“You can’t be anything you want. But you can be everything you are.”

Jay Shetty, Think Like A Monk

Wednesday, 4 August 2021


In order to grow and to live an authentic life, we must determine our purpose. The process of letting go assists in opening our minds to all that we are and what we can be. Shetty refers to the Sanskrit term, dharma, which, although not easily defined in English, loosely means “your calling” or your purpose. He goes on to say that living in your dharma is a certain route to fulfilment. To find your dharma or purpose, you need to establish what you are passionate about, where your expertise lies and how you are and feel useful in the world you live in.

Shetty believes that your purpose lies within you and that if you keep an open mind and create self-awareness, your purpose will disclose itself. We are prevented from finding and living our purpose due to the pressure of society. We are expected to achieve from a very young age. The narrative that surrounds us all is focussed on being successful. Did you go to the best schools or the “right” university so that you can become the best in your field? Stress and pressure forced on us from a very young age hinders that success and stifles our purpose. How often were you compared to a contemporary and made to feel like a failure? It is better to live your own purpose imperfectly than to live another’s perfectly? Societal pressures strengthen our weaknesses rather than building our strengths. Testing, examinations, performance reviews and scores all focus on insufficiencies and call for improvement.

But what if we look at these “insufficiencies” not as failures but as another’s purpose? We can’t do everything. We don’t have to do everything and perhaps what we can’t do is another’s gift and responsibility. Instead of looking at our weaknesses, we lean into our strengths and find ways to make these strengths central to our lives. We must not think, however, that we can completely ignore our weaknesses. We need to continue to develop them to be more authentic.

Discovering our purpose means that we need to identify our passions. What is it that you love and do well? Try and incorporate these things into the life you already have. Link the feeling of passion to the experience of learning and growth. Our true passion and purpose are in our hearts, not in our heads. How do you feel when you do something you love? How does your body respond? Observe, identify and be aware of that feeling.

It is your responsibility to live your purpose and to stretch your purpose. Your dharma, your purpose, is to be of service to others. Your passion becomes a purpose when you use it to serve others. Your dharma, your purpose, is to fill a need in the world.

Dear God,

Thank you for the purpose that you have for me. Help me discover this purpose and passion so that I can be of service to others, that I can lean into my strengths and use them to fill a need in the world.


Gillian Hugo

Gillian was educated at Pretoria High School for Girls and at Johannesburg College of Education where she qualified as a pre-school teacher. She has taught for more than 20 years in the government and private sectors. Gillian is married and has 2 children. She is training as a mindset and mindfulness coach. Gillian enjoys being creative and her hobbies include watercolour painting, reading, travelling and she loves the beach!

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