Purpose

Find Your Purpose Course by Mark Manson

Lesson 1

Concepts

  • Purpose is an activity, or an idea, or a person, or a relationship that we’re willing to sacrifice for, that we’re pleased to give something up for.
  • Finding our purpose is essentially finding an important use of our time.
  • You don’t “find” purpose—you create it.
  • There isn’t a single purpose for each of us. We can use our time meaningfully doing many things in life.
  • Purpose isn’t static. What we find important changes throughout our lives.
  • Purpose solves a lot of tactical problems in life like lack of motivation, unfulfilling relationships, etc. But it won’t solve all our problems.
  • Purpose is necessary, but not sufficient for happiness.
  • The question of purpose is a question of value: How do we find things that we deem important? How do we fill our time with those things?

Notes

  • People want to find an important use of time; something meaningful.
  • The thing that matters in relationships is having a shared sense of purpose; shared values, goals, visions, dreams, and world views.
  • “What do I find important in life?”
  • Purpose is something you create, maintain, and sometimes lose.
  • It’s healthy to diversify our sense of purpose.
  • Your purpose changes and evolves over time.
  • Purpose is psychological food; necessary but not sufficient.
  • Purpose is the feeling that you are spending your time well and that your challenges are meaningful.
  • Can be found in a passion for a cause, achieving goals, a relationship, or enjoying what you’re doing. Something matters more than yourself.
  • A sense of purpose is inversely correlated with narcissism.
  • What does it feel like to put an idea or goal ahead of your pleasure.
  • How do you fill your time with those things you deem important?
  • A question of perspective and values.

Exercise

Do you feel a sense of purpose in life? From what aspects of your life do you feel this: work, relationships, goals, etc? Do you feel like you’re making meaningful sacrifices? If so, what makes that sacrifice meaningful?

No, I feel very little purpose and meaning across all areas of my life; at least at the moment.

Work used to fill me with pride and a mission that we were able to accomplish things at a high level. Currently, my work feels irrelevant; that it barely moves the needle or makes a difference. I realize there are ways to view work as a challenge and to achieve despite setbacks, but I’ve fallen into a mindset where the challenges are too large, with not enough support, to really make a difference. I’ve been disengaged, and I don’t know how to re-engage.

My relationships are minimal or non-existent for the most part, both platonic and romantic. I see the value in both types of relationships, but have either not put in the effort, or kept up the effort, to navigate long-term, sustainable relationships over any reasonable amount of time. This isolation has hindered me, to the point where living my life without these connections feels meaningless. I used to be able to distract myself from this by finding purpose at work.

I do have one caveat, and that is my relationship to my parents. They are incredibly loving and supportive people, and I’ve worked to return that love and support to them. Regular calls, visits, and quality time are the key for me in this regard, and I do feel a sense of meaning when it comes to being a good son. At the same time, I feel my current work predicament and lack of a romantic partner hinders me from being a version of myself that would be an even better son.

Fitness is another interesting area, where I do have some sense of care for myself, but something isn’t quite right with my commitment to fitness. I haven’t continually invested in learning or exposing myself to new ways to think of “fitness” outside of specific barbell exercises, and I’ve lacked the discipline to track my progress, or get enough quality sleep, for long periods. This is upsetting as I don’t feel I’m moving toward my goals effectively in this area, so it falls into “what is it for?” My return on my time doesn’t seem to be paying off, despite investing in the gym for over 10 years now.

I do feel good about trying to come out of this, and to pursue a sense of meaning and use my time well. I know I’m not getting any younger, and I know the importance of striving for things greater than myself. I have spent so much of my 20’s in a self-centered mindset – of what I want, what I can’t have, etc. Traveling across countries and states, moving regularly, being passive in relationships. I recognize this, and I’m ready to move beyond my current state.

Lesson 2

Concepts

  • Our values are what we care about in life. 
  • Think of value and purpose like an investment portfolio. We shouldn’t be over-investing in one area of our lives.
  • Having a lot of things we care about makes it difficult to prioritize, but provides stability should we lose some of those things. Having few things we care about provides clarity, but leaves us vulnerable to loss.
  • The amount of purpose we get in our lives has much less to do with “what” we care about, and a lot more to do with “why” we care about it.
  • Keep asking “why” you care about certain things to get to your core values, the values behind the values.

