you can thrive, then it’s time to begin planning. Because even if you can’t move today, you can start making steps to move there in the future.
Bottom line, if you’re working on what you’re passionate about, with the person most important to you, in a place that brings adventure and excitement to your story, then you are living your purpose. Don’t let anyone make it seem more complicated than that. These people are merely individuals still struggling with the conditioning of their history’s chains.
These are big goals that fill big spaces in our lives. It took our family almost three years to begin living within all three of these questions. Three years of difficult decisions, personal sacrifices, and brave moves.
But if you’re on the search for you calling, let us help you. My wife Veronica and I wrote these two powerful books to help others locate their purpose and create the life they want. Discover what you’re meant to do in just 21-days. Click the image below to get your copy.
What’s stopping you from finding your purpose? Was this helpful? Let me know in the comments below.