I recently watched an interview Trevor Noah, the former host of the Daily Show, did with Oprah. He asked her after having spoken with so many leaders in fields spanning all areas of interest and society what contributes most effectively to a person’s success. Oprah’s response was simple, “Everything – every choice and movement you make needs to be aligned with your purpose.”
When you know your purpose you can direct your course towards making that path the one you choose to follow. Distractons delay, detour, or completely knock us off course. When you decide what it is that you want to do in this life and in the world – every step and decision you make should be in pursuit of that higher goal. Your energy, be it at rest or in motion, needs to be focused on that goal.
To me it seemed much like writing a novel. Every line needs to have a role. Every word written must be necessary and relevant. Superfluous language or details only distract from your message. The purpose is the clarity of your story. If any line, paragraph, or sentence is not in service to telling your story, delete it. Every word must reveal more about your characters, provide your reader with necessary and relevant information, or it needs to be removed. Anything extra is distracting from that message. As an author this makes sense to me. It creates a solid ground and structure that I can follow. I am on a path and as I make my way towards my goal I only stay on the path that leads to better telling of this story.
According to Oprah, this works in life as well. When you focus on your goal nothing should distract you. I have found that my heart knows what it wants it prioritizes that path anyway. The things I don’t want to do are so difficult for me to force myself to complete. There is mental and sometimes physical resistance to the things that do not serve my true purpose. It’s difficult and draining when I’m doing things that are not in service to my goal.
I would encourage you to look at the things you are doing. What tasks feel like a breeze and you could do them all day? What projects or tasks feel like an absolute slog?
Keep a list beside you as you go through a regular day. Draw a line down the middle of the page. On the left side list the items that feel like a dream and delight you. On the other side of the line write down the tasks you completed but didn’t enjoy at all. Some things are necessary evils, we have to wash the dishes if we want to eat off of clean plates tomorrow. There are also some tasks that we do simply because we feel obligated. What terrible duties do you feel exhausted by? They are taking too much time and energy. Is it possible to delegate these tasks or remove them from your chore list entirely? Are they necessary?
As you subtract those tasks that are not aligned with your true purpose and higher power you may find that not only are you happier but you are also free to pursue more of the good things that bring you joy and align with who you are. It may mean subtracting relationships, tasks, etc. But as you make room in your life for joy, purpose, and your dreams, life becomes a lot richer and more fulfilling. You are create space for those events, people, and projects that deeply nourish you and fuel your pursuit of your goals rather than distracting you from them.