One of the things that often occurs to men in midlife is that they perhaps have not achieved everything that they would have hoped to do so during their lifetime.
One of the reasons for this, of course, is that they very often don’t actually know what their true purpose in life might have been.
Video – the midlife crisis
When we talk about purpose, there are a variety of other words that may be used to mean the same thing – mission, soul purpose, life purpose being some of the most common.
The most common question that I’m asked by men who are feeling depressed in midlife is “how on earth could I ever have identified what my life purpose was, and then lived it fully”?
Well it’s a very good question, and you may well wonder what your purpose is, particularly if you feel yourself moving towards a place of dissatisfaction and unhappiness about your achievements in life.
What I’d like to make clear at this point is that no matter how you feel about with the way your life has been, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way for the rest of your life – what I would describe as “life purpose” changes as time goes by.
For an elder, which I would roughly define as a man moving into food of life beyond 50, soul purpose can be something about blessing and encouragement of younger men and women.
It’s a mistake to think that we all have to find our purpose when we 20 years old and then follow that path for the rest of our lives: indeed, younger men very often don’t actually know what their purpose is, and the early part of their life is (or at least, in my opinion it should be) devoted to finding out what it might be by experimentation with different options.
The underlying principle here, of course, is that all our lives are predicated on a series of developmental steps which are necessary for us to achieve fulfillment.
If we don’t follow those developmental steps, either by accident or design, then we don’t reach the true potential that we can offer the world, and we generally feel depressed and unfulfilled – like something is missing.
Sadly because in our society there are very few mechanisms for going through the processes that would once have enabled us to identify all of these things, there are a great many people who remain unfulfilled and unhappy about the way their lives operating.
And, of course, as any aware person knows, our society is not necessarily ideal for achieving fulfillment and happiness – a materialistic society such as the one we live in tends to disconnect people from each other, and enables them to console themselves by the acquisition of material wealth. (See this on happiness.)
So we face a double bind: the absence of the developmental’s processes which would enable us to find our true purpose, and a society which discourages self-exploration and deviation from societal norms.
In the face of such strong opposition to the exploration of, or even the expression of, the self-development processes that are necessary to acquire a meaning in life, it’s no wonder that so many people die dissatisfied and unhappy.
(If you doubt this, just look at the five top regrets of the dying, and see if any of them could possibly apply to you, when you think about the way your life is currently developing.)
Now I know that you wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t have some sense of dissatisfaction or at least a sense that your life could possibly be improved in some way.
There’s an area of human experience called manifestation – which basically means the ability to create the world around you that you wish to be living in – and it involves the use of something called the law of attraction, which was popularized a few years ago by Rhonda Byrne in a book called The Secret.
Video – The Secret
Now I do not think that everything in The Secret was an accurate representation of ways in which you could influence the universe to produce the world around you that you really want to live in.
Nonetheless, Rhonda Byrne did us all a great favor because she drew our attention to principles of manifestation and co-creation which been around for a very long time – and which were well-known to people of previous generations through the writing of people like Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich.
What it amounts to is that if you’re lacking a life purpose, and that if you feel you are in need of great fulfillment, or you have a sense of dissatisfaction that something is absent and missing from your life, then a great place to start would be to explore the principles of manifestation and the law of attraction.
One of the reasons for this is that those two areas of human experience will draw you into a whole area of exploration of self which can lead you to a life purpose and a sense of mission in the world.
For example, you may find that something that you’ve been thinking about on and off for many years can become a way of earning a living – in which case you’re truly blessed, because most people who have a burning desire to follow a passion of some kind (e.g. making music) don’t manage to find a way of making a living from it.
Alternatively, you might find that you can actually do something in your spare time gives you great fulfillment, while doing something quite different to earn a living.
Perhaps the most blessed experience would be the one in which you discover what you should actually be doing this time in your life, and you manage to find a way to transition into doing exactly that.
One of the most common transitions that men and women find they can make midlife is to become an elder in the true sense of that word – if you’re interested in what that actually means, you can read about it here.