Purpose Over Prizes

By Jimmy Warden

“He who has a why can bear any how” is a famous quote by the philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche. His message is simple yet powerful. It is about purpose, and when we have it, we can overcome anything.

Although we have this powerful tool at our disposal, today’s society values prizes over purpose. These prizes can be high-paying jobs, big houses, fancy cars, expensive clothes, or anything else that conveys financial status.

When we put too many eggs in the prize basket, however, we don’t feel fulfilled. That is why valuing purpose over prizes will lead to a more fulfilling life.

What does it mean to have a purpose in life?

Having a purpose in life means that we have specific reasons for doing what we do. It can come in several forms: a job, a family, a relationship, a hobby, or a personal mission. We do it with passion, love, and grit, no matter the circumstances. We could be tired, unmotivated, or going through a life challenge, and still follow through with our purpose.

Let’s take mothers, for example. They are some of the hardest-working humans, hands down. They take on a vast amount of responsibilities every day, and they do it for their families. They do it for their children. They do it for their partners. Taking care of their family is their purpose, and they are relentless when they do. This passion and love for their family is what drives them; especially on the most challenging days.

A similar story could be told for other individuals; they just have a different medium. Athletes have a purpose of being the best in their craft; teachers influence their students to be their best selves; mechanics make cars run to their highest potential.

Whatever the purpose is, there is more to it than doing a good job. It goes further than the self.

But I like shiny things! Why should I value purpose over them?

Purpose lives forever; prizes do not. You cannot be buried with riches when you die, but your legacy will live for decades. People will remember how you lived your life and whether or not it made an impact on them.

If you value prizes more than purpose, you’ll be remembered as a selfish individual with skewed values.

If you value purpose more than prizes, you’ll be remembered as a dedicated person who made the world a better place.

How can I find my purpose?

Finding purpose isn’t easy, but it’s worthwhile. If you’re struggling to find your purpose, reflect on what’s important to you. Is it your family? Is it making a difference in other people’s lives through a medium or profession? Is it working with cars? Is it working with the earth?

Whatever it may be, it must be something that you genuinely love and are passionate about. Without those elements, fatigue and negative self-talk will become forces that deter you from taking action. As long as there is enough fire in your purpose, there will be enough fuel to keep going.

You could also have multiple purposes. They could be integrative and connect with each other. My overarching purposes are to make a difference in the world and helping others find their potential. I integrate these two concepts with teaching. My teachings come in many forms: in the classroom, coaching sports, writing on my blog, podcasting, and sharing valuable wisdom and information through my social media platforms.

It won’t be an overnight process. It will take some time to figure it out because it requires deep reflection about what you love, what decisions you make, and how you can craft a life of meaning.

Alright, I’m convinced; now what?

Now it’s time to reflect on what you love and what you want to do with your limited time on Earth, and combine those two pieces to solve your purpose puzzle. When the puzzle has been solved, live your purpose as often as you can. Do it with the highest level of passion and engagement you can muster.

Who knows, you might inspire someone else to do the same.

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