Episode 138: Living a Life of Purpose

How do I live a purpose-filled life? If you have ever asked yourself this question, the answers you seek are in this episode! Jimmy shares three areas of life that will give you purpose and excitement in life if you simply master them.

Episode Keys

  • The definition of true success as defined by the great philosopher, William James.
  • How discipline in life serves as the foundation for true success in life.
  • Why you must master the negatives in life and Jimmy’s secret to maintaining greater positivity and power of thought.
  • What are the two most important days of your life!
  • How to find happiness and joy in a world of negativity and chaos.

Podcast Transcription

Good morning! Welcome to another beautiful fall Monday morning, where I can get up before the sun rises, you know, mainly thankful to the time change, right? But anyway… Hey, this is Jimmy Williams, your host with Live a Life By Design, your Monday morning moments of motivation to help you live live bigger, better,, and bolder on your terms.

Oh man, I love this time of year. You know, here we are getting awfully close to one of the greatest holidays on the planet. Now I know some friends of mine that live in Canada have already celebrated Thanksgiving, but here in the United States, we’re going to celebrate here just in a few days. I can almost already taste all the great food that’s going to be poured upon our table. I love the time with family. We’ve got so much to be thankful for in this great country. And I hope, you know and understand what you’ve got to be thankful for where you may live. You know, this podcast has been so blessed over the last couple of years. We’re heard now in 57 countries, and I am just honored to share your Monday mornings with you. One of the great things about doing this podcast is hearing from all of our great subscribers and listeners about how maybe just a word, a phrase, anything said, has given them hope, has given them empowerment to reach a better stage of life, and also maybe it’s given them something to think about that could be changed in their life to make them even better.

Today I want to work on a few areas of my own life that I have had to chisel away over the last few years and had worked on since I was in my late teens as I went off to college. You know, you never cease to grow as a human being. And one of the things you need to learn is, hey, what is it about my life that gives it purpose? You know, we’re all different. We all have different talents and we all have different environments in which we function. But I want to work with a few things today and share with you about living a life of purpose. You see, it’s very difficult for many of us to even find out in our own mind what our purpose is. You know, we look at others who appear to be confident and successful in life. And we just wonder in our own mind if we will ever live a life that others may be inspired by or seek us as a role model. Each of us has an inner desire, in my opinion, to be inspirational to others. We show this as an influence in friends that we make, the family we have, the communities in which we find ourselves. And one of my life goals is to live my life in such a manner that others may be inspired to find their purpose of life abundantly in this world. The abundance of which I speak though, is the abundance of life where relationships are deeper, charitable contributions are larger, and learning is endless. You know, you’ve heard me speak many times on this podcast that I am a lifetime learner. I enjoy the aspects of learning. I’m talking about a life though that encourages others to see the good in the lives of those around them to perhaps build the harmony with others of different backgrounds and cultures while allowing each of those unique people to retain their uniqueness as it was intended.

You see, that’s what living a life of purpose to me is all about. At Live a Life By Design, our purpose for this podcast is to spread the good news of life and help others see the world with a different lens. If you focus your time on watching the news, reading newspapers, and scanning the internet for the latest gossip, your purpose in life will evade you and it’ll be a life filled with regrets. What if, and this is a big, what if, but what if you turn the tables and spent your day seeking methods of helping others realize their talents, contributing time to organizations that serve as a bridge for people to gain access to a better life, or how about we just read biographies of people who dedicated their lives to the cause of greater opportunities for others? I’m often thinking about, and as I read the book, it’s a humongous book, but so filled with great information, if you think about the life of Mr. Vanderbilt, Mr. Rockefeller, these great pillars of the world of manufacturing and big business, and they took their lives, and as they said, the first half of their life was to make millions. And now back in that day, it wouldn’t be millions, today would be billions with a B. And the second half of their life, they had goals to give it all away. Now that to me is a purpose-filled life.

So we have three areas that we want to help today to develop, to help you live a more purpose-filled life, to have those goals in mind, that help you become that inspiration to others. So the first area of living a life of purpose is discipline. Oh, that D word is a horrible word. People do not like the word discipline. It has almost a negative connotation to many people because they associated with, maybe an act of which their parents utilize to get our behavior in a certain way. But I’m not talking about that discipline. I’m talking about the discipline of being able to stick to and continue through challenging times when your goals are more powerful than the mountains around it. I haven’t always lived a life with discipline. As many people, I’m sure, I was just kind of one of those that just enjoyed which way the wind blew when I was a kid. I enjoyed going fishing instead of doing my chores, I enjoyed going on hikes and camp outs. I became a Soy scout at a very young age and it taught me some discipline in life. There are times when we need to do certain things and that is to make the right decision. But discovering I actually had to study to make excellent grades in college, I even developed greater disciplines in my life. Study habits, processes for retaining knowledge, and focusing on my future by planning each day to extract the most that I could from that day, those were my disciplines. These disciplines served me well my entire adult life through this day. As my schedule gain momentum in my career and success was greater and, and time was in even shorter supply, I noticed that I had to adapt to different types of disciplines. Now I focus most of my time on the culture of our company, the character of our people, and the processes we use to compassionately serve our clients with understanding and empathy. You know, I tell people when they ask me, what do I do for a living? And I tell them, I have the greatest job in the world. I get to work in the area of my passion on a daily basis. I get to help families reach their true potential and desire in life by simply guiding them through a process that we developed.

