“Serendipity can be developed, as an attitude of the mind and as a quality of the spirit. It can energize and excite our lives and give us balance between structure and spontaneity, between flat, fixed firmness and free, fun flexibility. It can allow us to ‘get there’ and to ‘enjoy the journey’ at the same time. It can tap us into a higher, clearer reality and inject joy into what is no longer the routine.” ~ Richard Eyre in Spiritual Serendipity: Cultivating and Celebrating the Art of the Unexpected
The term serendipity was coined way back in the eighteenth century by a British writer, Horace Walpole, who defined it as: “that quality of mind, which through awareness, sagacity, and good fortune, allows one to frequently discover something good while seeking something else.” But as Richard Eyre points out in the opening quote, you can also view serendipity as more than a “quality of the mind” but also as a quality of the spirit, and when you do, serendipity can create a bridge between your will and the will of the Divine.
I also believe that there’s a special relationship that exists (or that can be created) between spiritual serendipity and life purpose. It’s a relationship that I’ve been exploring and developing for over sixteen years, and it’s simply this: The clearer you are about your life purpose and the more you live in tune with that purpose, the more serendipity you will attract into your life. Over time that serendipity becomes a key way to attract the resources into your life that supports your purpose.
For this relationship to really make sense we need to back up just a bit and look more closely at what I mean by life purpose. You see, I believe we are evolving beyond the cultural definition that says a person’s life purpose is all about what they are here to do or to accomplish. Instead, it’s time we embraced the idea that our Divinely Inspired Life Purpose is more about who we are as spiritual beings and what we came here to this life to be and to experience. When we view our life purpose in this way, we can see that our life purpose becomes the context, vessel or container into which we pour our life. This context of being, then has the power to shape and form all the rest of our life including our decisions, choices, and actions.
For example, for the past decade-and-a-half I’ve poured my life into this context:
My life on purpose is to live an inspired, inspiring and courageously creative life of purposeful, passionate, and playful service; a life of mindful abundance balanced with simplicity; and spiritual serenity.
Allowing this Divinely Inspired Life Purpose to be a primary shaper of my decisions, choices and actions led me to create my first Purpose Project entitled Project Purpose: to write and publish articles about people whose lives are dedicated to a bold and inspiring purpose or vision.
Living true to our Divinely Inspired Life Purpose in this way can also greatly increase our ability to live a serendipitously joyful life because we begin to attract to us all the resources we need to be our life purpose and to express our life purpose. Remember Walpole’s definition: “that quality of mind, which through awareness, sagacity, and good fortune, allows one to frequently discover something good while seeking something else.”
Now, let’s look at this definition from a Life On Purpose Perspective.
Attracting Serendipity On Purpose
The clearer we become of our Divinely Inspired Life Purpose the more in alignment we bring our personal will with the will of the Divine because our life purpose is divinely inspired. Our personal life purpose becomes aligned with the Grand Plan and Design of the Universe. So by increasing our awareness of our true purpose, we also maintain a degree of sagacity that Walpole refers to. We begin to exercise “the quality of being discerning, sound in judgment, and farsighted.” So, as we’re seeking something else, ie our life on purpose, we discover — actually attract to ourselves — something good, all the resources we need to express and to fulfill on our life purpose.
Let me share a couple examples how this has worked in my own life.
The Evolution of Project Purpose
One of the primary motivations in creating Project Purpose was to inspire people to live more purposeful and meaningful lives. I figured people might read these purposeful profiles and think, “Well if that person can do such amazing things in their community, I can at least do something that will contribute and make a difference in my community.” That was what I originally started out searching for. What I didn’t realize is that in the process of interviewing dozens of people living true to their own purpose, I ended up also inspiring myself. I began to realize that most of the people I interviewed had chosen to express their life purpose in some organized fashion — either a nonprofit or for profit enterprise. I started to think: “Well, if they can do that, why can’t I?” And so in 1996 my wife and I did just that. We co-founded Life On Purpose Institute which became our ‘something good.’
As I continued to live true to my life purpose I attracted two people who asked to translate my book, Life On Purpose: Six Passages to an Inspired Life into Russian and Italian.
A Recipe for a Powerful Long Lasting Life Purpose
Imagine you want to make up a batch of life purpose; one that will be powerful enough to shape your life, long-lasting enough to last your entire life (or beyond), and yet at the same time that offers plenty of room to fully express yourself. Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
1) Your Vision: What is your vision for your life, for your family, community and even the world? Exploring this question will help you connect with that sense of awe, wonder, and possibility that’s so important in living a purposeful life.
2) Your Core Values: What are those intangibles of life that you’d be willing to give your life for? Our core values are those intangibles of life that matter the most to us. Those that we have consciously chosen over all the others that people might say we should value. These are the ones that matter the most — that we’d give our life for. Now, that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re ready to stand in front of a firing squad for them, although it might (and for sure many people in history have). What it does mean is that we’re willing to devote a portion of our life energy to have these core values be more present in our own lives and in the world.
3) Being: the Essence of Who We Are: Who are you at the very core of your being or soul? What qualities and attributes do you know you can count on from yourself and that others can count on as well?
4) Universal Love: This is the key ingredient that binds all the others together into a powerful, long-lasting and yet flexible life purpose. A true and authentic life purpose arises from and is an expression of this Universal Love. This is also the ingredient that makes the life purpose Divinely Inspired.
Remember, it’s never too early or too late to bring clarity of purpose to your life. At Life On Purpose Institute we’ve helped people as young as ten and as old as eighty-three bring such clarity to their lives and in the process start in motion a very powerful force — serendipity on purpose.