Everything exists as a function of purpose. Form arises as a result of intention shaping matter and action. . As human beings, we have the fortunate opportunity to discover and even craft our purpose. Indeed, we are much happier, more fulfilled, and of better service to life when we identify our purpose and are fully committed to acting in alignment with it.
The discovery and realization of our purpose involves a natural cycle that includes listening, seeking, finding, experimenting, learning, integrating, protecting, and teaching. Foster refers to this cycle as the “Torus of Purpose.” We take the input of ideas, emotions, and information the universe exposes us to, process them internally, then creatively output them to the world, getting feedback, and continuing the cycle. Through this ongoing process, we can discover for ourselves what stirs our spirits and ignites our passions.
The Japanese model of Ikigai can also help identify and dial in your purpose. Ikigai, which roughly translates to “a reason for being,” involves four criteria that all need to be satisfied for you to feel fulfilled. The criteria are:
What you love
What you are good at
What the world needs
What you can be paid for
When these four criteria are aligned, they create a synergy that will amplify your personal peace and satisfaction and provide positive impact on the world.
Once you know your purpose, you can identify your path of action. Without a realistic approach and plan, your mission will remain a dream and lose its vitality. In determining your path, it can be helpful to look to those who have achieved what you’d like to achieve or something similar. Thankfully, we live in an age when we can access the ever-expanding wealth of human knowledge through the Internet. Even if you aim to do something entirely unprecedented, there is a strategic map as well as guiding principles that can help you fulfill your goals.
You can also use this questionnaire to explore and focus your interests so that you’re always putting your energy into the area(s) that you’re naturally drawn to and that give you the most energy. This questionnaire can also be used in group meetings so everyone has a chance to determine the Sector they are most passionate about before breaking out into Sector groups.
A ‐ Which Sector(s) interest you most? (circle on the chart below) It may be that your area of interest does not seem to be directly reflected in the Sector titles, as with, for example, Food. In such a case, we recommend that you ask yourself what facet of the Food process you are most interested in. Is it the Health aspect, the effect of growing on the Environment, or is it the role of Food in our Economics...? If your focus is Energy, is it the Science, the Economics, or its role for our Infrastructure?
B ‐ Of the following three Levels of Engagement, which are you most drawn to?
Immediate Needs Direct activities, like feeding the hungry, providing immediate medical care, etc.
Systemic Change Changing the dysfunctional systems that are resulting in so much suffering.
Consciousness Shift Addressing the principles and beliefs that are at the root of all our systems.
Mark the white dot at your chosen Level and Sector(s) on this chart. →
Keep this in mind as you consider where you want to direct your energy. You can also use this chart in a Solutions Group setting, and break into Sector groups. To see some examples of various actions by each Sector and Level of Engagement, see page 14 of this toolkit.
C ‐ What is Your Purpose? To find the best “use” of you, it is helpful to first reflect on your own purpose. Finding your own purpose gives you an inner compass for all levels of decision‐making. There is a video on our site to help clarify this.
My purpose in life is...
With our purpose and path of action identified, we can accelerate our trajectory with hard work, utilizing any resources available to us, and collaborating with allies. We can stay focused, and stay light. The journey is rarely easy. Still, we can traverse our paths with more grace, gratitude, passion, and love if we remember to enjoy the ride.
Q - Once I am clear on my purpose, then how do I translate that into daily activities producing effective results in a particular Sector, on a specific Issue and within my desired Level of Engagement?
A - Thrive has created a map of process for self discovery and identification as well as working effectively in groups:
Q - Once I know essentially who I am and what I want to be doing, how do I find others to collaborate with to amplify my impact and enjoy the teamwork?
A - Thrive has created an on-line meeting place where you can start or join a group with like-minded allies to resolve issues that are in the way of our thriving.