‘”Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.’
Lewis Carroll, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
Direction is a word that is often used to describe how to organise our lives. Having a direction, a clear and focused one, is seen as ‘good’; not having one, or not knowing where one is going, or why, is ‘bad’. Purpose and/or passion are often used in the same way: again, ‘finding’ or ‘having one’ is seen as ‘good’; lacking such knowledge is considered a weakness.
Sometimes it can feel like a bit of a minefield: looking for your purpose and passion, wondering if we are going in the right direction, all somewhat nebulous terms that many a Medium post has told us we need if we are to succeed.
So do these invocations have any value anymore? Some would argue that they have been overused, but I like to think they can still help. However, it helps to shift focus a little.
The most important word in all of these statements is not direction, passion or purpose but ‘your’: what matters is you. Whatever you are being encouraged to ‘find’, all of these statements are being used to demonstrate one thing: the only right path is the one we choose. The way we move forward (or don’t, sometimes) should be controlled by us, determined and decided by us, not by others.
Being the person who decides the direction, and knowing that direction comes from our own desires, our own intent, is the significant part of the process. If we focus on working out who we are and what we want, the route we take will not only be clearer but will be very much our own. How we describe it is merely window-dressing.
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