Life without a purpose

We all need a reason to get up in the morning. For some, that reason is elusive. MICHAEL PHILLIPS.

Michael Phillips

By Michael Phillips

I got to see my new niece for the first time last weekend and this has put me in a reflective frame of mind. Normally babies don’t really float my boat, but to see some flesh and blood (even if it is only 25cm long) and the beauty of human creation, I suddenly felt a need to reassess.

Not that I’m heading to India to smoke the peace pipe and weave cotton, but it does make you question your existence.

How did I become what I am now (no judgements please) from when I was only 25cm long and, more importantly, what makes us lead a happy life and what makes a sad life?

Now I only have around 400 words to get all this into text, and I’ve already wasted 130, so it will be short and sweet – and while I don’t plan on tapping the deep well that is the “meaning of life”, I feel I’ve found some answers. Or one in particular.

Discussing the birth of his first child with my brother-in-law, it dawned on me the importance in life of “purpose”. Without it, what is there?

Purpose is also a very broad term as everyone’s purpose will be different. Some will be self-oriented, some will find a purpose in assisting others but we all are trying to find that reason for existence.

The other thing I’ve found is that your purpose is constantly evolving. At five, I think my reason for being would have been some Fruit Loops and watching Thunderbirds at 6am. At 12 it was more friendship and sport based.

As for 18, this is not really the time or the place to go into what my purpose was then. Let’s just say it involved “experience” and was driven by something other than heart and mind. Then you hit your 20s, and this is where the purpose becomes relevant to Gen-Y and the workplace.

In your 20s and for some people 30s, work becomes a strong source of motivation and can determine a person’s overall satisfaction with their lives and themselves. This is also where the birth of your own children can then provide even greater purpose to achieve and fulfil your life. But this is not for everyone. Some find it in sports cars and diamond rings, however short lived that purpose may be.

It all seems a bit vague and a bit too warm and cuddly, but the point is that you need to identify your purpose, whether it be over a drink with friends, a soul-searching trip to the Himalayas or staring at a new born child.

Everybody is battling to find fulfilment by identifying their purpose and building their lives around that. I mean, how often nowadays are people taking sabbaticals or leaving their jobs to chase their dreams? It’s becoming more and more prevalent.

You can’t blame them though; after all, it’s better to chase your dream and live for a purpose than to accept mediocrity and die wondering….


Michael Phillips is a 29-year old CPA managing a business full of Gen-Ys. He’s the Commercial Manager of Cremorne Group which wholesales and retail mens and womens apparel, including the Tommy Hilfiger, Blazer and Perri Cutten brands. He offers his experience as a pioneering Gen-Y managing Gen-Ys, covering issues such as how to recruit, retain and get the most out of Gen-Y – the notoriously difficult younger generation of employees aged 15 to 30.


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Joyie writes: Hi Michael, I can’t agree more that people are all searching for a purpose or destiny and it’s because it’s built in our DNA. We are all on earth for a purpose and it’s our mission to find it out. When one thinks of the fact that no one is going to remember us for what we have done at work or what system we created – yeah it may leave some legacy, but at the end of the day after a few generations, it becomes history. What is important is at that point in life, you have a go and you live the life you’re meant to live and you touch the people you are meant to touch. I was reading another SmartCompany interview and the owner of a multi-million business was talking about god and how faith matters. It does. There is a purpose in everyone’s life!



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