What is my purpose?

Dear Lisa,

I resonate pretty strongly with the opinions and philosophy that you express here on your site. I love that the first priority of the masculine is to focus on his purpose, but I have a question: how do I figure out what my purpose is?!

–Wandering, But Not Lost (♂ )


Dear Wandering, But Not Lost,

This is a great question and many men struggle with it. I’ll begin with the mindset of purpose. Imagine that you are three men: The lover, the father and the backpacker. The lover is the man you are with your feminine counterpart; protective, sexual, strong, stable. The father is the nurturer; patient and responsible. The backpacker is the man for himself, instinctive, intuitive and living on his edge. Each of these men must have an equal footing in the world, just as a three legged stool must have equal strength in each leg to be effective. The backpacker is where the purpose lies in you. How connected are you to him?
Now, lets talk about what purpose isn’t. Your purpose isn’t an end goal. There is no singular uber fulfilling thing to be discovered that will be your task for the rest of eternity on this planet; purpose is something that evolves. David Deida describes the purpose and meaning of the masculine in his book ‘The Way of the Superior Man’ as peeling back the never ending layers of an onion; the shedding of each one getting you progressively closer to the core of purpose. But what’s interesting about an onion, is that there isn’t something hiding in there for us to find, just more onion. Nebulous right? The reason that purpose is easiest to define in what it isn’t, is that it is something different for every man and every woman. The one way I have heard it described in what it IS, is that it IS the thing you can’t help but do. Of course that came from a buddhist mentor.

All this being said, it is not really about the philosophy or theory of purpose, what books you are reading, or personal development courses you are taking, but what you are doing to develop your relationship with purpose. It is analagous to the famous cure for writers block: it doesn’t matter which pen you use, or how your desk is oriented to the window. It only matters that you write.

So, I suggest that you set time aside each day (a half hour to an hour) to focus on your purpose. Find a place where you can undisturbed by the outside world and do something that allows your brain to have its own thoughts, such as walking or simple movements. Some people like to get out in nature, others set out on the golf course and still others run circles on the track. Then, let your mind wander through the question of purpose – no thinking of to do lists or work or women, but do not make this a task, or something that needs to be checked off by the end of the allotted time.

Now, the key to getting down to your purpose. Ask yourself what it is you have to do next to zero in on your current layer of purpose. Do what comes to your mind, no matter how silly or inconsequential it seems. If your mind says eat granola for breakfast, then buy some granola; go out in a boat next time, then find a boat and go; plan a solo camping trip, then plan one. It is essential that this instinctive, intuitive part of your mind that you have told to focus on your purpose learns that you will trust what it says. The more you give the backpacker space in your day and trust him, the more you will feel in relationship with your purpose.

Let me know how it goes,

– Lisa



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