What’s your purpose? (No. Really. Think about it.)

There is no escaping reason; no denying purpose. Because as we both know, without purpose, we would not exist.

– Agent Smith, The Matrix

I haven’t been writing much lately. That’s because I’ve been writing.

See, I feel a little guilty about not posting often enough on my blog. I’ve gotten a few emails, basically saying, “Where are you?” and “What are you up to?” and honestly, it’s flattering that anyone would care. When you start blogging, you assume that everyone will hang on your every word, waiting with bated breath for every new post. Then you realize that for the most part, you could drop off the face of the earth and nobody would notice. So yeah, it’s cool that people have asked.

But the truth is that while it may look like I’ve been ignoring my blogging responsibilities (whatever that means), the truth is that I haven’t been writing here because I’ve been writing — writing more than ever — elsewhere. I haven’t forgotten you; I’ve been saving up the mojo I’d normally deliver so as to deliver it later in one big hit. All of those awesome blog posts you’re missing? The brain juice that would normally go into them is going into one big thing — one masterpiece that I’ve been working on for months. One Big Kahuna.

And soon, I’m going to deliver said Big Kahuna, here, for free.

I’ve been told that my posts awaken people’s desires to “do epic shit,” and if that’s true, then tighten your seat belt, because it’s about to get epicer. Epicified. Epiclicious.

But before we talk about that, let’s talk about you. Really YOU, at the deepest level possible.

Let’s talk about why you’re here at all.

You must have a purpose

I swear that all of life’s answers are in the film The Matrix. So let’s heed Agent Smith’s advice, such as it is. Without purpose, we would not exist — not in any way that matters. But with purpose? With a mission? With both hands on the steering wheel? Well with that, hell… you can live forever.

So stop right now and ask yourself why you do what you do each day. Really think about it.

When you get up and go to work — be it in an office or at home — why are you doing it? Maybe it’s because you need money to pay the mortgage. Maybe it’s because you need money to eat. Fair enough; we live in a material world and we are all material girls (and guys).

Now, step back. Why do you do the specific job you do? Meaning; why are you doing that instead of something else? Is it because it’s what you always wanted to do? Is it because you’re making a difference in the world? Or is it because it was the only job you could find? Is it because you “kind of fell into it”? Is it because it’s what your parents expected you to do, or because you had a major in X in college and figured a job in X was therefore the only logical next step?

Hmm.

Now, pull back further. What are your big goals for yourself and, if you have one, your family? What did you want to be when you grew up, and why did you want that? What do you want your legacy to be? How do you want to be remembered after you’re gone? What do you want your kids’ memories of you to be? When you’re old, looking back on your life, what would you like to be proud that you accomplished?

Don’t just scan these questions. Stop and think about each one.

I’m serious. After I wrote my first epic post, people said, That’s awesome, but how do you do those epic things?

This is how. Trust me.

Stop and think about your purpose, because almost nobody ever does. Day to day life has a way of hypnotizing us. Have you ever set out for a certain destination in your car and missed a turn because you’ve zoned out and your brain is taking you the way you usually go, like to the grocery store? This is the same phenomenon. It’s really easy to lose track of the big whys while following your autopilot.

So I’ll ask you, again, at the risk of being annoying, to really stop and think.

Why do you do what you do? What is your purpose? Not the purpose you think you should have, or the purpose appropriate to what you already have going on (“I am the CEO of a major company, therefore I am responsible for XYZ”). Don’t do “therefore.” Don’t start with where you are and reverse-engineer the purpose you therefore must have in life. Start at the top. Start with why you’d like to be here, regardless of where you actually are right now. Think of your ideal purpose. What you think you were truly meant to be, or, in the absence of some huge epiphany, what you’d LIKE to be, if you could be anything.

Got it?

Now, is it aligned with what you’re doing every day?

And if it’s not, are you implementing a plan every day to bring those two things closer and closer into alignment?

