Week 1 – On Purpose

Week 1 – On Purpose

  1. What do you think your purpose is? How will you find it if you don’t know? How will you maintain or change it if you do know?
  2. What excuses do you use in your life? How can you combat against these excuses and continue to push forward toward your passion?
  3. What do you think Larry means when he finishes his talk with the word “unless?”

Everyone has a different purpose in life that could have been shaped by factors including the ways we were raised when we were younger or how the environment around us may have played a role during our teenage years. My purpose in life is to live life to its fullest and to help others, and while it may differ from that from my peers, I think the best way to find out your purpose is to explore and stay open to new things.

Some of the excuses I find myself using in my life include sayings like “I’ll just do it tomorrow” or “I don’t think I can do it because it’s too hard”- these sayings are just so natural for us to use on a daily basis during instances when we simply try to put off doing something, or just don’t believe in ourselves to accomplish those goals. Even though it’s easier said than done, the easiest way to combat these excuses is just to try. There’s no failure in just trying something out, and who knows, we might be better than we presumably thought we’d be. We can’t let something small discourage us from even attempting to pursue our goals and it’s our jobs as a society to encourage one another to take that step of courage and take action.

When Larry finishes his Ted talk with the word “unless”, he wants to leave his audience with the idea that “unless we change our perspectives/fear of failing” we won’t be able to accomplish all the great things in life such as pursuing our passions or taking chances. In similarity to Brene’s Brown concept in Rising Strong, Smith emphasizes the idea that we (everyone) will fail, and that we will look ridiculous at times, but if we don’t try, we essentially won’t have a successful career.

16 thoughts on “Week 1 – On Purpose

  1. I like your take on this whole situation and how you related it back to “Rising Strong.” I believe that book has so much truth to the power of rising strong and not being afraid of failure. I agree with what you said about the importance of just trying. One of my favorite quotes is from William Edward Hickson and it goes “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” So true and applicable to this subject!

  2. Purpose, as described by Vic Strecher, is the product of values and goals. Therefore, my purpose is to live a happy life, to love, and to pursue my passions. I am studying my favorite thing, sports, at the school of my dream. I am practicing my purpose as I type this comment. But is it that simple? In order to maintain my sense of purpose in life, I will set goals, be passionate, and care about living, not dying. With religion absent from my life and values, caring about living and not dying is vital for my health and sense of purpose. I live in the moment and make sure to make every day happy.

    Excuses are the main ingredient in the recipe for failure. In relationships, friendships, education, and everyday interactions, excuses are utilized. I find myself making excuses in certain relationships with people close to me and luckily, I have grown from those excuses and learned how to better deal with complications. In school, I know that excuses are unacceptable and here at U of M, they are fatal. My passion here, sports management, has created excuses and controversy when people derogatorily question what career I could possibly obtain from an SM degree. I know what I a passionate about, and I am proud of it. I am comfortably confident in myself and my passions. With that being said, I will continue to push through excuses and continue to live my happy, passionate life.

    Larry used the word “unless” to evoke an emotion behind his message that, unless we pursue our passions and goals, we will fail. He is absolutely right. A life without purpose is not worth examining, and a life without passion is not worth living.

    -Grant Floto

  3. I agree with the above sentiments and would like to expand on the first set of questions. Very few people know what their purpose is from the beginning of their lives. All of us have already taken the first step in finding our purpose by becoming part of the HSSP community.

    I’d like to ask this question of other commenters, what else do we as students have access to that will help us find out life purpose?

  4. I agree with your statement above about everyone having a different purpose in life. I believe that our individual purpose comes as a result of the things that we are passionate about. In order to find our passions, like you said, we have to be willing to explore and try new things – especially things that may be out of our comfort zone. It is so easy, as I have experienced in my own life, to give up on things that we think are too difficult. I think that it is crucial to be resilient and push through the things that we find to be difficult in order to become the best we can be. I agree that if we don’t try we won’t have a successful career but I believe that our purposes in life are more than just to have a successful career.

  5. I agree wholeheartedly with your statements, Ivy. I especially agree with your point on our purpose being molded by how we were raised when we were younger, as well as your personal purpose of simply living life to its fullest right now, in an attempt to being open to finding our true purpose in the future. Ambitious learners our age often forget that while building a path forward based on our passion is important, it needs to be decided now, and that there is no room for discovering a new passion that could lead to future success and happiness. This connects to Strecher’s idea of changing what we view as failure, as you mentioned.

    1. My mistake, I made a typo that made an idea I explained confusing. Please read the correct version below:

      I agree wholeheartedly with your statements, Ivy. I especially agree with your point on our purpose being molded by how we were raised when we were younger, as well as your personal purpose of simply living life to its fullest right now, in an attempt to being open to finding our true purpose in the future. Ambitious learners our age often think that while building a path forward based on our passion is important, it needs to be decided now, and that there is no room for discovering a new passion that could lead to future success and happiness. This connects to Strecher’s idea of changing what we view as failure, as you mentioned.

  6. In response to Varun’s question “What else do we as students have access to that will help us find out life purpose?”

    In my opinion, life’s purpose is to find a way to contribute to society while also remaining happy and satisfied with one’s life. For most, this means finding a profession that one is passionate about. I believe U of M provides students with several ways to find that perfect profession. Through speeches and internships/shadowing programs that are available, students can be exposed to many different professions and experience what it would feel like to work in that occupation. Students are also exposed to their peers, who come from different backgrounds and have experiences to share. U of M also encourages their students to take a wide assortment of courses from different fields before picking one to field to major in.

