Finding your purpose in life: Simple living and discarding all the inessentials




Whether you have come face to face with it already or else haven’t recognised it yet, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you have a purpose in life and at some level you know it for certain. Trust me you do.

I see people who are driven by that unshakeable knowledge of their path, their place in the world and their destination. They have found their purpose. Their eyes are set on that path and its not the outcome – the money, the success, the recognition or whatever it may be – that is their motivation but it’s the excitement of being on the path itself. It’s that compelling future grounded in the rock solid alignment with their purpose in the present. Whatever they do flows effortlessly and with ease. Success and self-realisation are only an unavoidable consequence.

I see many others who plod along their life, fire fighting adversities and struggling to keep pace with an unstoppable stream of events and situations, most of which they feel are difficult or pushing them away from a point in life they would rather be. They feel they are walking uphill or swimming against current. Life feels a constant bombardment of things they have no control over and it is running them past too fast. Their purpose is yet unclear as they wander aimlessly through many disconnected way points. I have seen this very clearly through my own life experience.

Knowing your purpose in life has become the holy grail in personal development literature over the years and for good reason. It is the biggest turning point in anyone’s journey. It’s the one key that opens up many doors and not just in your practical day to day living but in all other aspects of life – relationships, spiritual, emotional and overall wellbeing. Most people ask these questions at least once in their life – “What is my life purpose?” , “What have I come here to do?”, “Does my life have a deeper meaning, a single purpose or a path I need to follow?”. For some it can be a question that takes them on a pursuit to the far reaches of the globe – trying to find the answer in sacred places or in the words of mystics, gurus and sages. The rest simply face it on and off at several points of intersection in their life and at different degrees of acuity.

A more pressing question for most people is “How do I find my purpose in life?”. The question has the inherent assumption that there is a method, technique or something one needs to do or consult to get an answer. And if there isn’t a method, then how is it that some people know their purpose while others do not? What is the key ingredient?

What I am about to tell you may sound counterintuitive but the secret is not a key ingredient but actually a missing one!

In short you do not need to add something to understand your life purpose but you need to shed off some inessential stuff away – you need to simplify. The truth is very simple :) You do not know your life purpose not because you do not have one or you need a special ability or insight to know it but because it is hidden away under layers of stuff which do not belong to you and have accumulated over the years. Let me explain.

As social creatures we are all to some extent living out ready made templates laid down to us by society. They are not ours. They are not genuine or authentic. What do I mean by ready-made templates? Simplistically speaking a template might look like – do the cool or mindless stuff teenagers typically do, then get in a steady relationship in your 20s, graduate from college, find a steady job, buy a house, get married, have kids, buy a bigger house, be the envy of the neighbourhood, achieve recognition or status of some sort and so on. These are pre-installed programs of what we should do or achieve. There are many of them for us to pick and activate.

These programs are mainly run by peer groups, institutions and the media, propagating and reinforcing them in us as we grow older. Through the years, we accumulate more code through which the program can work and grow. Quite purposefully, in my online course The Art of Simplicity I explain two important key points in separate lectures. One is about how society has blurred the distinction between needs and wants and have sold us wants as needs. The other powerful point is identifying those mental barriers to a simpler, more authentic life and how to practice overcoming them. These mental barriers make up the core framework upon which the social templates are built.

The point about needs and wants is an important one. In the modern day society we actually have a small number of needs but a massive list of wants. The hyper-consumeristic culture has led us to believe, under a heavy spell of mass media, that our wants are actually needs. You need this or that to look hip, be awesome, be approved and looked upon by your peers. We were gradually lured in a fabricated social reality and made to believe it is our own.

Pay attention: This has created the confusion over your true purpose in life.

You may feel good for a while when you live out the social templates and tick off the boxes of the goals setup for you by society: I got married – tick. I got a job and am paying off my mortgage – tick. I settled financially and have a better than average income amongst my friends – tick. I am living with the trends and accepted by my peers – tick. What we don’t realise is that these are not our goals or milestones but ones which were modelled by others for us to follow in order to feel accepted. Throughout life, people keep on picking up more and more of these models to follow. They start building up the metaphorical layers of the onion. Yet the thing is that no matter how many of those tick boxes are ticked off, it says nothing about your true purpose or rather the more tick boxes you have to tick the more your true life purpose is buried under the onion layers.

So back to the key point. Those people who know their life purpose and follow it faithfully have nothing more or better than you. They just can’t care less of those tick boxes and have peeled off the onion layers to get to the core of their truest life aspirations. They have simplified their life and shed off all the inessential items – mainly those templates society has made us believe that we need or must follow. In other words simplicity is the real key to finding and living out your authentic life purpose. It’s such a simple truth that I feel almost flabbergasted at the idea that I haven’t seen this clearly earlier in my life. It’s such a simple truth that I am now compelled to convey this knowledge to others – through my writing and an online course I have created purposefully for this.

I have created online lectures in a course titled The art of Simplicity. Through this course, I am committed to teach people how to simplify all aspects of their lives and shed off those inessential things we have accumulated through time. They are straightforward lessons on how to peel off the onion layers of our lives which are keeping us from seeing more clearly who we are and what is our true life purpose. The course gives practical tips on how to simplify our day to day living at home, work, business, relationships and parenting. It gets down to step-by-step instructions on for example how to declutter our living spaces, manage time and information, how to simplify and make our relationships more meaningful and how to make parenting simpler and more effective.

More importantly however it gives a powerful insight into those mental blockers that are holding us back from seeing and following our life purpose and practices to overcome them. If I had to ask you “are you free to do and follow the things you are passionate about?”, “are you in a point in life where everything flows easily because you are doing that one thing you know you should be doing?”, “are you in a point in life in which whatever practical obstacles come your way are either irrelevant or overcome easily?”. If the answer is yes to all those questions, then my friend you are blessed with knowing and living your life purpose. There is no other explanation for it. If the answer is no then I have some very good news for you – It is there waiting for you to be found by simplifying your life and returning to your true bare life essentials.




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Article by: Gilbert Ross