When I think about the journey to a purpose-driven life, I often think about the impediments one encounters while traveling this path. One of the most challenging impediments is the type of society we live. We live in a transactional world.

In this type of world, humans are viewed not as precious beings worthy of purpose-driven life. Their value is measured in monetary terms. How much can this person add to my financial bottom line? Case in point, when most people first meet one another, they often ask, “What do you do?” I believe the point of this question is to ascertain how much monetary value this person can add to my life. Thus, how much time should I expend talking with this person? Will this person be able to help me secure a better job? Will I be able to leverage this new connection to help secure a lucrative business deal? Most people rarely enter a conversation seeking to know the person behind their professional experience.  

When asked this question, I normally respond with what I am passionate about or equally important, what brings me joy. My response normally causes the person to pause. The pause indicates to me the person rarely, if ever, hears such a response. Once I share my joy or passions, I ask the person to share what brings them joy or what they are passionate about. Often, the person does not respond immediately.

First, they were most likely not ready for this type of verbal engagement. Secondly, they often have lost touch with their joys or have not yet identified their purpose, so they need a moment to gather their thoughts. When they finally respond, most people normally share some very interesting types of passions or experiences they had that have brought them incredible joy, such as traveling, hiking, cooking, writing, spending time with their family/friends, etc.

Our shared responses usually springboard into a significantly more meaningful conversation than we would have experienced if our conversation would have been based on how much monetary value can I extract from this moment. I get to know what truly excites the person’s inner being, not just what they spend time doing eight hours daily.

Please don’t misunderstand me. If an opportunity for professional growth exists within this new dynamic, there is nothing wrong with exploring those possibilities. I am only suggesting one should seek first to get to know the person, not their profession. Doing this reminds you to focus on the many joyful things in life we forget are happening all the time and all around us because our minds are so drawn to the powerful vibrational pull of what this society values — profit over people.

This type of dehumanizing value system drastically erodes the significance authentic human connection plays in one’s life. Living a purpose-driven life, fueled by one’s joys and passions, as Joy Specialist and Psychotherapist Thea Monyee brilliantly teaches, allows one to live a life free of emotionally paralyzing experiences such as excessive stress, high-level anxiety, hatred and perpetual self-doubt. Additionally, it creates avenues for meaningful human connections.

A purpose-driven life does not mean one will not experience moments of stress, anxiety and self-doubt. Operating from a purpose-driven mindset allows a much quicker recovery and helps to prevent one from becoming constantly rooted in these stagnating moments. As Michael Springer shares in his book, Untethered Soul, once rooted in a self-debilitating moment it is extremely difficult to navigate oneself free of that moment. When this happens, eventually the person begins to reflect the characteristics of the moment. They become a stressful person, an anxiety-driven individual. The lens through which they see the world is colored by whichever moment they get rooted. To this person, happiness and purposefulness becomes a distant or forgotten experience or an unattainable goal.

In order to avoid this, one must learn to actively practice living a purpose-driven life. What does this look like? As Thea Monyee teaches, it requires getting to know what brings you joy. Steven Kotler would say it requires one to know what excites their passions. It is important to note that one’s joy or passions does not live in singular location. There are many opportunities to experience joy and passion, a non-hedonistic type of joy and passion. One can find joy and passion on a mountain hike, on a long bicycle ride, in between the pages of a book, spending time with one’s family or friends, writing, cooking and meditation. The opportunities to access one’s joy and passions are truly endless. Secondly, once you identify your personal joy and passion locations, and these may change and grow over time, use them often.

The more you access your joy and passion locations the more natural it will feel for you to be of that mindset. You will learn to ask the question Thea Monyee often asks in her speeches: Does this bring me joy? Does this experience or person add to or interfere with the joyful flow of life? And the more you become comfortable with sitting in the seat of joy or embracing your passions, the more assertively you will want to protect your joy and engage your passions. Discovering what brings you joy and what excites your passions are the two the pathways to a purpose-driven life. Once one understands what truly inspires their inner being, they will want to share this with the world.

At first, this will feel uncomfortable, because protecting one’s joy and passions may require finding a new and safe ecosystem for you to nurture and explore your passions and joy. This could possibly mean identifying new friends who share your desire to experience a purpose-centered life, and temporarily removing friends — and maybe even some family members — who have not yet learned the value of this type of life.

Being new to living a purpose-centered life may also feel uncomfortable when it comes to staying in a purposeful mindset if you have not yet identified the the proper mental and physical ecosystem to grow and replenish this new mindset. This is normal. Don’t get discouraged. You must look at this as a new practice, a new way of life. It takes time to consistently stay in the seat of your purpose.

When I awake in the morning, I do not grab my phone and start looking at social media posts or the news. I add 10 new entries to my gratitude list and read additional pages from whatever book I am enjoying. (If you’re not an avid reader, many books can now be found in audible form.)

Lastly, as often as possible, I take a long walk or meditate. (I started doing meditation by using guided meditation clips from YouTube). Those are a few of my joy locations. I access those locations before letting the world in. Throughout the day, I listen to inspirational messages from people like Abraham HicksTara BrachSteven Kotler and Tony Porter. I take musical breaks and listen to my carefully curated and diverse playlist. Doing these things, constantly, helps to keep inspirational energy flowing through my thoughts. It provides the necessary armament to help protect my purpose-driven mindset.

A purpose-centered life is not only possible, it is the right of every human being on this earth, regardless of their economic station, race, sexual preferences, gender identity, culture, place of birth or religious beliefs. The more one practices accessing their joy and passions the closer they will get to discovering their life’s purpose. And once you discover and start actively engaging in this purpose, living a purpose-centered life will become the life you live, the life you love.


Mark Winkler is an author and motivational speaker. His book, ‘My Daughter’s Keeper,’ is the compelling story of a father who risked everything to remain in his daughter’s life.


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