Usually, the answers to those questions are both no. And when they’re both no, it’s because the people behind those no’s don’t think their “deep purpose” is realistic in today’s world of cars and houses and currencies. There’s dreams and then there’s real life, these people say. I wanted a unicorn, too… but we need to face reality.

But what if I told you that reality isn’t all it’s purported to be?

Why I do what I do

This blog has been about a lot of stuff. When I first started, it was a humor blog. Then it became a tech tips blog. Then it became a business blog. Finally, in the last few years, I seem to have settled into writing what I term “epic shit.” I write posts with depressing titles that hopefully have get-off-your-fucking-ass-now-before-it’s-too-late bottom-line messages, like The Universe Doesn’t Give a Flying Fuck About You and You Are Dying and Your World is a Lie. It may look like I’m a masochist, like I’m obsessed with death and pain and being extreme. Recently, I realized why. It dawned on me why I keep telling you that you’re dying a little every day, and that one day — sooner than you realize — you’ll be underground.

It’s because I care.

Let me tell you a sad story.

I ran into an old friend recently, who we’ll call Bill. Bill has two kids and I don’t think he enjoys them, because he’s doing the same job that he was doing the last time I saw him years ago and still doesn’t like it, and it takes up all of his time and he’s still barely making ends meet, and at night he’s tired and can only collapse in front of the TV before getting up to do it again the next day. He’s a creative, smart guy, but can’t seem to make a go of his creative endeavors. He has some ideas, and I wanted to encourage him to do those things. But the problem was, I could tell he didn’t really believe any of them would ever work. He was a shipwreck survivor alone in the middle of the ocean, saying “Maybe a ship will come save me” because he has to say something… and meanwhile he’s writing his will in his head.

I wanted to encourage Bill, but it’s not that simple because his current ideas are not whiz-bang tickets to freedom even if they work. They’re the tip of the iceberg. They’re a beginning — and a beginning is a fantastic, amazing, beautiful, magical thing. But no matter how Bill’s “beginnings” turn out, it’ll be up to him to have the courage to take the next step once they’re over.

I wanted to tell Bill that a beginning was worth it no matter what happened. That perseverence mattered more than any one event. That the ability to manufacture a distant light at the end of a very long tunnel was what really made the difference. But how do you tell someone — casually, in a ten-minute, how’ve-you-been conversation — that his venture probably would fail and that it’d still be worth it? How do you tell someone who has no real reason to believe that he should make those doomed beginnings anyway because the road to success is paved with failures?

When we parted ways, I wished him good luck, but I knew nothing would happen. He probably wouldn’t even try what he said he wanted to try, and if he did try and it didn’t work (and by “work,” I mean work entirely, getting him 100% of the way there) he’d quit. Then he’d keep doing the job and not having the time and not enjoying his kids as much as he should, and he’d accept it because he’s a good soldier in the army of life and knows he should be grateful for what he has because so many have less. He’d know, as everyone knows, that some people are lucky and some are not. That we get what we get and we don’t throw a fit.

But this is a lie. It’s a big, big lie.

We think certain things “just are” and that we need to “settle and face reality.” But it’s a lie. What you think is real isn’t real. You’re living by bogus rules, bogus limitations. Almost anything you can be or do or have, you can be or do or have. The reason most people never get what they want is because they believe so firmly that it’s impossible that they never start — never realizing that if they started anyway and kept at it, one day they’d wake up to discover that they’d done it.

The reason I do what I do is because I want to expose the lies we live by to the Bills of the world — even if I have to shake them by the shoulders and slap them around to get it to sink in.

We think we need more how-to, but we don’t. We already know how. What we need are tools like courage, strength, optimism, fear, and fearlessness.

I’ve written a lot of stuff that is intended to wake people up to the realities of existence and to help dispel the bullshit, but something more is needed. Something bigger.

My legacy. For you.

