In this special guest blog, Dan Miller, President of 48 Days LLC, writes about living wisely. I don’t want to be a “simple” man.
Being “simple” can override the best intelligence and education.
In Proverbs 7:7 we read, “I saw among the simple, I noticed among the young men, a youth who lacked judgment.” Another translation says, “void of understanding.” I have read this hundreds of times and have always assumed that “simple” actually meant those who just weren’t too bright – maybe a little slow – you know, one wheel in the sand, one fry short of a Happy Meal, or as the dictionary adds; ignorant, foolish or gullible. However, my new study Bible has a note: “The person who has no purpose in life is simple-minded. Without aim or direction, an empty life is unstable, vulnerable to many temptations” (Life Application Study Bible).
Wow, all of a sudden I see that very differently. “No purpose, no direction.” As a life coach I encounter this all too often. Here’s a recent note:
Dan, I recently lost my teaching job and had to move back home with my parents, not exactly what I had in the plans at 30. My biggest fear at this point is that I have been living without a sense of purpose for a few years now. I have a lot of passion and determination, but have no clue what God created me to do. HELP!!!
I agree that moving back home with your parents at 30 was probably not this young man’s dream of success. We all have times of reevaluation – he should see this as one of those times. But the real concern here is the statement that “I have been living without a sense of purpose for a few years now.” Losing a job is a small detail to be addressed compared to not having a sense of purpose. It’s impossible to be effective and to release the best that God has given us if we don’t have a clear sense of purpose.
Having no sense of purpose is obviously not a function of IQ or education. This young man was a teacher and it can be true of a Rhodes Scholar or the valedictorian of your graduating class. And what happens to a person with no purpose? He/she is vulnerable to whatever circumstances come along. Get a job offer working at the manufacturing plant – sure, why not. It’s a job. An opening at the local public school – sign me up. Chance to go back to law school, of course. It’s a socially acceptable way to hide out while having no purpose. When all else fails, assume that God is calling you into “full-time ministry,” thus hoping others feel obligated to fund your continuing lack of clear direction.
Zig Ziglar talks about being a “wandering generality.” Some people just seem to be open to any possibility, and vulnerable to wandering down a less than positive path. Athletes don’t win races, CEOs don’t gain positions, ladies aren’t great mothers, and scientists don’t create new formulas without having specific goals defined in advance. Having a specific plan is like harnessing the power of Niagara Falls to create a massive amount of electricity.
No one wants to be a 45-yr-old college educated “simple” person. Finding your purpose and calling are critical and must precede any reasonable life choices. Then you can engage the very best you have to offer as you stay focused on the positive goal.
Finding our purpose requires looking back and seeing some clear patterns:
- What are your unique Skills and Abilities? - What are your Personality Traits? - What are those recurring dreams and passions?
In just observing and clarifying these characteristics you will be able to see some patterns form. And it’s in the blending of these that you define your purpose (calling, mission, destiny). You cannot expect success to show up—or to have any sustained passion without knowing your purpose.
Incidentally, the “simple” young man in the Proverbs verse goes on to spend the night with a very disreputable lady. He “followed her like an ox going to the slaughter, like a deer stepping into a noose.” Don’t let unclear direction open you to an equally disastrous fate!
Dan Miller, President of 48 Days LLC, specializes in creative thinking for increased personal and business success. He believes that meaningful work blends our natural skills and abilities, our unique personality traits and our dreams and passions. Dan is the author of the widely acclaimed 48 Days To The Work You Love and No More Dreaded Mondays. He hosts a weekly podcast that is consistently ranked #1 under Careers on iTunes.