Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Purpose Of Purpose

Most of us do stuff all day long. And for most, the money we get for doing some of that stuff is quite motivating. Others find the energy to get going in other things, like teamwork, the prospect of importance, recognition, power, world domination, influence, a chance for travel, love, stardom, fame, to do the right thing for people who are important to them, the thrill of the chase or simply the chance to associate with some interesting people and then retire to a Winnebago.

No form of motivation is entirely wrong as long as: 1) it does no harm to others, 2) it doesn't land one's butt in jail, and 3) it doesn't involve looped recordings of your mother's nagging. 

And then there are those who have a reason to do the stuff they do. To their way of thinking, one can have all the motivation in the world but if the work is without purpose, why, you might as well be just like everyone else in the world. And while fitting in (or not standing out) is totally okay for some, these people would rather not, at least in certain respects and under certain conditions.

These are individuals who intuitively flavor motivation with purpose. Actors, painters, film makers, architects, writers – ultimately everyone who's work involves a measure of creativity has a reason behind what they do. And it doesn't have to be a concrete reason. It might be just to distinguish their work as stuff that has never been done before. Or to be themselves. Or perhaps to add something of value.

People with purpose tend to stay the course when others change direction. Over time their focus may allow their personal work to overlap their professional expertise and the result can be some really special stuff. And if you look closely you may find these people will occasionally, almost without knowing, slip a small sliver of very private stuff in there as well. And that puts their work into a very special realm.

Possibly, one day, you will be working away and you will look down and all of a sudden see something special sitting before you. Something born of all your experiences and learning, joys and sorrows. Something all you. Then you will realize this stuff is the real reason you do all that other stuff. And it probably has nothing to do with fame, glory, prestige or money. Just a quiet feeling deep inside.

And a small smile.


  1. Best post ever! Or at least it speaks to me, plus it reminds me to do more stuff for endangered polka dotted elephants!

    1. Thanks Linda! We can never do enough for our spotted friends.

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks for your very generous comment on the Creative Review Feed page John. You're no slouch yourself.