Posted in Life, Salient Thoughts

A Renewed Sense of Purpose

There are just about a few things that are as frustrating as having so much to do but little time. You see, this is not an issue even proper time management can solve because the issue didn’t come up because you didn’t manage your time properly, but because there is so much to do that time, no matter how properly managed, is just not enough. And this kind of problem, I have observed, usually arise when you find purpose- a purpose for your existence and your relationship with both your environment and the people in it.

I had the privilege of spending time discussing with one of my oldest friends, Joel Akingunola, recently, and in the course of the discussion, he shared Mark Zuckerberg’s Harvard commencement speech with me; actually I started reading it on his phone but due to lack of sufficient time at the moment, I asked him to mail it to me so I could read it up. But because of one thing or the other, I couldn’t get back to reading it until I was with another friend and we were talking about ideas that could be profitable. The discussion then led to the area of goals and “where do you see yourself in…?”

It was then that I remembered the speech. I opened it up and read it out to the hearing of my friend, and I must tell you, of a truth it was worth the read, so much that my friend asked me, “you are telling me you read this and you weren’t inspired?” But of course, I hadn’t completed it before then.

Anyway, the reason for the reference is some things Mark said in his speech,

“To keep our society moving forward, we have a generational challenge — to not only create new jobs, but create a renewed sense of purpose.”


“…it’s not enough to have purpose yourself. You have to create a sense of purpose for others.”

Then I asked myself what my purpose was, and if it would in any way create a sense of purpose for others.

See, it is really a challenge for our generation, this issue of purpose. Majority of people, I believe, will admit to themselves and to others if asked that they have purpose, they are not just roaming the face of this earth without aim. No, they want this and that to come out of their endeavours. They want to be somewhere in the next five or ten years.


The question is, is it enough?

Is it enough to have purpose yourself?

Recently, I came across a quote by Isaac Newton on Design Luck. He said, “If I have seen further than others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.”

Isaac Newton’s work on the laws of motion and universal gravitation changed how we see the universe, but Newton had the studies of those that had come before him, such as Kepler and Galileo, as foundation for discovering whatever he did.

Looking at it in a sense, those people didn’t just have purpose, but they created a sense of purpose that years after they had gone, people like Newton could still find purpose for themselves from those works. And now we can feel the effect of Newton’s achievements in our lives today.

Even Zuckerberg had a purpose, he wanted to help people around the world connect and through his purpose, he was able to create a sense of purpose for those that are now today employees of Facebook.

So, NO, it is not enough to have purpose yourself, your purpose has to help someone else find purpose.

Something about we humans is that we thrive better than other species because of our collective intelligence–We communicate effectively. That alone is an advantage for us that will enable us create a sense of purpose for others. It is NOT a bad thing if you find your purpose through someone else’s purpose. So many people today misunderstand what Tony Gaskins meant when he said, “If you don’t build your own dream, someone will hire you to build theirs“. This doesn’t mean working together with someone who has a purpose–a purpose that you see that obviously can give you purpose as well–is belittling yourself or “being hired by someone else to build their dream.”

Together, we can solve our generational challenge of creating a renewed sense of purpose if we realize and accept that this life isn’t a competition. We are in this together. We can work together to create a better today, and consequently, make a tomorrow worth living in.

After I became aware of this, it was as though I had just found my purpose. The things I did, I now saw them in a different light, and realized their long term importance. I conversed with friends and shared ideas and I saw that it is not impossible to be instrumental in achieving goals with others as long as they intersect with your goal–

a collective intelligence in creating a renewed sense of purpose.

Normally, I write when I really don’t have much to do in the day, but yesterday was my most productive day in a long time–and I didn’t even get the chance to write. It was because, I’ve realized that there are so many things I can do on my own, and so many things I can do with others, so much that I don’t even have time to “not have much to do in the day.”

That’s what purpose does; it gives living a real meaning.

I like to think that, the only reason you can be bored somewhere is if you’re there without a purpose.

So find your purpose, a purpose that creates a sense of purpose for others. Or key into someone’s purpose and together achieve great things.



Joel O. is a mathematician with a passion for writing who believes in the power of the mind and what can be achieved if one can 'imagine' it and work towards it.. He is a writer, a poet and a blogger. He is also an editor for Rainbow Chaussure and Executive Editor at Dalet Institute.

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