Your Challenge: Do Something Without A Purpose


this blog post is part of a series, #oneblogpostaday.

the first part of this series is focused on purpose + career.

This is a reminder to have fun.

To do things without a purpose. Or a plan. Or an end goal.

It might sound ironic, but sometimes the biggest lessons in life, the ones that change us the most - actually never had a “purpose” to begin with.

In our modern world today, we’re conditioned to make decisions that lead up to a larger plan: Become soccer captain to put on your resume for college. Join this fraternity to make connections for a job. Work at this company because it looks good for business school.

But, if it were up to us - would we actually choose to do those things? Or are we only doing them because our parents/friends/the world tells us so?

Personally, I’ve tried to make decisions consciously. Whether that’s doing some travel without an end goal, or starting a blog for fun - sometimes we just need to do things because they feel good. Because they fill our soul. Because our gut is telling us to go for it.

A little story about not doing things on purpose

Back in the day, I was quite the overachiever.

Even though I wasn’t trying for it, I ended up realizing that I had enough credits to graduate college a semester early. For me, that meant less student loans to owe.

And that also meant - four months of freedom.

Most of my other overachieving peers who also decided to graduate early got a headstart on work. They wanted to get promoted earlier, pay of their loans sooner, and start living their real lives…now.

For me? I knew that these were the last four months I’d ever have in this honeymoon phase: I had a great job lined up to start that summer, so I made the decision to backpack for four months. Solo.

When I thought about it - there was no real purpose other than to relax and see the world. I wasn’t going to volunteer in a developing country or work for a cool start up in Hong Kong. I was going to Australia and New Zealand to hang out on the beach, learn to surf, and see a part of the world I had only dreamed of.

Purpose? Zero. Plan? Well, I had every single day planned out to a tee, but my overarching goal was nothing short of having fun.

Everyone, except me was utterly confused. They couldn’t understand why I would spend these four precious months traveling without a goal. Without a plan. Without a purpose.

…when I could be working already (for cryin’ out loud!). Didn’t I have loans to pay, they wondered? Didn’t I want to be on the fast track to promotion?

Deep down, I knew the answers were no. I wanted to live a full life. And so, I forged ahead.

But, a few weeks into my trip, I remember this feeling of fear and insecurity come over me. The initial excitement had worn off, and society’s pressures were starting to weigh on me. Why didn’t I spend this time productively, I wondered? Why didn’t I try starting a company or volunteering or anything besides hanging out on the beach all day?

I shared my worries with one of my new friends, Lisa, a blunt girl from Germany. She reassured me (with her blunt, German humor). Lisa, wise beyond her years, reminded me that sometimes the moments in life that are most impactful, most memorable, most enjoyable - are those without a larger purpose.

They are those when we are just purely living in the moment.

That trip literally changed my life.

I attribute those four months to the largest turning point in my life so far. Because, in that period of just living, of zero pressure - I saw that “success” doesn’t need to be defined in the way that I was always taught.

We don’t need to work our entire lives to become rich and powerful. That happiness actually comes from the inside. That “success” might look like relaxing on a beach in Australia, with one backpack to your name.

That period of No Purpose completely changed my own.

So, try to just live a little. Do things without a grander plan. Collect experiences that drive you; that fill you up.

Because, you never know how they might change your life.

Katina Mountanos