I just opened the pages of a new book, Run with the Horses, by Eurene H. Peterson, and by just opened the pages, I mean I’m 5 pages in. Still, the opening of the book along with a soundbite from Ben Shapiro the Joe Rogan Experience Podcast brought this article about. (read: 15 steps to become a better man)
We do have a crisis of purpose in a couple ways. We have masses of people who have no purpose whatsoever, who wander through the days in a monotonous existence merely playing a part and not really living nor striving toward something, and then we have another massive group who have the wrong purpose and the wrong idea of purpose altogether. (read: How to Be a Great Man)
Forgive me because I can’t remember the book or the exact number, but kids today cite ‘fame’ as their mission in life at about 80%, where it was maybe 5-10% in the 60’s or 50’s.
I saw “we” because I struggle with purpose as well, and I’m a driven guy. I work between 9-12 hours a day up to 6 days a week. I have an idea of what I’m building, why I’m building it, who I’m building it for, who I’m here to serve, and what I’m here to do. At the very least I know that people sacrificed a lot to give me an opportunity at life, let alone a successful one, and many of whom I don’t know or know how they did it.
On my Mom’s side her dad brought his family over from Italy after the Second World War. Her mom, my Nonna, a saint of a woman who recently passed, fought off a Nazi to save my mom’s life when she was less than a year old, and they raised a great woman in the process.
My Dad’s side, his old man worked 3 jobs to raise his kids and I got a great dad out of it.
There are others, the soldiers that fought for my freedom whom I’ll never meet, the leaders who created a capitalistic and free society that I benefit from and so on.
I get that being here is a gift, and one that’s paid back by improving daily, by being good to others, by being as successful as I can be in whatever realm I’m in. (read: Life Sucks. How to Make it Suck Less.)
Purpose goes deeper though, it’s a matter of deep meaning that most lack. I can’t comprehend meaning without faith, but for this article we’ll have to.
We are facing a crisis of purpose, where fame and entitlement are rampant, and it needs to change.
This being a site for men, it’s truly up to us to take the lead on this.
Purpose and responsibility are tightly intertwined. Yet, men by the millions buck their responsibilities, leaving others to pick up after them, care for them, and coddle them.
Men are leaders. A man isn’t born, he’s created. A society that doesn’t teach manhood because the fathers and grandfathers were never around will be robbed of leaders, possibly for generations, maybe even for forever.
When you have a family, a thing that almost every man should have, that becomes a large part of your purpose, but men are avoiding that responsibility because responsibility is difficult, it’s tough, stressful, and it makes life far more difficult.
Your Purpose is Not Fame
This survey from Bankrate found 28 percent of Americans who earn less than $30,000 a year play the lottery at least once a week. That is, those that need it most throw their money away. Instead of working and saving and investing, they discard it, burn it on a dream rather than on things that are under their control.
Fame is fickle, it’s also not under your control.
Yet fame is at the height of our society. It’s not the good men who get acclaim, but the weak, the soft, those who pretend for a living that become famous.
No matter what society’s values are, yours have to be based on truth and reality and an understanding of what’s actually important.
The book I mentioned earlier opens with a quote from William McNamara:
“My grievance with contemporary society is with its decrepitude. There are few towering pleasures to allure me, almost no beauty to bewitch me, nothing erotic to arouse me, no intellectual circles or positions to challenge or provoke me, no burgeoning philosophies or theologies and no new art to catch my attention or engage my mind, no arousing political, social, or religious movements to stimulate or excite me. There are no free men to lead me. No saints to inspire me. No sinners sinful enough to either impress me or share my plight. No one human enough to validate the “going” lifestyle. It is hard to linger in that dull world without being dulled.”
There are few men. “There are no free men to lead me. No saints to inspire me… It is hard to linger in that dull world without being dulled.”
We’re all in this dull world being dulled by things that aren’t real. Fame isn’t real. Relationships, today, are often merely surface level or not personal at all existing only online. (read: to be great you have to be a little weird)
Struggle Reveals Purpose
Dark, tough, hairy situations are avoided today. Instead of facing down evil or coming face to face with our own mortality, we live a dull life that slowly grinds us down.
The answer isn’t necessarily easy, nor should it be, and it’s not always simple, but starting it is.
The answer is more.
Accept more responsibility, not less.
Take on more work, not less.
Do more in your life, not less.
End your day crawling into bed without an ounce of energy and at least you’ll feel pride in who you are and more importantly what you did. (read: the Lost Art of Fulfillment)
Forget About the Totality of it All
Today we’re also free to think about life’s greater questions and our place in this world. This can be great, but too much time thinking about the macro without focusing on the micro and you find yourself being useless, lost, and wandering rather than pursuing.
You have a definite purpose today. You know what it is. You have to get shit done and do it well. You have to feed your family, to run your business, to do good work, to train your body, to be better than you were yesterday.
Sometimes that’s enough, more than enough, because when you end your life having done that every day your purpose will be as grand as the legacy you leave.
Live on Purpose
You have people that have sacrificed for you, others that depend on you, and you have ambition. Set your sights in a direction, not in the direction of fame but of becoming great in every way you can. Serve others. Have your success provide jobs, give back, enable your family to thrive in their lives.
Live well today, that’s essentially what we’ve lost – among other things. We spend less time in the moment, less time doing what we can with what we have, and more time comparing who we are, where we are, and what we have to what others show they have.
Stop it. Get after it