Since high school it seems like I’ve been beat over the head with being told my purpose is my future occupation. “Do what you love and the money will come” ,”You’re going to be a famous artist selling your pieces all over the world! I’ve heard this shit so much and let me tell you..I did what I loved and the money did not come and I never ended up famous in any regards. One thing I was also told was some story about how some famous person was bullied in school and became rich and famous and the bullies? they never amounted anything! Well, let me tell you this only comes out to be so/so true. And with few guidance counselors aware of my home life growing up they would often tell me the story of Oprah. First off, Fuck Oprah and second, was that the only successful black woman they knew of?
Reason #1 Our Careers don’t define our purpose:
For so long I was told my path dictated my purpose. If I went to art school I would be a artist saddled with $100,000+ in student loan debt and truly starving or I could be a doctor or lawyer and be saddled with $175,000+ in student loan debt., but at least I’m making the big bucks to pay it off! riiight?! The world was somehow my oyster and I could be anything I wanted and it was through my chosen occupation that I was to have true happiness, a home, financial security, a nice car, and somehow everything in my life fit perfectly. All I had to do was choose correctly.
Here’s why I say “Fuck Oprah”. Oprah story is a one in a million story. She aligns her purpose with the massive following she’s gained, billions of dollars she’s accrued, and her ability to get people to confess their deep dark secrets to the public under the guise that “we are all the same” and “My purpose to connect people to each other”. She also sells white womanhood to white women, but I’ll be nice. My biggest issue with Oprah is her preaching life purpose as if our occupation are what truly defines us. I have to say, no not always. Having worked with lawyers who regret going to law school, but continue to work as one because it’s a good check, having worked with artists who regret going to art school because all they got out of it was skill and maybe a few connections and they’re not even doing the art they wanted to do!
But what if Oprah lost all of her wealth? Her following? what if white women turned on her? would she say it God wanted to teach her a lesson in being happy with less? Would she no longer be blessed? or would she continue to feel the way she does that her life’s purpose was her occupation?
Another example that comes to mind is an athlete. An athlete who is brought up to believe their only way out of poverty is to play sports. Lets say this athlete suffers an injury in college and this athlete was days away from being signed. What if the injury they sustained caused them to be unable to play sports ever again ….was it their purpose to fail? because I hear people throw God’s name out as an explanation to why they’re blessed and why they have success. God is also why they have a prestigious career, and money from said career, but what about the people who failed? Did they not believe enough? were they not ambitious enough? did they not dedicate themselves enough to the game? what about them?
I’m sure they ended up feeling stuck, what are they to do with themselves when they were told they could achieve greatness? who are they now because they had not? What does the future hold for someone who did not fulfill their so-called purpose in life. And what did that make them were they vain people? were they not good enough human beings? is what I think anyone thinks of when they fail…Yet with athletes they racked up medical bill debt and may not have graduated from college,but was their life’s purpose really to win championship, a super bowl, where people who love sports know their name? and unless they have million dollar endorsements it would be forgotten in 15 years. Was it their purpose really to have a moment in forgotten history? and if so what is beyond that? more million dollar endorsements?
and this is where I call bullshit.
Reason #2 on why I don’t believe in life’s purpose: Wealth
It has been told over and over the story of the would- be entertainer. Sleeping in their car, living totally strapped of cash, and having friends laugh at them instead of believing in their ability to make it to the top. This story is told by Tiffany Haddish, Tyler Perry, I think Jim Carrey, Salim Akil (Love Is__)Steve Harvey, Ne-Yo, etc. Maybe some of them had others who believed in them, maybe some of them didn’t sleep in their car, but had no where to go. Yeah they struggled often for months or years at a time.
The story gets fucking old. When I was in my struggle to greatness phase when I started a failed business venture.. I had worked two jobs, I hardly slept, I took all the money I earned from my second job to put into my business, I worked day and night on my business, and even quit a decent paying job I hated to follow a passion. I said affirmations every morning, I gave myself six months to make my dreams happen. By month one-my dream was dead when I had to have an emergency surgery with absolutely no insurance. My business in total made $221.00 in just one year and even though I was praised for creative and innovative designs. I had neither the cultural or social capital to make my career happen.
Usually these people know somebody that know somebody or if they don’t they have the masochistic urge to keep going. Again they get to where they’re going, but are they even happier? Some of them long for simpler times, some express biting off what they chewed, and some go on to do TED Talks on how money didn’t make them happy and being rich wasn’t a legitimate identity.
Some people who aren’t in the industry had some sort of leg up despite claiming not to have one.. Bill Gates was already rich, Daymond John mother put up her home as collateral, usually some wealthy rich person had someone to help them or give them a slight leg up whether its borrowing them money out their pocket, having connections, or
So then if wealth or a career driven life isn’t our purpose what is?
I don’t believe that I meant to succeed while others suffer. I don’t believe that my purpose is to create a happy moment for others, make music that people are conceived to, or make pieces of art that most people find ugly that increases in value while I’m almost dead. My purpose isn’t to be the toast of the town, to be in history books, to be defined only in life by that one thing I did.
I’m here. I’m alive. I want to make the most of life,but my life will not be measured by what I can or can’t achieve.. If I’m not rich or famous, I’m still someone of value and you are too.
Too many people put pressures on themselves worrying about what other people think of them; often to the point where they believe they don’t matter. YOU DO! Too many people worry about how they look to others, but never think of what they truly look like to themselves.