It is not that you must master every discipline in your life. However, you must master the skill of developing the proper disciplines for the challenges you face in each stage of life. You know, we have different challenges when we’re young than we do in middle age. And it’s certainly more when we get older. Not that I can speak to that truthfully. I’m not that old. So I’ll tell you, I look at age as nothing more than a number, folks, that you put on a cake sometime, and if somebody has to help you blow the candles out, that means that’s a life that’s been filled with great memories. So I hope you have a lot of candles on your cakes this year.

The second area of life for a life of purpose is to learn how to master the negative. As I mentioned earlier, our world thrives on the negative dissenting language that others rely on to make themselves feel more powerful. The thought of dividing ourselves in the United States to me is heartbreaking when you realize the lives are so many were sacrificed to give us the gifts of freedom and unity. Failure is a part of life. We all know that, but I want you to understand it is not your entire life. You are not a failure. You’re what experiences a failure. It is just simply a phase which may mean a day, a week, or whatever, but it is not the permanency of your life. You must learn to develop a resiliency to failure as a learning point. I’ll never forget that one of the greatest mind and inventors of the United States during his time was Thomas Edison. He failed at so many things so many times, he said he really got good at failing. Now I’m not certain that was his purpose of seeking out to fail. But what he did is he took each failure not as a negative, but a chance to learn what didn’t work. You know, there’s a little story about how many attempts he made for the filament of a light bulb that failed. And there’s somewhere in the hundreds before he finally found an element that would sustain for a long period of time the light so much needed in that era of the United States. And he was asked, you know, did you feel like a failure? You did this 110 times. For example, he said, no, I learned 110 ways that a filament will not work. So we have to be positive in the way we approach our failure. You must learn to develop this resiliency so that you can recognize when you do get defeated, that solutions are in your toolkit of your mind to solve the next question, that you learned something from that moment of failure to carry you forward in your life and your career.

Some of the most powerful enemies we face today are those that are inside our own head., Acknowledging that you may have vulnerabilities in life and understanding that you are human is one of the first signs of maturity. You can change your attitude, your outlook, and your direction by purposefully changing your thoughts. Negativity can be overcome by limiting the dosage you ingest each day of all of that negative spewing information that comes from the boob tube, the radio, whatever you may see that spews out all the division in our world to simply sell a few advertising dollars. For me, there’s much better mental food available for your diet – biographies of great businessmen, leaders, and visionaries serve me as a constant diet for my mind. I always find some nugget of power in the books that I read.

Lastly, you must learn to truly enjoy success as you define success. William James, one of the most notable philosophers and psychologists in our history, founded a philosophy called pragmatism. James dealt with the issue of what does it mean to be a success, a significant person? After years of research and pondering, James described success as a combination of two things. First, success is an inter inner ideal that is courageously and persistently followed. The second thing, success is an outer achievement related to that ideal. You know, the first means that I must have a goal and then resolve to complete that goal no matter what happens. The second part means that you are recognized perhaps by your peers for contributions to a profession or an independent group that recognized you for the betterment of a community or cause. You see, you must have first that inward vision of success, reaching the goal, and the outward vision of success comes about when you have the realization that what your goal did was not just for yourself, but for more of the people around you.

Too often, people think that outer achievement literally means physical and tangible goods, homes, cars, money, et cetera. These are truly dividends of living a purpose filled life, but they’re not the primary desired outcomes. You see the intangibles of life, character integrity, human kindness. These cannot be bought with money. They must be earned with life and a lifestyle. By Focusing on fulfilling the first part of success, that inward vision, having those goals, completing them, your brain triggers the endorphins that pump your physical body with the emotions of joy, success. That to me is the real purpose of life, to live with joy and find happiness in all aspects of life. You see, we’re here on this planet for a purpose. Each of us were placed here for some reason. You were not created the great creator. God himself did not bring you to this planet just to have you simply exist. No, I know he’s got a real plan and purpose for you just as he does for me. And one of my favorite quotes by Mark Twain, that great writer, sums up today’s thesis very well. Twain said the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why. Work on these three areas of life that will help you live a life filled with purpose, and you will truly have lived a life by your design.

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