Three Points of View
This book contains three different ways for participants to process the activity. These three points of view are just three different ways a participant can look at the activity, pick which one fits best and operate from a point of view that is the most natural for you.
Faith Point of View
When I teach about Purpose I have found most people will inevitably end up talking about God. For many of us our internal definition of purpose is filtered through our learned and experienced faith beliefs. There is a group that sees God as the ‘strict puppet master’ pulling the strings of life connected to our circumstances. This group may also interpret individual purpose as pointless to determine because people don’t have an essential role in the outcome.
I however, see God as all loving, forgiving, the essence of empathy and support, and therefore much of my understanding of Purpose is filtered through my lenses of faith. My goal in writing this book is not to proselytize on what is the right or wrong view of faith. The intent is to spur the internal probing questions that when seriously contemplated give us all a framework in which to interpret Purpose for ourselves in our environments. It has value when applied in the context of real life and our impact on community. Our discussion in the activity only works when it is followed by acts that serve the community.
For people who are navigating fulfilled lives with a healthy, productive, and nonviolent expression of faith, I suggest you interpret the concepts in this activity through the paradigm of your faith. Many people are in the natural process grappling with questions and concepts of faith. We all see ultra religious people making moral mistakes and even the worst kinds of weapons for mass death in the name of their god. I understand where these critiques are coming from. Instead of throwing this activity out with the religious self-help material, it may be more effective if you interpret the activity through a nonreligious point of view, such as utility or value added.
Utility Point of View
Utility basically means ‘use’ or usefulness. In the end that’s what purpose boils down to …“Usefulness”.
We look at the world through these eyes. What is it good for? How can it be used to help people?
I suggest we look at our examination of Purpose in Life, by asking ourselves the question: What makes me uniquely useful and how can I perfect that talent? What is my internal gold (precious item) that opens doors for me and makes me uniquely important? This activity will help to answer the following questions:
1. Why do some people recognize my talent and others don’t?
2. How can I position myself to be where my talent is best used?
Value Added Point of View (Entrepreneurship)
Another healthy way to look at this activity is through the Value Added Point of View. This looks at what value a product or service adds to others lives, or in the case of businesses to the marketplace. For example the genius of science and the brilliance of math brings together creations like “smart phones” which are made for the specific purpose of adding new services to the average phone, which now make the device more valuable to the user. A mentor of my mine Dr. Kelly Hill says “even the person who make fries at McDonalds adds value to those of us who consume the fries, but the person who knows how to build or fix the machine that fries the fries brings an added value. There are a finite number of people who can fix the machine versus frying the fries”.
This point of view makes value added the blossoms of the flower called purpose. Once individuals are steeped in purpose they move toward their destiny with vigor and passion. It is it harder for these purpose-identified people to get in trouble through senseless activity like, violence, abuse, or negligence. It is only when we loose our confidence in our purpose and our innate abilities that we feel our lives and our talents add no value. This negative thinking causes us to make poor decisions.
Through the Value Added point of view, our value can be quantified and strategically developed to make ourselves (and the product or service we provide) even more valuable. This is one of the main reasons to pursue college, trade school, and apprenticeship study. It is the ability to become even more proficient at our talent. This process allows our talent to become more valuable to people and to the marketplace. When I was teaching at The Shaw University in Raleigh North Carolina, I would have an overwhelming amount of the same inquires from students in my classes. They would ask me “Mr. Drakeford how can learning this make me money or get a job”. This common question was rooted in the essential inquiry on purpose and how making money to support one’s family is the foundation to surviving, providing, and thriving in the American market economy. The question is a good one, because it forces us to answer how does the development of my skills help me to make money, and effectively navigate the marketplace. This question becomes more perplexing in the midst of seeing rap stars and reality TV actors making a lot of money with little to no skill development.
Value and money are positively correlated so even untalented reality TV stars add value to their faithful viewers (even if it makes the viewers themselves feel better about their own talents). Each of us has a role to play in adding value to others lives, our communities, and the world. The role we play can be measured through the performance of a job, the sales of a product or service, or word of mouth recommendations for the quality of our work. The key is not to allow the circumstances, pressures, and cravings of money to sidetrack our forward progress towards adding value to others. The Value Added Point of View is a viable way for each of us to look at this activity in our search towards answering the questions:
“What value do I add to my community?”
“What in the world am I here for?”