What does that mean?
While this has not been definitively sourced to the late, great Mark Twain, I believe that it is a great thought. Until we are born, there isn’t much to our lives, at least not as we know it, right?
But at some point in our lives, we find out why we are here. I believe that we all have a function, a purpose, a job to do in this life. That is what the quote is talking about when we find out why we’re here.
While I don’t believe in predestination, but we all have unique talents which lend themselves to specific tasks. There are things that only you can do. People only you can reach.
Once we know why we are here, we can get busy fulfilling the purpose of our life, as we understand it at the moment. I say that because I believe that as we change, so does our purpose.
Why is paying attention important?
How often do we not notice something, often for a great deal of time, and then ‘suddenly’ we notice it? Someone’s new hairstyle, the person who has been dropping subtle hints for a while, or the new person at work or at the gym. Why didn’t you notice before?
Our minds cannot process everything around us. Sights, sounds, smells, and so much more are bombarding our brains all the time. We block out the things we deem unimportant for the task at hand. And when that task finishes and we come up for air, we suddenly notice things.
While that’s the way things naturally are, we can take control to some extent by taking time to look around, to listen, to take in data from our other senses. The same goes for the trends in our lives. If we pay attention to trends, patterns or habits, we can understand what is happening.
I don’t believe that you are born with a destiny. But you design your life through your actions and decisions. We evolve and change over time. As we do these things, we often take a trajectory. If we plot our points and look to the future, you can get a glimpse of a possible future, and what it is you were born to do.
Where can I apply this in my life?
We all have something we do well. And over time, we learn to do other things and become more skilled in new aspects of our lives. When I was a teen, I couldn’t spell (I’m dyslexic). I couldn’t speak well (I stuttered). I couldn’t write well (couldn’t focus long-term, ADD). But over time these things have changed.
When I was younger, the internet didn’t exist. Then it was just for research and getting assignments mailed to us by the professors. Now the internet can reach people all over the world. As my skills have changed, and the world has changed, so has my purpose.
I’ve always been curious, and I have learned a lot over the course of my life. Now I can share this information over the internet with others in all the corners of the world.
My life has transitioned from gathering information to disseminating it. And by posting it out to the internet, I have made sure that it will remain available for as long as people continue to seek it. It has become my reason for existing because that is where my trajectory has taken me.
Where my trajectory will take me next? I’m not sure, but I will be looking out for the clues, paying attention to what is happening around me and to me. I will try to figure out what my purpose is, what my reason for existing happens to be. All this may just be another stepping stone. Who knows?
What are some of the things you are doing, and enjoy doing? What has the events in your life been leading you towards? Perhaps the end isn’t yet in sight. Perhaps you can’t see what is ahead of you. But you can see where you have been, and can guess what the next step may well be, right?
Take some time to consider what is and has been happening in your life, and what you might be doing next. It might be at work, or it might be a hobby. It might involve a skill you have denied in the past. It might involve a brand new skill you just learned, or are thinking about learning.
I believe no one is a waste. I believe we are all here for a reason. I believe we all have a purpose. I just don’t know what mine is, although I am becoming more convinced that it has to do with teaching or helping others learn. What might yours be?
Consider setting aside some time to consider these thoughts. You might be surprised at what you find when you pay close attention.