Steven Spielberg started making films when he was a boy in a middle-class suburban household, using the family’s home-movie camera. At 17, he had a one-night showing for his first feature-length film, a science-fiction thriller called Firelight, netting $600. The next day, his family moved to California, where his mediocre school record got him rejected by the University of Southern California, not once but three times. He attended California State University–Long Beach, but dropped out to pursue his career.
In 2002, he finally earned his bachelor’s degree, but by then he had already won four Oscars, including the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award, and he was sitting on USC’s Board of Trustees.
Great success like Spielberg’s often flows from a purposeful life. Yes, he’s acquired fame and fortune, but it’s clear that film-making was his passion — and his spiritual purpose — from a very young age, long before he made money doing it. In fact, he got his start as an unpaid, seven-days-a-week intern at Universal Studios, where he made his first short film for theatrical release, Amblin, a name that he later gave to his production company. And along with his success, he has engaged in a wide variety of philanthropic efforts.
The Purpose-Driven Highway
All of us have a genius within us. For Steven Spielberg, it was in film. What area is your genius in?
All of us can experience the benefits of a purposeful life, yet few make it their life purpose to find the genius within themselves. This purpose includes not only achieving a task or getting a big paycheck, but also making the world around you a better place.
Money without purpose brings little reward. Imagine sleeping on a mattress bursting with thousand-dollar bills — it might be worth a lot, but it will bring you limited long-term gratification and sustainable comfort.
Purpose: Your Vision of the Role You Play in the Universe
When I talk about purpose, I’m thinking of something that will flow through the course of your lifetime, as film-making did with Spielberg. Purpose is our vision of the role we play in the Universe, and accomplishing that purpose can help us steer around the potholes of our past and avoid the dead ends and detours that lead us away from our best selves.
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You may already have a purpose and need some support in pursuing it. Or you may be drifting from paycheck to paycheck, without any real purpose. You can change that. I challenge you to identify your purpose and to overcome the roadblocks that stand between you and its achievement.
As is true for everyone, there is a wondrous purpose only you may know about and whose fulfillment can give your life its great lift. Inner strength comes from the fountain of your gifts and talents and the passion that drives them.
Imagine that you get a call from your bank. A rich uncle you didn’t know about has died, and half of his estate — $50 million — has dropped into your account. You’re not as rich as Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, but if you’re careful with your investments, you’ve just been liberated from the need to earn a paycheck — ever. The following exercise will help you identify your higher calling with regards to your work life.
Exercise: Finding Your Bliss
If you’re already doing work that’s in alignment with your heart’s desire and your signature strengths, that’s great. If not, then spend some time thinking about the following questions. You should put the answers in your journal.
- Do you know immediately what you would do if this happened? Besides buying a house in Hawaii and a new Porsche?
- When you were a child imagining a grown-up life, what did you want to be?
- What were you good at doing? What came naturally to you?
- What was the most fun?
- What do you turn to now when a vacation comes up? Do you even take your paid time off? Do you stay intoxicated when on vacation?
- Who do you wish you were, and why?
If you find that your dream job is not the path that you are now following, consider starting to look into what it would take to create a job that’s in alignment with your dreams. A word of caution: Do not quit your day job, as you’ll need to keep things going while you’re working on finding your dream job!
An Inner Purpose and an Outer Purpose
Purpose is twofold: an inner purpose and an outer purpose. Our inner purpose is to achieve self-actualization, whereas our outer purpose is to impact the environment around us. If we are aware of our natural talents and build a life that is in alignment with those talents, we will be passionate and purpose-driven. This might be your dream job or it might be raising a family of three or bringing kindness and understanding to the lives of the people we meet.
You need to stay on what I call a “purpose-driven highway,” rather than bobbing around at sea. You also need to keep your memory green about the road you’ve already traveled and hold its lessons close at hand. They show you how you got to today.
This highway, our life’s purpose, lies before us all. We won’t get there in one swoop. Mile marker by mile marker, however, we’ll know we’re on the road to our destiny. We must surround ourselves with other people who are vibrating at levels that support our personal and professional endeavors.
Once you have named a purpose — or vision — make a list of the steps you need to take to achieve it. These steps are your goals, and they should be clear and measurable.
©2013 by Rajiv Juneja. All Rights Reserved,
Reprinted with permission of the publisher,
Hay House Inc. www.hayhouse.com
You Are More Than That: A Guide to Embracing the Spiritual Being Within and Becoming Fully Human
by Rajiv Juneja M.D.
Our lives can follow a different story than one that leaves us restless and unfulfilled, and we need not repeat behavior that defeats growth. I’m More Than That looks into your richest strategies for coping with yourself and becoming fully purposeful beyond mere comfort zones. Even if we may fall short of our hopes and expectations, Dr. Raj shows that we are better than we think and can find strength through greater self-understanding. A new you is within arm’s reach once you face your fears of falling short. You are more than that.
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About the Author
Rajiv Juneja, M.D., M.S., is double board-certified in adult psychiatry and addiction medicine. Prior to attending St. George’s University School of Medicine, he underwent graduate training in neurosciences at Northwestern University. Recently, Dr. Raj completed a fellowship at the University of Arizona, studying integrative and alternative medicine under Dr. Andrew Weil. He currently chairs the committee on public education for the American Psychiatry Association’s New Jersey chapter. Dr. Raj practices adult psychiatry, addiction psychiatry, and integrative psychiatry and is an individual and family therapist in New York and New Jersey. Website: www.thedrraj.com