n one of the previous posts, I gave the following simple exercise:
Take a look around where you are right now. It doesn’t matter whether it is in your bedroom, bathroom, on the road, in the office or at a restaurant. Look carefully and spot for me anything that does not have a purpose.
I have a feeling that most of the things around you have a purpose to fulfill. If that is the case then, let’s ask you this question:
Why is it then that people do not live as if they have purpose?
Isn’t it obvious that humans are more important than things? Being effective in life means that we:
I think all of us humans need to be particular about how effective we can be in life. In fact, it is something that is already ingrained in us: whenever we are not effective, we are unhappy. No matter how much we try to shortcut to get happiness, we shall never find it in its true and pure sense if we are not effective in life.
Therefore, we need to answer the question: How then can we forge lives that are fruitful and effective? I believe that there are at least six pillars that are irrefutably critical to a life that is fruitful and effective. Let’s take a look at each of them briefly. I also believe that if I was up to it, these six can be books in their own right. There is just so much to share about each.
Purpose is the original design and intention for the existence of something. The key word here is intention. Some people do not like this part of life because inherently it means that they do belong to someone. That is why I had you do that exercise above. All the things that are in your vicinity were intended to do one or two things. Without purpose being known and lived, we cannot talk about effectiveness.
I have challenged people to tell me of anyone they know who succeeded in life without having a definite purpose. You will really have to scratch your head to come up with a name. There simply isn’t any. On the same token, it is not easy to come up with someone’s name who was effective in life without having to link them to some ulterior purpose or vision. Purpose will most definitely crystallize into a vision. It will also create a mission from which you will set your values and goals. Purpose constrains us, disciplines us and gives us focus. Once we have purpose, we cannot but pursue it. In fact, living outside of purpose once you already know it can be the most traumatic thing in life. So whatever you do, you need to clarify your purpose. Here is a statement that I have kept repeating:
“You were not born to occupy space above the earth, and when you die, to occupy space below the earth. There has got to be something more to live that that”.
Myles Munroe says:
“You know what is wrong with people? They do not have passion”.
Passion is a beautiful force stronger than death itself. When a man dies for others who do not deserve his sacrifice, that is passion. Passion is inextricably linked to purpose. It is what drives what lies deep inside of your heart that matters to you. I do not know what I would do without passion. I do not know how a life would be without this great ingredient. All change makers in life have been and always will be people of passion. In one of my journals, I found a record of my prayers to God:
“Give me something that I can set my hands on and not look back. Let me download this passion, this “pregnancy” that I cannot but pursue it”
This is the kind of passion that I am talking about. Some advertisements out there talk about passion and they link it to products and sports. Some link it to liquor and so on. But passion is much greater in application that to things. For the most part, it is about making the world a better place. Passion grieves when what it wants is not done. Passion gets extremely angry. Passion also gets extremely compassionate. Every deliverer or savior of any people never did it without passion. But here is the thing: we all can download it in order to be effective. It is not for a reserved few.
The weakest thing you will ever see in human beings is existing like birds. A bird does not care about tomorrow. It does what it does today and that’s it. We are much more valuable than sparrows, much more complex than anything God ever created. We cannot afford to live as if there is no tomorrow. The closest some people come to planning is when making new year resolutions. The rest of the year they just exist. Tell me, how do you make it for a day or even a week without planning? People think that planning is for those who have resources. How wrong that is! Planning is what provides the master key that not only unlocks potential but also unlocks the resources necessary to deploy the potential. To be effective in life therefore, we must be ardent planners. We need to plan our finances, our holidays, our growth, our family and so on. We cannot just exist! We are not birds! We are humans!
Calvin Coolidge said:
“Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent”
You see, quite a number of people are looking for quick fixes, miracles and events to impact a large portions of their lives. Life, I have come to notice, has been structured in such a way that it honors systems, seasons, processes and rewards growth. Life does not reward shortcuts. It rewards persistence. To be effective in life, this is one quality that one must possess. We all are born with this quality. It is what made us walk as toddlers. It is what made us talk. It is what made us learn. It is what made us grow. So what happens when we grow? We want to short-circuit processes.
No man is an island. We have written extensively about the importance of people here. IN order for us to be effective, we will need people. We need leaders, followers, family, friends, acquaintances, subtle connections, critics, helpers, funders, mentors, protégés and so on. We do not have everything we need to be effective in ourselves. We might be geniuses at one thing, but we definitely need another genius in another thing to make the whole picture complete. You and I need each other in life. I dare say that some of the major breakthroughs you have ever experienced came as a result of being connected to somebody. Some of the greatest comebacks and eye opening experiences came as a result of interfacing with “bad people”, believe me, we need them. So to be effective, realize the critical importance of people in your life.
Prayer is the first acknowledgment that we need Divine help to fulfill our purposes. It is an acknowledgement that just like the objects around us, someone made us for a purpose. Prayer revitalizes, consoles, encourages, guides, calms, provides wisdom and direction. I do not know where I would be without this. Even as a “heathen”, believe me I used to pray. God has put a divine compass in every human being that we inherently know that we belong to him, no matter how much we want to argue with our brains against it. We are all God’s. We know it in the deepest recesses of our hearts. In fact we need no preacher to tell us these things. We just know. So prayer connects us to God. Prayers are answered. All of them. Probably not in the way we expected, but they are answered. To be effective in life, I have to learn to keep my prayer life alive.
Friends, these six pillars are an equalizer. Anyone from any part of the world, with any level of education can possess these six pillars in abundance and they can make them effective in life. Anything else is a footnote.