Week 1: On Purpose

Week 1: On Purpose

Although it’s relatively soon in my life to be completely certain of my complete purpose in life, I believe that I have found one of my purposes when I was working at a daycare a few years ago – impacting the lives of others. I have always had a desire to help those around me and that is one of my main inspirations to become a doctor. But even more than that I strive to touch the lives of others in ways outside of providing them health care. I hope to travel and meet people whose lives are very different than mine and embrace their cultures and ways of finding happiness. To help this purpose of mine flourish I work every day to keep this goal in mind. My success would be being able to reach out to people all over the world and I keep that with me through all of the work I put in for school and other things.

A common excuse I find myself using is that I’m just “too busy” and that is what I put my procrastination off on. But truly, I have so much time I could be using more wisely and I really need to keep that in mind. Anytime I get off track I need to remind myself that I’m here and I’m here to succeed.

I believe Strecher uses the word “unless” at the end of his talk to remind us that nothing is certain in our lives. He wants us to know that there are going to be many obstacles, but these obstacles are not impossible to overcome. I believe he wants us to know that we can accomplish anything, even when all of the odds are against us.

My question for the group is: do you think we have one sole purpose or do you think life is about discovering the multiple purposes that make each one of us who we are?

14 thoughts on “Week 1: On Purpose

  1. In my opinion, I think we can have more than one purpose in life. As we grow up and our maturity changes, so does our purpose in life. When we are kids, our sole purpose can be to be come the soccer team’s captain or to have straight A’s at the end of the school year. As we age, our view on life changes and so does our view on what a purpose is. We begin to discover ourselves and what we are passionate about and, as it is put in your question, we discover what our purpose or purposes are in life. Every person is unique so instead of one “sole” purpose, I believe that each person can have different numbers of purposes that touch different aspects of their lives. So one might have a purpose that focuses on their career aspirations and personal achievement while having another purpose that focuses on their relationship with their loved ones. Depending on the magnitude of importance and impact on a person’s life, a certain purpose can be called a “sole” purpose and the others can be kind of a “sub-purpose”. For example, I really enjoy helping others and making a change in people’s lives. I also love my family and want to make them as happy and as proud as I can. So I can say that I have two purposes in my life; to impact others’ lives positively and to give back to my family the same way they did to me.
    I may be too young and inexperienced in life to know all about what a purpose is but I do believe that we do not have on sole purpose and rather multiple ones that focus on different things in our lives.

  2. As I am learning, I have come to believe that each person is made up of different colors and for each color a different shade. These colors and shades represent purposes, interests, passions, and values. These colors and shades make people who they are.

    For me, I thought I only had one color and that was the white of a dentist’s jacket since the sixth grade. I always thought that that was my sole purpose, and so I have been chasing this dream ever since. However, as I am growing up, I am realizing that there are so many more options out there in the world. There might be other things that interest me more than dentistry. This is also exactly where the excuses come to play.

    Because I have been chasing my dream for so long that I have planned everything out and have completed this perfect picture of my future, my greatest and most fatal excuse is that I am scared that I will find something better. With that fear comes the fear of doubting my true passion and end up realizing with regret that, “what if dentistry is not for me?” Therefore in order to combat these fears, I am standing up to the “unless,” and being committed to keeping an open mind in college. I am going to combat these excuses by being open and seeing what other things I can do with my life. Ultimately, my true passion (if it is not dentistry) will suit me better. Whatever my passion turns out to be, I can always incorporate my other interests in to that occupation, and branch out from there. In other words, my opportunities are endless, I just have to be brave enough to try.

  3. I think that each of us has a purpose in life but maybe not just “one sole purpose.” Our purpose may change throughout our years and we may find some things more important than other things that we used to find important. For me, my purpose in life has always been to serve others and to make people laugh every now and then. I think that will always be the base of my purpose but that purpose may take me in different directions then from where I planned to go. I also think a person can find multiple purposes in life. As Dr. Strecher pointed out, he had multiple purposes for different facets of his life (work, family, relationships, environment).

