How to live on purpose

What does it mean to you, to live on purpose?

Wait, actually think about that for a sec...

To me it means to never settle; to never not be in love with my life - in the ordinary moments, and the extraordinary. In some ways that’s all mindset, but it’s also about actually filling my days intentionally.

Not that long ago I hit a rut. I’d let myself become a victim of my circumstances, and was in that I-feel-blue-and-I-don’t-want-to-get-over-it mood for several days. I considered my mindset and decided not to fight the shitty feelings. Because as much as I’ll swear on the power of positive thinking, we can’t always just “look at the bright side.” We have to let ourselves feel the negative emotions, too; the trick is simply not to stay there.

We cannot selectively numb emotions, when we numb the painful emotions, we also numb the positive emotions.
— Brene Brown

After a little downtime, I started to turn things around and ultimately changed my crappy mindset by returning to my three principles for living on purpose:

1.     Take responsibility (aka stop making excuses). By waiting for the next thing or for circumstances to change, I was letting external factors dictate my day-to-day happiness. There is always a way to do more with what you do have available, even if you feel stifled by time, money, limited physical ability, or any other less-than-ideal situation. I realized that I'm happiest when I'm out doing things, so while I didn’t have the funds to do everything I wanted, I could still get off my ass and explore the place that I live in (which happens to have an endless supply of free shit to do, but you can definitely do this anywhere. Of course I made some lists, download them below). I had been fixated on a different goal and failing to see the life that could be lived right at my fingertips.

2.     Clear the crap. I was keeping myself busy and letting my mind race, which is a good way to lose yourself. When we pile physical clutter, busy schedules, and endless thoughts on top of ourselves, we’re trying so hard to just keep our heads above the water that we lose our sense of purpose - the thing that drives us to get out of the funk and back to kicking ass. So I took a step back, stopped doing the things I didn’t really love doing or have to do, and found more time for me.

“Crazy-busy” is a great armor, it’s a great way for numbing. A lot of us stay so busy and so out in front of our life, that the truth of what we’re feeling and what we need can’t catch up with us.
— Brene Brown

3.     Take care of yourself. This maybe should be number one, but I was slipping in this department, too. Self-care means we’re clear, focused, energized, and feeling loved and valued (by ourselves, which is the most important). That energy goes into everything we do. In a way, if you’re not taking good care of yourself, you’re half-assing everything in your life, because you simply could show up better for it. I’d gotten lazy about eating well and lost the daily rituals that keep me balanced. I had to reprioritize.

All three of these give away your power in some way, and they kinda build on top of each other, not to mention feed into your mindset. While mindset can be difficult to change on it’s own, you can take back control by making these tangible shifts. That is, when you’ve done your wallowing and are over your sad story and all it’s tiny violins. It’s starts with taking responsibility, because you do have to decide to snap out of it and stop playing the victim. A recap:

Stop waiting for something to come to you, get creative with whatever you have.

Be ruthless in clearing stuff that doesn’t support the life you want.

Please, please take awesome care of yourself; you are the engine that runs this whole thing.


Obviously I made lists for my free things to do project, sign up to receive them here:

What are your favorite free or cheap activities (ignoring the obvious dirty joke here)...?