What Would You Do on Purpose?
"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practice resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms..."
Henry David Thoreau
I've always strived to live deliberately. It's rare that I do or even say something unintentionally. I weigh the possible outcomes and contemplate everything. The reason is that I just care, a lot. I want to be a light in people's, and that requires intentionality.
I've always been a student of Thoreau and often revisit his works for inspiration. I think many people see his work as an overarching philosophy of living a life of purpose and depth. While I agree, I think it goes deeper than that.
Thoreau valued each moment, each nuance, every interaction with humanity and nature, every response, every thought, and word. He did not want to "practice resignation".
When I hear someone say, "it's fine, it's not that big of a deal", or "don't worry about it, we'll just..." or "it will be fine", and other statements of that nature, it makes me cringe. It feels like such a wasted opportunity, and in some ways, a deliberately negative investment.
We always have a choice. Always.
I believe Thoreau was challenging us to be deliberate about each and every moment, not just the big picture. For our lives are but a collection of fleeting moments strung together to create our reality.
In each moment, I don't look for the easiest or quickest path or look to the status quo to inform my response. Instead, I ask myself, "What would you do on purpose". If I really thought about the best response to this person, this circumstance, this opportunity, what would I do or say?
I want to live an intentional life full of purpose, fulfillment, and joy. And I believe that path is forged by intentionality in every moment, not just the big ones.
In each moment, ask yourself, "What would I do on purpose?".