  4. I, like you, believe there are many smaller purposes in life that are helpful in finding out one’s true interests, but in the grand scheme of life, I believe there is one true purpose that we are all working towards to find true happiness before the end of our lives. The smaller interests and “purposes” are almost diversions to aid us in finding our one true purpose in life, which I personally have not yet found or am close to finding yet, and I believe these true meanings do not come towards the latter ends of our lives as humans. The smaller sub-purposes are used as a sort of “pit-stop” for happiness while working toward the final purpose we have for true happiness. To continue this to other bloggers, do you agree with my views on sub-purposes and a greater purpose? If so, what are your sub-purposes and maybe even a greater purpose, if you have found it? If not, what are the rest of HSSP’s views on purpose?
    -Anthony Edgar

  5. I agree with everyone else in that I believe we can all have more than just a single purpose in life, and I think that we should. If we only had one purpose, our lives would be extremely monotonous and repetitive. By finding different drives and aspirations, our lives become more fulfilling in my opinion. As students here at Michigan, I assume that all of us have a variety of purposes and also a similar purpose in getting good grades, but that may be some people’s sole purpose in life. This uniform life might be satisfying for a while, but I think that this life driven by only a singular goal would feel lacking at times. But by expanding personal interests through clubs or sports, one might find purpose(s) in their life they would have otherwise never discovered.

    I also completely agree with Di’s comment about realizing there are so many more options in the world. In her case it is dentistry, in mine it is becoming a doctor. Since I was little, I always said I would become a doctor. Little did I know how intense and elaborate the process was to reach that end goal. I’ve started to break away from the rigid mindset I used to have about my future career, and I’ve been working to keep an open mind. And hopefully, this will help me find a purpose I would want to pursue through a career, while also keeping other options open for additional, “sub-purposes”, as Anthony calls them.

  6. I completely agree with the idea that it is too soon to be certain of your purpose. Similar to you, I believe that my purpose is to help people. Like your experiences in the daycare, I had similar feelings while doing two internships for physical therapists and visiting villages Ecuador. The way you aspire to travel and embrace different cultures makes me feel very fortunate to have done just this in countries such as Ecuador, India, and China. All of these experiences have inspired me towards providing health care to people in underserved areas. However, that is just one of many purposes I have within my broad purpose of helping people. Similar to you, I suffer from procrastination but a good way I have found to avoid this is to picture yourself doing what you dream of. For me this might look like providing mosquito tents for children in Africa. I expect there will obstacles along the way but by keeping my purpose in mind I believe I can achieve my purpose. However, I am open to discovering new purposes and believe college provides a great opportunity to do this. By joining various clubs and having new experiences I hope to find new purposes and grow as a person.

  7. Your question truly got me thinking. When you think about yourself there is no one characteristic that makes you who you are. I think the same goes for a purpose in life. To me, you can create your purpose or purposes based on things you are passionate about. In addition to this, it seems that people find their purpose in things that they are good at. For some people this might mean that they love science, they love people, and are good at working with others. This could mean that their purpose in life is to work in the medical field, and use those skills and passions that they have. However, at the same time this person could be an avid golfer, and find that their purpose is to golf everyday. Essentially what I am saying is that there should be no limit on what your purpose in life is. Our lives our so diverse that it may be impossible to find just one purpose. Many purposes make you who you are. My question now is, what other ways can people find their purpose or purposes in life?

  8. To answer your question, I think we defiantly can have more than one purpose in life, and these purposes may change as we get older. I really like how you say: “life is about discovering the multiple purposes that make each one of us who we are”. For instance, I am interested in the healthcare field, and I want to help provide care to the underprivileged groups in the future. That is my career purpose/goal. But as a college student, I also think that my purposes are to find out what I’m passionate about, to learn to be independent, and to make myself and others happy. I hope these purposes will guide my actions throughout my college career, and maybe help me discover new purpose. To do so, I’ll have to explore different opportunities and to embrace changes. And who knows what my purposes will be four years from now?
    Just like you, I also have the tendency to procrastinate. My most used excuses are “I don’t have time for this” and “I’m too busy to do this”. I think these excuses have stopped me from achieving my goals and trying new things. But now I’m in college, I need to remember what my goals and purposes are, to remember why I’m here at U-M.

