Purpose can be animated by a question: What result do I want to create? It comes from Robert Fritz who is deeply insightful about the process of creating a meaningful life. I believe there are three key words in the question. The first key word is result. The second key word is I. The third key word is create.
The word result suggests an intentional focus. The word I suggests taking accountability. The word create suggests that I must do things I have not done before and it implies learning and expansion of capacity.
Selecting an intentional focus, taking accountability, and moving forward in the face of uncertainty are not normal behaviors. Fritz says, what is normal is to ask the question: What do I want? The answer is; I want to be comfortable. I design my life to be comfortable. When you try to take me outside my comfort zone, I resist. I may speak of accomplishing great things, but what I most want is to be in equilibrium and so I naturally drift towards the normal state.
In the normal state I live a reactive life. I react to problems. I solve problems. I continually work to return to whatever equilibrium existed previously.
When I ask, even the most senior people the question, “what result do you want to create,” they tend to give superficial answers. They think they know, but they do not. It amazes me how self-deceptive we all are. When I get superficial answers, I push people by asking the question why? They respond and I often again ask why.
Over a short period their superficial answer tends to deepen. They come to a more authentic answer. As they do, complexity and confusion melts away. Fear is replaced by hope. The person moves towards an elevated life state. Clear intention is rare and transformational. Yet it is easily accessible. We can get there by increasing our awareness. One question, answered authentically, creates such awareness.