Law 13: Advance with a Sense of Purpose (The Laws of Human Nature)

Law 13: Advance with a Sense of Purpose (The Laws of Human Nature) 1

The Law of Aimlessness

Martin Luther King Jr. had a domineering father who intervened strongly in his life. But MLK had a sense of purpose, different from his brother, who lived under the shadow of King Sr. MLK was more easy-going than his father and was primarily motivated to make life better on earth, rather than in the afterlife – the way his father did. The Kings were involved with the church and MLK only later discovered that the study of the Bible can be a scholarly affair and fell in love with it. He was introspective, he loved to read. His sense of purpose carried him through great adversity and danger, despite his peaceful upbringing, and he managed to change the world. Rosa Parks sparked him to take more risks, to lead a revolution. Eventually, politicians reluctantly negotiated with him. Civil rights laws were passed and destiny was changed.

Different Motivations

In life, you will have many things that pull you towards them. A life of pleasure that includes sex, drugs, gambling, and entertainment will have the strongest pull on you, because it is easy. Money and fame will also try to pull you towards them.

Many people will pursue a life of pleasure, thinking that doing so will make them happy, but they eventually realize that this is a downward pursuit. It is only good for the short-term, it does not lead to growth and development, it does not contribute any good to society. It will cloud your thinking and will only fill you with more angst as you grow older.

Money will have a great pull because it is what everyone seems to prize the most. Whoever is richest is the most successful in the eyes of many people and so people naturally feel drawn to careers that promise great wealth. They want to be able to have financial freedom, to live luxuriously. But what they realize is that the competition for money is fierce, and unless they have a passion for the work, they will experience burnout relatively quickly. They will change careers frequently, and will feel restless, never satisfied. Fame, attention, and recognition are other powerful motivators, but if you care too much about what society wants you to do, your creative potential will never be realized. You will always conform and never offer anything unique. You will grow resentful of people when you realize that you are not satisfied, despite your sacrifices.

Instead, find your calling, your purpose. Find out what draws you in naturally. Steve Jobs was enchanted by the complexity of technology, when he passed by electronics stores, he was captivated. Chekhov was enthralled by the plays his father used to take him to and Satre was obsessed with the meanings of words. Think about your past, try to recall activities that you found yourself naturally enthusiastic about. There were some things that pulled you, as if they spoke to something inside of you that you didn’t yet know. That is how you can find your purpose. In contrast, there are activities that you find too boring, too difficult. They do not come easy, and you do not enjoy them. Likely, you have encountered this feeling with certain subjects in university or in school.

Your unique biological makeup is drawn to things that others don’t find interesting. Gartner defines many types of intelligence, find which one matches yours, and in this way you will go much farther. Because to truly tap into your potential, you need to find work that is satisfying. If you can enter into flow states and no longer feel the passage of time, if you can find pleasure in the work that you are doing so much so that the existential dread that most people face becomes alien to you, then you will become a master at what you are doing, and you will find success of the best kind.

You will offer society something valuable, you will improve, and you will be willing to put up with the drudgery of the daily struggle, and the dissatisfaction with the lack of immediate progress.

Today, we live in a society where most people are lost, jumping from one unsatisfying adventure to the next, not really finding their true purpose. Do not be one of those meandering individuals who are never quite sure where they are going. Have a sense of purpose, and don’t be cynical about it.

Nietzsche said that some people prefer to make the void the meaning than to see life as devoid of meaning. It is easy to become resentful and cynical, to think that everything is merely a matter of perspective, that there are no right or wrong ways to think or act. You may encounter people who talk in this way, but beneath their confident, self-satisfied exterior is a sad, unfulfilled human being.

Whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee, find ways to achieve mastery faster. Force yourself to work more efficiently. Push yourself. If you give yourself a year to finish a project, it will take a year. If you give yourself three months to finish the same project, it will only take three months. When you put yourself under stress, you do better, you become smarter, and you will accomplish more.

Do not be afraid to devote as much time as needed to what you are doing. We have this idea in society that you should maintain a balance, you should go out and drink and have fun as if fun was something you could force. What will give you satisfaction is not simple pleasures, but difficult pleasures. They come from slow progress, from meeting a difficult goal under stress. These are the things that keep you sharp, focused, and excited about life.

Think about two types of armies, one is motivated by money. That is, they are mercenaries. The other is motivated by a purpose or a cause. Which army do you think will have an advantage in battle?

Similarly, in life, you can be motivated by money or a sense of purpose. Money will get you to do things for a while, but with purpose you can surpass the mundane levels of human experience. You can tap into vast reservoirs of energy that are hidden with you, and you can fully realize your potential.

Read The Laws of Human Nature

If you’re interested in exploring the darker parts of human psychology that most people ignore, consider reading this short book The Dichotomy of the Self.

"A gilded No is more satisfactory than a dry yes" - Gracian