On Purpose

by Jason Stotts

This summer has provided for me a chance for introspection that one rarely receives – I was able to more concretely identify one of my fundamental characteristics like I had never been able to do before. The characteristic I am talking about is Purpose. You see, this summer I wasn’t able to find gainful employment (get a job) because of my travels in the middle of the summer to Atlanta and later to San Diego.

Because of this, I have been relegated to sitting around my house and basically doing nothing of importance. Needless to say I have become quite frustrated with my situation (e.g. notice how the number of blog posts has gone up so steadily?) and through this frustration I was further reminded that I am the kind of person who must have a purpose…I must have goals and be working for them if I am to be happy.

Now, some people say that being goal-oriented, which I am going to call teleological (pertaining to ends) here, is a bad thing since it can hinder spontaneity. I, however, think that the teleological orientation actually can be just as spontaneous as any other orientation, because it focuses on ends – not necessarily on paths to get there. Often I will set goals for myself that I have no idea how to achieve, but I know that I want to get them done. So I just take some spontaneous creative initiative and see what happens, often I am even surprised at how creative I can be when all I know is where I want to go but I leave the details more vague.

Now, this is not to say that the teleological orientation requires that one not set means to ends, this is perfectly acceptable too, but in order to pump as much spontaneity and creativity into the processes – just setting the end is the best way to go.

Now, to bring my tangent back in tune with my topic, the teleological oriented person, the person who operates on purpose, has a decided advantage over any other orientation such as lazy, unfocussed, or spur-of-the-moment. While there are obviously many people who are like that, in order to achieve maximum efficiency with our finite days in our life and get as much out of them as possible, we have to set goals for ourselves and work towards them.

Purpose is the key to happiness – a man with a purpose making progress to his goal is a far happier man than any hedonist or brute.

1 Response to “On Purpose”


  1. Erosophia

    […] On Purpose is an interesting essay because it represents a personal epiphany for me, a bring into explicit conscious thought something which I had always known, but hadn’t really identified. My favorite part of the whole essay is the last paragraph and the idea expressed there. […]