Mind Article – Purpose (What’s yours?)

A child comes up to his father and says

“Daddy, I know what I want for my birthday,”
“What do you want?” the Dad asks
“I want a briefcase,” She said, jumping up and down.
“Really?” he asked.
“Yes, it’s what I really, really, really want!”
“Why do you want a briefcase?” The Dad look puzzled
“I want to do something important with my life,” She said.
“What do you want to do?” He asked
“I don’t know yet,but having a briefcase will be a big help.”

Briefcase photo taken from EnWikipedia

Pandora's box or Purpose ? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many of your would chuckle at this innocent conversation but the lesson behind this is that, we really do not know what we want in life. Basically we start and do things just because and really never give real thought or weight to it. This is not to say that we are frivolous with our choices, but that oftentimes we neglect to see the motivation behind our decision and our true purpose.

“But I do know my purpose !”, yet many times we often wonder why we do the things we do. Why we put up with certain things yet have very low tolerance for others? How could we at times tolerate the worst of behaviors from our bosses and yet have very poor tolerance for our family and close ones. If we really were at one with purpose I think living would be much simpler and we would subconsciously do what is right. I heard once of a very apt metaphor describing purpose (or conscience) as the thought in our head that has a very small but firm voice, but if oftentimes drowned by the loud expectations we have and false beliefs that we think other people think we think (complicated right). It’s this very small voice that gets drowned out in the hum drum of life so much so that when everything clears (which might be in a long while), it might be too late.

So why am i getting philosophical here ? Like many things in life, fitness needs a purpose. If you come to the gym with a goal to lose weight because you ate festively and gained festive weight over Christmas and the New Year (Solar and Lunar), its just going to be a goal, you might reach it or you might not, but you would definitely not stick with it, at some point of time, something important would have turned up and swept you up, and when you look back at your gym membership or your plan to exercise it might be gathering dust and you just give up.

Likewise its always a good approach to examine your purposes in getting fit, because if you dont have strong enough reasons, it would be a real waste of effort. It might be good being complimented for losing that first 5 kg but then you might put in back on as work gets hectic and as you get bored or tired or certain things require your attention that cant be put down. As in we have to evaluate, “What does being fit mean to me, how strong is the reason to being fit, compel me to wake up at 6 am in the morning and run, or drag myself after work to work out. Because when you try to wake up at 6am to run, there will be voices telling you not to, and every time they win, and every step back you take, it’s when your purpose can’t defend your actions – you WILL end up giving in. Each time a voice whispers, “Hey its too early to run, lets sleep in, we can do it the day after the next day after, when we feel up to it”.  A purpose gives you an answer to all these, and like one of my cynical literature teachers once said, “A purpose is what makes me get up in the morning and get to work, I may not like it but it gets me up”.

So what’s the purpose of being fit ? What’s your reason for getting up ? Is it just to look good and feel good or is it something deeper. It should be something deeper because once we lend meaning to it, we lend weight to it. Some women train for weddings, to look good in a gown, some guys train to look buff for that bit of admiration for a beach body. But if we look at it that way, fitness would just be like a Kleenex, once used and easily disposable.

But it’s NOT, fitness is a lifestyle, meaning it’s something sustained. It’s a habit, there’s this old proverb “Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action; reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character reap a destiny”. Imagine , if somehow you could sow a thought of having a fit and healthy body, being motivated and moved to action, finally making it a habit, and building discipline and strength of character and confidence from there, which would open up to many possibilities in your life. Now that’s a compelling purpose, compared to “I just want to lose weights so my hips look smaller to fit into my jeans”.

So what’s your purpose of being fit ? Purpose is always personal, but always strong enough to sustain you so that it becomes a lifestyle. Examples of purposes include ones that stem from pain like a story I heard about a person who got stuck in a slide at a water amusement park and had to be extracted when the workers had to physically dismantle the length of tube he was in to extract him out, the pain of knowing he was obscenely overweight (it only struck him at that time – we do have great powers of self denial at times) was so stark for him that he lost 100 pounds and remained fit ever since.  Or one that stems from inspiration like someone finding meaning in his sport despite disability aptly described by the quote by Alexander De Seversky “I discovered early that the hardest thing to overcome is not a physical disability but the mental condition which it induces. The world, I found, has a way of taking a man pretty much at his own rating. If he permits his loss to make him embarrassed and apologetic, he will draw embarrassment from others. But if he gains his own respect, the respect of those around him comes easily.”

Be it for any reason , from pain, self respect, discovery, your purpose has to be personal and spell a compelling future one with better health and vitality and confidence, one which makes you wake up in the morning and one which will see you through to your goals despite of yourself because an man is always greater than he can know of himself.

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