When I say that I want to make a difference — that it makes me sad to run into people like Bill and that I’m doing what I’m doing because I want to be remembered as having made a difference — I’m telling you the truth. I have other ways I can make money. At this point, I really don’t even need the blog.

I haven’t been writing much here, on this blog, because I’m writing what I feel is as definitive a guide as I can write on the topic of seizing the day until it screams. It’s going to be called How To Be Legendary, and it’ll be available soon.

The first part of How To Be Legendary is about the lies you’ve been sold on, and the real truths behind them.

The second part is a stepwise procedure for achieving anything, based on a simple premise: You don’t need me to teach you anything. You just need to do what you already know, and to do it every day. (And by the way, that really is the central idea. You don’t even need to download the book now that you’ve read the last two sentences. Achievement is simple. Not easy, but simple.)

One more thing: How To Be Legendary will be free.

So that’s what I’ve been working on. That’s why I haven’t been blogging much. I haven’t been giving you small snippets on being awesome because I’ve been busy rolling all of that awesomeness into one big punch. The knockout punch, hopefully, designed to unplug you from the matrix.

And with this, I hope to make my difference.

Stay tuned.

—-

UPDATE: My manifesto How To Be Legendary: A Realistic Guide to Being the Superhuman You’re Supposed to Be is now available, for free. And if you’d like some guidance and to have your feet held to the fire in your pursuit of becoming Legendary, be sure to check out my Everyday Legendary community. 


Comments

  1. ” The more you surround yourself with what you want to become, the more likely you are to become”. Well… GOD, DAM, my inner-self just had a intellectual orgasm. Maybe it was the timing in my life but reading that sparked something; NOT a boner silly goose but a sense of awakening. So I am going to do whatever I find interesting and trash all the bullshit. And first I am… going to start a sentence with “and”, then I am going to tell you my purpose. WHEN-ever that conjures-up I will let you and everyone know but until than, from here-on-out, I am going to start living the way I find legendary and FUCKIN EPIC. -AND now all I can do is diligently work towards becoming the best epic Matthew I can be. So here I am, networking, searching for people that want to be epic. OK.. that is all. the book is a classic, thanx.

  2. Alan says:

    Hi mate,
    I woke up to the bullshit of this world a few years ago now and have spent a lot of time on so called alternative websites and forums.
    I agree with most of what you say, enough that we are kind of on the same page although i think your a bit hard on people, they don’t see things the way you do because all of their lives very powerful people have made sure they see things the way they want them too…. they need to control us and in the West unlike say China the use of force isn’t an option, so they brainwashed us, education the media everything that shapes us as people the “bastards” have gotten control of and moulded us into the shapes they wanted.
    Btw force will be an option again in the West someday, maybe sooner rather than later.
    So i wish i knew how to make folk see things in a different light but it’s not likely when folk look at you as if you had two heads if you suggest there may be some truths in films like the Matrix.
    So shaking them won’t do any good it will happen when it is supposed to happen.
    Thank you for all the good stuff you give
    Alan

  3. Jim Self says:

    Besides The Matrix, I sense that Fight Club helped inspire this post and How to Be Legendary. Don’t deny it, I can tell. Fight Club is one of those movies that alters your personality in a certain way.

    Thanks for your words, Johnny. It IS very easy to lose ourselves in the everyday. I think it’s even a defense mechanism for people with painfully boring and unsatisfying lives. It doesn’t lead to escaping that life, though, so it’s really just an early death.

  4. anonamous says:

    I think the beginning question was something about why I downloaded the first book, why or what answers was I looking for, what is my purpose. Here? On earth? I have no fucking idea! If I base my answer on the past is have to say ….so I could take a whole bunch of shit from different people all these years, meanwhile never giving up hope and my firm belief that there is good in everyone, and eventualy coming to the cold hard conclusion that its pointless to even be here. Why am I wasting myself on ungrateful rotten lying evil people? I was seriously planning my exit from this god forsaken shit hole. I have since come to my senses and got some help……we will see how it goes. Anyway, that is why I read your book, among a few others….looking for answers. I guessing I’m not willing to give it up just yet.

