Striving With Purpose, Row That Boat

February 8, 2017

So, each month I receive a newsletter. In the mail. Yes, in 2017, someone is still printing and mailing a newsletter and I really like it! Sometimes there are interesting coupons but I open it because it’s like a miniature Reader’s Digest in that it contains quotes, trivia, and motivational blurbs; in a day and age of mostly digital content it’s nice to have something in physical form to skim whilst eating a quick dinner or something. One of my favorite quotes in the February edition was

“The cheaper you can live, the greater your options.” ~Mark Cuban

It’s not overly eloquent and won’t go down in the wisdom of the ages or anything, but the principle is awesome. And it, along with some recent book/author recommendations and conversations, has me thinking. For the past 2 years I’ve been so focused on my version of living cheap (which honestly hasn’t been so cheap so don’t think me a martyr) so I could get out of debt. And for even longer than 2 years I have reducing my “stuff” and becoming more of a minimalist. The combination of these things has resulted in me getting a handle on my consumer habits and seeing more clearly what I value and that has been great. And that is why I will keep recommending both budgeting and minimizing.

HOWEVER.

I am awakening to a couple things:

1- it is a luxury to be able to CHOOSE to be a minimalist.

2- the goal of living cheaply is NOT to be permanently satisfied living cheaply. I picture Donald Duck in early cartoons counting gold coins in a treasure chest in a sparsely-furnished room. This may or not be a real cartoon episode but that’s my visual. And now it can be yours too for what we are NOT aiming for.

3- God sees so much more potential in each of us than we see in ourselves and doesn’t intend for us to live below it. We are meant to DO MUCH GOOD with our talents and means.

It boils down to a fundamental principle of life.

We are meant to aim for a purpose.

You can see (as in, witness) purpose in the way some people go about life. You can hear in their voice that they have direction. Something happens when a person, aimlessly drifting in a boat on a lake (you’re welcome for another of my mental images) picks a point of the shore he or she is going to aim for and starts making toward it. If things get in the way, they find a way around them. If waves come up and toss them about a lil’ bit they fight to get back on course.  And eventually, they (really, you and me) will make it!

Having my sights set on getting out of debt – and importantly, on a schedule – has been life changing. I’ve had to get back on course a few several times and regain a visual on my target on the shore. And now that achieving that is so close, I am on a different lake, so to speak, working on setting my next target on the shore. Oh, and here’s where it ties back to Mark Cuban’s quote above: once I am completely debt-free I have a lot more shore to chose from and consider than when I was shackled with 50K of debt. I wrote a quote down yesterday that I found motivating:

“You can have expanded vision when you have fewer chains”. ~Attribution: myself:)

I am so excited for the challenge and exhilaration that lie ahead as I strive toward a purpose slightly loftier than paying off spending sprees and trips-I-shouldn’t-have-afforded. All right, all right, there were some more legit debts in there but you know what I mean. You want to join me in identifying and committing to your purpose?  What’s your vision? What do you think part of your life’s purpose is? What do you think you uniquely are here to contribute/deliver? Here’s to you and me deciding and discerning as best we can and rowing toward shore. Happy rowing*!

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Was Row, Row, Row Your Boat actually a motivational song meant to inspire generations of children? Eh…after refreshing on the lyrics I’m going to suggest a more, er, rousing theme song:)