We’re often told to find our unique purpose, but what if there wasn’t anything to find? What if we all have the same purpose, with different ways to get there?

Last week I shared a “formula” for finding your purpose sweet spot that I discussed with Paul Sohn in episode 58 of The Quarter Life Comeback podcast.

I highly recommend you check that out, but as a basic recap, Paul shared that our sweet spot is at the intersection between our personality, our gifts, our passions and our life experience.

I also pointed out that we then need to tie those things into what people need, otherwise we run the risk of pursuing a hobby, rather than a calling.

But all these definitions and formulas are based on the assumption that we actually have a unique purpose in our lives.

My question is: What if we don’t?

Now before I get bombarded with hate mail, let me explain.

I don’t mean that we’re just put on Earth for no reason until we the day we die.

What I’m exploring is simply another perspective on the “find your purpose” landscape.

This curiosity came after reading the Philosopher’s Note of David Deida’s The Way of the Superior Man.

In this great book, Deida shares an alternative model for finding your purpose in life via the following passage:

“As you open yourself to living at your edge, your deepest purpose will slowly begin to make itself known. In the meantime, you will experience layer after layer of purposes, each one getting closer and closer to the fullness of your deepest purpose. It is as if your deepest purpose is at the center of your being, and it is surrounded by concentric circles, each circle being a lesser purpose. Your life consists of penetrating each circle, from the outside toward the center. As you dissolve each layer and move toward the center, you will more and more be living from your deeper purposes, and then your deepest heart purpose, whatever it is, in every moment.”

What he’s suggesting is that instead of viewing our purpose as this one thing we set out to discover, we have many different purposes at different stages of our lives.

A simpler way to think of this is seeing our true purpose as a ball, surrounded by layers of different missions. As we grow, experiment and explore different things that interest us, we start moving through these missions, each time getting closer to that core purpose.

So why did I suggest that you don’t have a unique purpose?

Because I actually like to combine this theory with another insight I learned via Brian Johnson.

The exact source escapes me, but what Brian suggested is that we all have the same purpose, which is to actualize our potential; to become the greatest version of ourselves we can possibly be.

So coming back to Deida’s model, this universal purpose would be at the core, while the layers of missions surrounding it would be unique to the individual.

For example, I’ve always been inspired by personal development and helping others. At one stage of my life, that looked like personal training. But as time wore on, that went one layer deeper and became health coaching, which then evolved into life coaching. Each time, I’ve moved closer to my core purpose of actualizing my potential (by helping others grow).

This leads to the next important question: How do you know when it’s time to move on?


Coming back to Deida, he goes on to offer this:

“Each purpose, each mission, is meant to be fully lived to the point where it becomes empty, boring, and useless. Then it should be discarded. This is a sign of growth, but you may mistake it for a sign of failure.”

Here are some more practical ways of knowing that he shares in the book:

1. You suddenly have no interest whatsoever in a project or mission that previously motivated you highly.

2. You feel surprisingly free of any regrets for starting or ending the project.

3. Even though you may not know what you’re going to do next, you feel clear, unconfused, and unburdened.

4. You feel an increase in energy at the prospect of ending the project.

5. The project seems almost silly. You could do it, but why would you want to?

So which model do you prefer? The intersection-based sweet spot or the universal core purpose surrounded by unique missions? Either way, let’s embrace the journey of exploring and experimenting with awesome ways to actualize our potential.


I’d love to hear your thoughts. Shoot me a tweet @BryanTeare and lemme know your biggest takeaways. Alternatively, hit reply on my email newsletter.


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