Notes

  • Purpose is a by-product of finding things that are more important ourselves; our own pleasure and satisfaction.
  • What are we choosing to make important?

Exercise 1

Make a list of everything you care about in life.

  • My parents.
  • My siblings.
  • Those who have made an impact on my life.
  • My friends.
  • Building a scalable business.
  • Financial freedom.
  • Women who I didn’t end up with but cared for.
  • Romantic relationships.
  • Finding a partner.
  • People in general.
  • Andy for always supporting me.
  • Geoff for being such a great example.
  • Being handy.
  • Being intelligent.
  • Having good values and intent.
  • Doing things well.
  • Trying new things.
  • Having skills.
  • Meeting new people.
  • Having emotional range.
  • Accepting myself.
  • Creating value for others.
  • Most animals; especially domesticated ones (dogs/cats/fish).
  • Technology and what it can do.
  • My health.
  • How I look.
  • How I feel.
  • Getting enough rest.
  • Eating healthy.
  • Dressing well.
  • Having my own style.
  • Having a sense of masculinity.
  • Traveling and seeing new places.
  • Winning at competitions.
  • Healthy ecosystem.
  • General cleanliness.
  • Music.
  • Movies.
  • TV shows.
  • Sports.
  • Public spaces in towns.
  • Inspiring others to be great.
  • Photography.
  • Videography.
  • Motorcycling.
  • Impacting peoples lives for the better.
  • Healthy and safe environment.
  • Sunny weather.
  • Humes content creation.
  • Financial means.
  • Reading books.
  • Living somewhere that makes me feel good.

Exercise 2

Lump the values you’ve listed into the categories given.

Career

  • Creating value for others.
  • Technology and what it can do.
  • Building a scalable business.
  • Financial freedom.
  • Impacting peoples lives for the better.
  • Financial means.

Relationships

  • My parents.
  • My siblings.
  • Those who have made an impact on my life.
  • My friends.
  • Women who I didn’t end up with but cared for.
  • Romantic relationships.
  • Finding a partner.
  • People in general.
  • Andy for always supporting me.
  • Geoff for being such a great example.
  • Meeting new people.
  • Most animals; especially domesticated ones (dogs/cats/fish).
  • Inspiring others to be great.
  • Building my own family.

Self-improvement

  • Being handy.
  • Being intelligent.
  • Having good values and intent.
  • Doing things well.
  • Trying new things.
  • Having skills.
  • Having emotional range.
  • Accepting myself.
  • My health.
  • How I look.
  • How I feel.
  • Getting enough rest.
  • Eating healthy.
  • Dressing well.
  • Having my own style.
  • Having a sense of masculinity.
  • Traveling and seeing new places.
  • Sunny weather.
  • Living somewhere that makes me feel good.

Artistic expression

  • Photography.
  • Videography.
  • Motorcycling.

Entertainment

  • Winning at competitions.
  • Music.
  • Movies.
  • TV shows.
  • Sports.

Important causes

  • Healthy ecosystem.
  • General cleanliness.
  • Public spaces in towns.
  • Healthy and safe environment.

Exercise 3

Pretend you are on a sinking ship and the lifeboat only has room for five values. Select the five values that you would take with you.

  • Parents.
  • Fitness.
  • Exploration.
  • Career.
  • Motorcycling.

Exercise 4

Look at your five values and ask why you care so much about them. Keep asking “why” until you’ve drilled down to the core underlying values.

Parents

  • I value my parents because they provide unconditional love.
  • I value unconditional love because it makes me feel safe and secure.

Fitness

  • I value fitness because it makes me look good.
  • I value looking good because it makes me feel capable.

Exploration

  • I value exploration because it helps me see the world.
  • I value seeing the world because it makes me cultured.
  • I value being cultured so I can connect with more people.

Career

  • I value my career because I can make money.
  • I value money because it gives me freedom.
  • I value freedom because it allows me to control my time.

Motorcycling

  • I value motorcycling because it makes me present.
  • I value being present because it reduces stress and increases joy.