“The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.
– Mark Twain
Most, if not all of us, know when we were born. Registering births started over a century that births have been registered in Nigeria, and around the world, even longer in some countries. Even though there are still some who might not know the day they were born; either because they are so old that there are no records, their birth was recorded using an event, they lived in such a remote place that their birth was not recorded, or there was no responsible parent or guardian to get their birth recorded. Or in the case where there is conflict, records are destroyed. However, by and large, most people tend to know when they were born. Our ‘when’ is pretty much a certainty.
The ‘why’ is usually the problem with most of us. We struggle with why a lot because our why has to be discovered. Several times I wished that my why came with my when… how come my birth certificate didn’t come with a why? Life would be so much easier! Knowing your purpose in life would make life so much easier and straightforward. It would also save so much time. Imagine knowing from when you were little that you were born to be a doctor; everything you do from then on would be geared toward becoming just that. Everything you learned, all your experience would be tailored to help you accomplish becoming a doctor. You would walk in your purpose from day one. You would plan your mission and align your vision and create your networks and nurture your circles of influence to align with your purpose of being a doctor. But fortunately or unfortunately this is not the case.
We stumble and struggle through life, sometimes finding our purpose early, late or not at all, battered and bruised by the vagaries of life. We go down one route thinking our purpose lies there, only to come to a dead-end and realize, we missed a signpost that pointed the way, or discountenanced a person sent to guide us. Sometimes we hijack another person’s purpose hoping it will be a ‘one-size-fits-all’, only to find that no two people have exactly the same purpose. Sometimes, people even have a gut feeling of where they should be, but refuse it because they want to do something else, coming back full circle later in life to where they started out from, full of regrets.
How does one discover their ‘why’; how does one find their purpose? If I knew the answer to this, I would be rich beyond my wildest dreams! I could set up an office guaranteeing 100% effectiveness in finding one’s life purpose after one consultation. I can even imagine the adverts I would put out and the crowds that would come wanting to find out their purpose. It is a conundrum that all people would love to solve early. Given the nature of human beings and our need for personal experiences to shape our perspectives and decisions/choices, we really have to discover our purpose ourselves. No one can help you discover your purpose; that is kind of like someone living your life. The good, the bad, the ugly of your life all combine to show you where you ought to be. No matter how terrible, painful, distasteful or wonderful an experience, if one approaches it as a learning experience, one will be better able to extract the lesson from it and move on ever forward. Sometimes these experiences, especially the bad, may cause us to become so broken that we derail, rebel or desire to end it. Those are all wrong choices. Life is not cherry-flavored, pink, fluffy sweetness; it is filled with the good, the bad and the ugly, each providing us with lessons that make us the wonderful people we become, if we are able to learn.
Perhaps the key reason we need to find our purpose is that it helps us find ourselves. I believe that deeply embedded in one’s life, sits one’s purpose and one’s real self. Finding one’s purpose ends up with finding oneself. How sad it is to never really discover how strong, how competent, how resilient, how resourceful, how patient, how forgiving, how multi-talented or how generous one is? How sad it is to look back and see all the times victory was around the corner? How unfortunate it is to find out that one’s opportunity for greatness was sabotaged by oneself! I pray everyone comes to discover their why and by discovering your why, discover yourself.