Munafo Core Values: MCV02 — Know and Serve Your Purpose  


Know and Serve Your Purpose

This core value refers to "purpose in life". Some may choose to refer to this as a mission. There can be disagreement over whether the purpose or mission is chosen by oneself, or is determined externally — but the principles given here are valid so long as you believe your purpose or mission is knowable.

There are several stages in life that apply this core value in different ways.

The first stage is recognizing that you do have a purpose. Everyone and everything has a purpose — anything that does not have a purpose is swept away by something else that does.

The next stage is to realize that your "belief" in what your purpose is, is too narrow, too short-term or just plain completely wrong. You have the realization that your purpose is something you didn't ever actually know.

This stage can be quite long, involving many episodes of purposes assumed and then lost, or abandoned. A person will often take on something they are inspired by, blindly trusting it to be their purpose when in fact it is not. For them it is actually a false purpose, and it can take much time and effort to realize it does not serve them to serve this assumed purpose. This can happen several times with several purposes. Each time they have taken something on as their purpose, without doing the work to clarify that it is really truly the one. Sometimes it takes a midlife crisis to actually believe or accept that this has been happening.

Then you begin to find the true purpose. Finding one's true purpose is a critical task of most people's lives. It should be taken as a serious, long-term effort. Think of ideas, things that might be your purpose, including the various false purposes from your younger days. Look for similarities and differences between them, that can help guide you to the true purpose inside you, that gave you an affinity to the false purposes.

Use close friends to evaluate your thoughts. Rather than ask them what they think, it is more important for them to just listen to you, and perhaps repeat it back to you in their own words, then see how you feel about what you have just said. During this process it is important to make two lists: What you are passionate about, and what you are great at. These lists should be fairly extensive and should cover all aspects of life experience, from physical to emotional, mental and spiritual. For example, here are a few items from each of my lists:

I am passionate about: techno clothes; playing guitar; archetypes; numbers and recreational math; teaching through self-evidently true discourse; history on a grand scale; the study of spiritual disciplines; ...

I am great at: geometric art; charisma; joy; compassion; insight; youthful exuberance; computer programming; organizing information; being a cultural historian; ...

These lists should be created through an introspective process and with the help of those who know you well. Once you have these lists, you can use them as a test for possible life purpose ideas.

Surrounding the universe of what you are passionate about and what you are great at, is a purpose larger than anything you have dared to assume: your purpose.

Your purpose will be something you can pursue for your entire life, and will result in a legacy you can be proud of.

Then of course the final or "mature" stage — armed with clarity as to your purpose, you begin to actually serve it in a dedicated and consistent way. This will be your activity for most of the rest of your life. After enough time serving your purpose, death will no longer be a frightening prospect because there will be so much that you are proud to be leaving behind.

It is the responsibility of everyone to apply their resources efficiently to serve a purpose greater than themselves. To serve your purpose efficiently, check to see that whatever you're doing utilizes what you are great at, and relates to things you are passionate about. If it fails this test, change what you are doing. This is similar in concept to recommitment.

MCV02 for Teams

Teams of course have a purpose too. As with individual purposes, the purpose can be there without anyone realizing what it is. But realizing what it is, and defining it appropriately, will greatly amplify the effectiveness of the team.

When this core value is present:

The team has a purpose, and knows what it is. (+mcv2a)

The team serves its purpose. (+mcv2b)

When this core value is lacking:

The team does not have a purpose, or does not know what it is. (-mcv2a)

The team has a purpose but is not serving that purpose. (-mcv2b)

The team sacrifices serving its own purpose, in favor of serving some other purpose (such as the purpose of the larger organization) (-mcv2b)


Similar ideas are expressed by David Deida in The Way of the Superior Man, chapter 11.

The "passionate about... and great at..." bits began with discussions with former Sterling members near New York, particularly Gould and Alling (via Hoffman).

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