Saturday, February 06, 2010

Purpose


ΝO ONE CAN ADVISE or help you - no one. There is only one thing you should do. Go into yourself. Find out the reason that commands you to write; see whether it has spread its roots into the very depths of your heart; confess to yourself whether you would have to die if you were forbidden to write. This most of all: ask yourself in the most silent hour of your night: must I write? Dig into yourself for a deep answer. And if this answer rings out in assent, if you meet this solemn question with a strong, simple "I must," then build your life in accordance with this necessity; your whole life, even into its humblest and most indifferent hour, must become a sign and witness to this impulse.


-Rainer Maria Rilke

When I was younger, I loved watching movies. My particular favourites were Pretty Woman, Dirty Dancing, The Cutting Edge and Sister Act 1 and 2 (there is no accounting for taste). I really enjoyed one scene in particular in Sister Act 2 – it was when Whoopi Goldberg overheard Lauryn Hill singing and realized how talented and passionate she was and that she was not going to pursue her dreams due to her defeatist attitude (and overbearing mother).

She cornered her one afternoon on her way home from school and said:

I went to my mother who gave me this book called Letters To A Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke. He’s a fabulous writer. A fellow used to write to him and say: I want to be a writer, please read my stuff. And Rilke says to this guy; don’t ask me about being a writer. If when you wake up in the morning you can think of nothing but writing, then you’re a writer. I’m gonna say the same thing to you. If you wake up in the morning and you can’t think of anything but singing first, then you’re supposed to be a singer girl.

Purpose is the thing in your life you will fight for. It is the ground you will defend at any cost. Purpose is not the same as ‘incentive,’ but rather the motor behind it, the end that drives why you have energy for some things and not for others. Purpose is the sail on the boat, the yeast in the bread. Once you know your purpose – that is, what matters – then everything else can fall into place. Getting your purpose clear is your defining truth. What is the purpose of your life? Whatever it is, it had better be something for which you will cross a narrow plank 175 feet above the ground, gusts of wind or no gusts, seven days a week no questions asked.

And, by the way, Lauryn Hill ended up being an amazing singer.

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