  9. I completely agree with you concerning purpose. I’ve always wanted to help people and directly impact their lives in a positive way. Just like for you, the route for me has been healthcare. It used to be through becoming a doctor, but recently I’ve had a change of heart. After learning about nursing and seeing how they directly work with patients, I knew that nursing was for me. It’s oftentimes thankless, a lot of work, and a very active profession, but I’m willing to do what has to be done.

    Rather than being “too busy”, I’m not busy enough. I procrastinate like everyone else, but for no real reason. Although I’m motivated to do well, there are times when this motivation simply isn’t present. I need to work on this by sticking to a better-planned schedule and reminding myself of my goal of becoming a nurse more frequently.

    While I do agree with you that Strecher used the phrase “unless” in his speech in order to reflect the uncertainty of life, there’s more to it than that. Because life is uncertain, we as individuals must seize the opportunities available to us, lest they be lost forever.

  10. I personally don’t believe that we each have a “sole purpose”. I think the joy of life is in assigning a purpose to what we find meaning in. I think it’s important that we find this meaning in what we as individuals find fascinating or of value, rather than in what we think others, or society expect of us.

  11. I believe that everyone has more than just one purpose in life. There are so many aspects that make up our lives, such as work, relationships, our own forms of happiness, etc and therefore it is hard to say that there is just one purpose that can encompass all aspects of life. Most people tend to have many different interests and passions and their purpose in life is to fulfill as many of those dreams as they can, meaning that they can have multiple purposes that depend on their interests, passions, and dreams.

  12. I think I serve different purposes in different moments in my life. My purpose in life depends on the circumstances and who I am with. I believe for the most part, my purpose is to use gifts to help or serve someone else. My gifts could be classified as one of my talents, or just one of my positive characteristics. I can maintain my purpose by remembering that life is more than just myself and if someone is need, it is my duty to help that purpose to the best of my ability.

    The most popular excuse I use when it comes to school is that “I still have time to get it done.” I can combat this excuse by reminding myself that time does not stop because I need it to. I can use calendars and planners to have a visual of exactly how fast time goes by when I am not being productive.

    By Larry finishing the talk with “unless”, he is continuing on his message of the talk with making excuses for ourselves. “Unless” shows that when we no longer make excuses or try to blame someone else for our upsets in life, there was always a chance of getting things done. “Unless” is kind of used in place of “in spite of this happening…”.

    I think life is about discovering that make each of us who we are because we are multifaceted people. There is more than one aspect or characteristic that creates who we are. When we only focus on one purpose, we are disregarding or wasting our other characteristics.

  13. The question of purpose in life is an essential question, and it is one that most people find themselves asking themselves at some point in time. Why am I here? It is a hard question for many college-aged students to be asking themselves, especially since many of us don’t know what our passions are yet. If we all have only one purpose, it would be a broad purpose that could be fulfilled in many different ways. I would say that a main purpose of mine is to love others. There are so many different ways that I could be capable in doing this. I do believe that a person can have more than one purpose: each of one’s purposes is specific to an area of their life. For example, one day, when I become a mother, one of my purposes will be to raise and take care of my children. Another one of my purposes might be more career-related. If I were to become a doctor, my purpose would be to give my patients the best treatments and medical care as possible. However, I think we all have one purpose we can take into every area of our lives. My purpose to love others is overriding; it is something I could apply to every part and subsequent purpose in my life.

  14. We would be selling ourselves short if we said that we only have one purpose in life. Our lives will have so many vastly different aspects to them, and we have various purposes within each of those aspects. Some of us will become spouses or parents, and in those parts of our lives, our purpose will be supporting our families. These same people might also become doctors or lawyers, and our purpose in that part of our life will be saving our patients or protecting our clients. As time goes on, our purposes may change or transform, but just as we will always have many different parts of our life, we will always have many different purposes within those parts.

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