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Personality traits are vivid pointers to our life’s purpose and flaws are often strengths in disguise.

As a child, Julie, the last of six siblings, often got a telling off for being somewhat reclusive. Whilst majority of the family members made a racket, she was content to curl up in a corner with a good book in her lap. Occasionally she would join in of course but it was evident to all that she preferred to wallow in her dream world.

Unsociable as it may seem, some people are wired introverts. And rightly so, I must add. Writers for example are willing to seclude themselves whilst poring endlessly over manuscript drafts, whereas extroverts would find the art of manuscript revision mind-bending to say the least.

Research scientists are usually not the most exciting people you will ever meet, but many are indeed wonderful people and do work that is beneficial to us all. The media often portray computer programmers as geeks and librarians as frumpy bookworms. Although this may not always be the case in real life, eccentricity often swaddles genius.

Whilst there is no excuse for antisocial behaviour, what we perceive as weaknesses in others may actually be their source of strength. Psychologists, Honey and Mumford, class people as activists, reflectors, theorists and pragmatists. Although these categories give us plenty of insight, I believe that people are far too complex to be strictly classified. Answer the following questions to get a better understanding of the layers that make you uniquely purposeful.

Why do you act that way? 

If you are someone who tends to act first and think later for instance, some people may see that as stupidity or rashness, but perhaps you’re wired that way to compensate for the proliferation of people who think things over far too much.

If you are someone who lacks the patience to sit through lengthy lectures, chances are that you are pretty optimistic about change, flexible, spontaneous and happy to work as part of a team.

If you are the sort of person who likes to stand back to ponder experiences and contemplate issues from various perspectives, you have those reflector-abilities for good reason. Likewise if you’re happier adapting your observations into convoluted albeit workable theories, you may bore certain people to tears but you also contribute valuable logical insight.

Pragmatists like to try things out to see if they ‘really’ work in practice. Do you wind people up with your love for experimentation? Take heart. But for your down-to-earth, business-like, straight-to-the-point approach, the world would be in a far sorrier state.

Your personality traits determine where you fit in the grand scheme of things. Improve yourself and seek balance but don’t suppress your faults – simply channel them more positively. Stubbornness is frowned upon, for instance, but channeled positively can translate to persistence, confidence and resilience.

More clues to purpose include:

  • Your location (where you live, where you are positioned…)
  • Your generation (the era and timing of your existence)
  • Your situation (the trials and pain you’ve been through)
  • Your personal style (your talents and abilities; the natural way you shine)
  • Your heritage (your culture, values and tradition)
  • Your reputation (the feedback you receive from others)
  • Your passion and desire…

To understand life’s purpose is to know your reason for living – in this context, your positioning in the world of work.

The key of purpose unlocks the deepest mysteries of life and determines how wildly we succeed. Don’t squander your precious time on empty rituals. Find the reason you are here and rise gallantly to the challenge!

(c) Ogo Ogbata: a book excerpt 

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The Editor

Ogo Ogbata is a writer, teacher, innovator and strategist.

7 Comments

Adanna · October 8, 2009 at 4:07 am

Sometimes I wonder why I am here ? Why are so many people insensitive to other people’s feelings?

O.G · October 8, 2009 at 10:06 pm

You’re right, Adanna, many people truly act like they don’t care about others. We are all here to make a positive impact though, so I look at the many problems in this world as opportunities to rise to the challenge.

What are you gifted at? What makes you come alive? What could you change if money wasn’t an object and fear wasn’t a factor? What do people miss about you when you’re not there? The answers to these questions contain clues to the reason why you’re here…

Suma · October 21, 2009 at 1:38 am

Parents have a great role to play in their children’s development. They are the first teachers and are looked up to as role models… so in a way I could say that as parents we do contribute to ‘the purpose agenda’ in addition to the genetical and environmental factors.

Adela · October 21, 2009 at 5:31 am

With my age and experience I’d like to think that I know what my purpose in life is and how to deal with the trials that come my way. I am an outgoing type of woman and that helps but there is always something new to learn, I suppose…

Nakchura · October 23, 2009 at 5:22 pm

Is purpose different from knowing one’s reason to live? That got me thinking. I get your point here and unlocking our purpose would be great. But you know what, I do not think we should really look for purpose. We have the freedom of choice – the capability to think for ourselves. Therefore I think that even if we have specific purpose, we can still make ours whatever it is that we want it to be.

O.G · October 25, 2009 at 5:07 pm

@ Suma: Absolutely. Parents do play a big role. We should look for clues to purpose in the areas of our lives where they have made an impact e.g heritage.

@ Nakchura: Purpose is the real reason we have been put on this earth. Each person has been equipped for a specific purpose so it’s not enough to choose whatsoever we wish as our reason for being here. That would be like a tea spoon deciding to become a shovel and vice versa.

PowerfulWoman · December 5, 2009 at 12:41 pm

I believe my purpose lies in another country so I’m determined to get a working visa and hope I can fill the need that people have for something I can provide.

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