“Purpose Determines Outcome”


We drove by a grocery store parking lot. I caught a glimpse of a shopping cart in the middle of one of the spots. My mind immediately went to “let’s pull over and move it out of the way.”

Being the passenger, we kept on driving by. However, I could not get this image out of my head. I thought, “if I did get out and move it, I would have just quickly placed it up on the curb clear of the spot and ran back to the car.” The customer who would eventually park there would appreciate it. But, in a different view, I am making the cart attendant’s job harder. So who am I actually helping? The customer parking, the cart attendant’s efficiency, or just me feeling good about myself? These varying perspectives show me that I could be trying to do my best to be a kind citizen, but with such a vague purpose, I do not set a clear direction in the grayness of life.

This is the type of purpose I have had and one that I have been growing away from as I learn more and more about reality and what actions will create a more respectable and fulfilled character. It is very understandable to have such a vague purpose with how quick our lives are moving in this fast paced, workaholic society, but, when becoming independent, I think we all would benefit from slowing down and seeing where our feet are pointing. “What is my main motivation to act in this situation? I know I said I wanted to be a kind citizen, but what does that mean? And, are my actions really showing this?” For me, when asking myself, “what motivation is behind my actions?” It boils down to the same core goal for each situation:

control my pleasures or learn as a student of life.

It will not be so black and white, although generally finding the core will give me an idea of what my tendency is throughout my days.

Let’s say my purpose in this silly shopping cart example above is to explore reality’s details in order to set up my motivation for an action. I would see: as the person pulling over, I had no time crunch; as the person finding parking, he can find it with ease and not reverse after getting irrationally upset at the person who left the cart there; and, as the cart attendant, he already has a very mundane job and it makes it unnecessarily frustrating when lazy individuals create a game of “Where is Waldo?” Taking in most perspectives lead me to pull over, move the cart, and act on my compassionate common sense in the realm of this situation’s reality.

In my writings and posts, I tend to mention how important it is to get to know who we are inside our minds (as human beings with thoughts, emotions, awareness, and reason). I usually say how this will drive us to a beneficial character. But, it could absolutely not drive us to grow towards that satisfying character. We could be conscious and rational, yet still continue on with superficial activities that leave us feeling empty. After getting to know ourselves and motivations inside, the next step is to define respect.

What is my picture of respect? Abraham Lincoln’s integrity? Henry David Thoreau’s clarity of human motivation? Emerson’s self-reliance? Whatever it is, we need to see what we respect and start sending our feet in that direction.

We may respect someone who spends the majority of her time making a ton of money and collecting and using all the toys of her dreams. We may respect someone who just makes enough money to survive and spends the rest of her time getting to know herself and what will make her days less empty and contain more meaning. Both take up the majority of her time and, unfortunately enough, we cannot choose multiple life-purposes due to the time-constraints of death approaching all of us.

I respect someone who’s main purpose is to:

  1. Have just enough money and skills to survive independently
  2. Live in just enough comfort where the freedom allows her time to:
    • explore reality in her mind, others minds, and life externally
    • test facts from insights over the days of her life-span to experience wisdom
    • come to love the people and activities she has understood so deeply
    • seek an education in the beauty of human innocence/ curiosity and Nature
    • grow and change with her insights to stay connected and in the flow of a compassionate, ever-changing reality

These purposes will determine our motivations. These motivations will determine our personalities. These personalities in the present moment will determine the outcome of the experience.

Yes, we need to see ourselves clearly, but if we want any sort of fulfillment in this life defined by survival then we need to see what character will bring us lasting meaning in our days, years, lifetime, and beyond our life.

Clear all the plans in your schedule. Take away the work week, the chores, the family, the responsibilities.

I am absolutely serious.

Now, only put back what is pointing your feet towards where you want to be…regardless if it is a difficult task or not…full of pain or not…overwhelming or not. You may see that you put them all back for certain reasons…and if that’s the case, now, you will remember why you are doing what you are doing and what motivates you…what burns that desire. You may also take out those activities, people, and motivations that lead you to waste your time here on this planet.

See ourselves. See our life. See our time. See our purpose. See our meaning. Point our feet in our direction.

quote in title – Paul Hatherley

About Kevin Carlstead

I graduated as a hospitality and psychology student at University of Denver. I spent most of my teenage and young adult years in the hospitality industry. I am still searching for what industry suits my personality and talents so that I can feel more meaning throughout my days. My current career pursuit has me enrolled in a graduate program to become a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist. I was born and raised in San Diego, CA. I love music with something to it. I love life with something to it. I have made it one of my purposes in this life to integrate both of these things that I love. This blog and my own songwriting has given me the platforms to do that very thing. Thank you for reading.
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