  7. I would agree with many of the comments that you explicated, though I find it interesting that you mention that your purpose is to live life to the fullest and to help others. My inquiry into this very honorable purpose relates to what extent one can live fully. Is there a point in life that an individual can attain maxima in personal achievement, individual betterment, and ultimate satisfaction? I find the notion of living to the fullest based on individual merit to be particularly difficult as our definition of ‘living fully’ may vary among periods in life, situational factors, and individual with whom we interact. I respect and appreciate the sentiments you have expressed in your response to this complex prompt.

  8. I liked how you described purpose as a result of environmental factors. However, I think that purpose is something that is already set. It’s something greater than the environmental factors in the early years of life. Purpose is the preset goal that we have to adventure towards. The environmental factors definitely do play a role in the adventure towards one’s purpose, but purpose is the unknown goal that we have to figure out and then work towards. I do really like when you say there is no failure when trying something out. It almost makes me feel like there is no reason to give excuses because excuses are just a result of the fear of failure. Getting out of my comfort zone could expose me to new things, maybe even my life’s purpose.

  9. Answer to question:
    1)I have no idea what my purpose is. I cannot pretend that I have the slightest idea. I do not think you can find your purpose. I believe it has to find you, and this takes time.
    I use excuses in my math class. “I don’t know the material because I didn’t take calc in high school.” However, this is not a valid excuse. If I cannot pass calc it simply just be beyond my abilities. If I can admit this fact to myself then the excuse becomes an “Oh well, move on” problem rather than an excuse.
    3) Unless means that there is always a chance to start over.
    I find this to be very true in my own life, but what happens when tomorrow becomes today? Growing up my mother always came up for excuses for us. When I was unable to get into an Ivy League school, the excuse was that Imlay City High School was a very low rated school. If I had been lucky enough to go to a more prestigious school I may have been able to gain admittance.

  10. I find myself using some of the same comments or excuses for not doing something(I debated about coming to U of M because I thought it would be too hard). Looking back I have definitely made the right choice and I would not have made that choice had I not had the courage to fail sometimes and learn from those mistakes. I knew that I would not be perfect at everything, but usually we learn more from our failures than from being perfect. I also really liked how Larry Smith ended his Ted Talk because he left it open to the audience to decide if they were going to pursue their passions in order for them to have a great career. I had never thought about failing to have a great career, and I thought that as long as we were happy with our choices, then we were successful and had a great career. But maybe people use the excuse and convince themselves that their lives are really great, when they do not know what else is out there that they could have had, if only they had pushed the boundaries of their comfort zone and tried something new/embarrassing/challenging.

  11. I’ve always believed that purpose is something that you discover. I’ve never felt like I knew my purpose in life. I believe someday I will do something that will change the course of the world. This could be something very simple or very complicated. My purpose could be something like giving someone coffee that makes them realize the solution to their theory. It is the smallest part of our life that creates the largest impact. My excuses are mostly procrastination related. I frequently find myself doing things last minute because I feel I can. I don’t feel any sort of reaction to Larry saying unless because I hated the whole TED talk.

  12. I definitely think that exploring new ideas and opportunities will help people find their purpose in life. How can someone really find something they’re passionate about and create a goal surrounding that topic without exploring the many things the world has to offer? Although many people are going to have different purposes that they feel strongly about, many people will still procrastinate and provide excuses. I agree that it can just be so much easier to not try rather than dealing with the possible embarrassment of failing. This idea relates to Larry Smith’s TEDTalk about why we will fail to have a great career. People give excuses to avoid failing, but these excuses make them fail at achieving the great things they could have done. Ultimately, like you said, it is important to just try and achieve your goals and fulfill your purpose in life. The embarrassment and fear of failing should never stop anyone from doing the thing they are passionate about.

  13. I really agree with you! I spend a lot of time thinking about how people truly are products of their environments. Whether your environment has shown you positive or negative examples, you still were shaped by them. I constantly see myself doing the exact opposite of what my parents do, like our political opinions for example. I agree with you once again on your stance of having an open mind and how that will lead to growth and a more fulfilling life.
    I also find myself using the same excuses and they think can be derived in the fact that many of us have issues with our self-esteem. These are only issues that we can work on with time and like you said, we might even be better than we thought we would be!

  14. Failure is often an aspect that is much discussed and anticipated, but never really appreciated. Often times, failure becomes that learning experiences from which we learn our mistakes and its respective resolutions. But in a deeper light, failure is our humanity. We have failed is why we are so successful. We may have learned to learn from our mistakes, but more importantly, we have learned to make mistakes. We have learned to risk and lose, to anguish and suffer, because in the end, it is what makes us human. I it is what makes us human and succeed. We may have learned from our mistakes, but we have absolutely understood how to make these mistakes.

  15. I think it’s very important that you mentioned that one’s purpose could have been shaped by how they were raised or what environment they grew up in. Some have the privilege of being exposed to a good path in life and have options with what they want to do, while others are involuntarily hidden from life’s opportunities due to socioeconomic status or other uncontrollable factors. This relates in a way to my purpose, of serving others and ameliorating the human condition because I want to serve as an example for young people back in my community, that you can escape the constraints society places on you, find your true purpose, and live it. You’re also right when you list out all the common excuses that prevent us from taking action. Failure is perfectly normal, and even key to growing as a person. The hard part is having a conversation with yourself, not just ignoring that voice that says you can’t do it, but replacing it with confidence that allows you to put yourself out there more, essentially, getting comfortable with vulnerability. Like Larry said, unless you change your perspective on failing, life will pass you right by, and your purpose will go unfulfilled.

    -Seth Garrett

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