The activities in your life fall into one of three buckets:

  • 1) Aligned with your deepest purpose
  • 2) Rest and rejuvenation that gives you energy for 1
  • 3) Everything else (distractions)

Whenever you are doing something check in and ask yourself which bucket it’s in. The secret to a successful and happy life is to align as many of your activities with your deepest purpose as you can. Focus most of your energy on bucket 1. Do enough, but not too much, of bucket 2. Things like Netflix or video games count here, sometimes you need to just rest the mind and zone out. Stop doing bucket 3.

If you notice you are strongly and repeatedly pulled to do activities from bucket 3 you may need to re-evaluate your deepest purpose. Is there a common thread in the activities you are pulled to do? What’s your underlying emotional state and energy level when doing them? Distinguish between being pulled toward something vs running away from something else.

Of course, this framework requires that you have clarity on your deepest purpose which is actually very difficult, and is the core issue behind many people’s suffering. I’ve struggled a lot with the question myself. To help relieve the pressure understand that your purpose evolves and unfolds over time so you just need to be clear on your deepest purpose right now.

I’ll have more to say on the topic of Work and Purpose but here’s some questions to ponder:

  • What does the world need?
  • What are you good at? List a few things that you’re better at than most other people.
  • What skills do you have that people would pay you for?
  • What do you spend your time thinking about when you’re done with work and other commitments?
  • If you had five minutes and the whole world was forced to listen, what would you say?