    • iris says:

      anonamous, i hope you know and don’t mind the cliche’, you are not alone. i just discovered this guy yesterday and am here for the same reasons. find answers, make life less shit.

      🙂

  5. Anne says:

    I think for some people, you have certain skills that are hard to find a niche for until you have some experience in the world, so it’s hard to find a purpose. Like if you have a lot of abstract thinking skills, you may be able to design things really well, but not necessarily build them and bring them to fruition. So you can discount a lot of possibilities for your purpose because you don’t have the full skillset you think you need. This has been the case for me. Now there is new technology that brings production closer to the design process using computers, so I can revisit my “design” purpose. Another possibility is collaborating with people who have the skills you lack, or outsourcing. It might be helpful to look for your passions first, and try to find your purpose from there, trying not to throw away possibilities because of perceived limitations.

  6. Spoooon says:

    It’s the meanings we give things. Change the meaning and the whole world changes.

    Happiness is a thought away. It is the way one sees life. If you have to move an inch to be happy you’ll never be. Happiness is a now thing. It’s not that everything in life is going great. It’s how one chooses to respond.

    Most spend their lives looking to the outside world to give them what they need. Which is to compensate for their lack. Someone to make them happy. Someone to counteract the feelings of less then. When the problem is in the meanings they have given things. Someone treats them bad and their whole day is shot. What they don’t realize is it’s the meaning that they gave the event. They are the one’s that are deciding what the event meant. Well the meaning has been decided in most cases years ago and they are just on autopilot. But we are the ones that supply the meaning to the event. An event is like the tree falling in the forest unless someone hears it it makes no sound. An event has no meaning until we give it one. Think about all the stuff that is going on around you that means nothing. Event plus meaning gives us our experience.

    Take a person who had a crapping childhood. And normally he’ll see it that he was lacking. Why? Kids always see it in reference too what it means about them. Their parents didn’t love them. Because there was something wrong with them. If I could have done “X” better etc. But the truth of the situation is the parents where the one’s that were lacking. The kid was just a kid. Now if he will apply this new meaning that it was them that was lacking. That had nothing whatsoever to do with the kid. His experiences of the past events will change from a limiting understanding to one that foresters growth. Instead of being unlovable he is now in a place [mentally] where he can see that it was the parents that couldn’t love.

    Another one that many have is “the look” that can stop them in their tracks. We learned this when we where kids. And many take this into adulthood. So now anyone that gives that “look” and bam we are little kids again feeling all those feelings attached to the meaning we gave the “Look.” As long as we hold on to the meaning that “Look” will have the same effect.

    Autopilot… Milton Erickson “The reason people have problems is because they are out of rapport with their unconscious minds.” He saying that most don’t know “Why” they do what they do.

  7. Jennifer says:

    I just found you yesterday as a matter of fact. you have already changed me… and thus my life. I feel my path picking up pace and I feel empowered that those ” feelings” and thoughts/ desires are there for a reason..

    so thank you and I just wanted to let you know clearly:
    – you are making a difference & you are being legendary.

    Im so excited to see more from you! 🙂
    Thank you! 🙂

  8. Andrea Hypno says:

    Many things which seem complicated are in reality simple, maybe not easy. Just like living a wonderful life; the answer is “do what you like” even if earning a decent income form it might be hard but that is really the answer. Do what you like and you’ll be happy, don’t and you’ll never be happy. At least not completely.

    Sometimes even understanding what we really like isn’t easy, but can be simple. 🙂

  9. elwin bagley says:

    I want to download all your stuff to my kindle touch. cannot sit at this computer and read.
    I am just about ready to give up on doing anything in this rotten socialistic
    country.
    But at least I can read on my kindle and try to learn things on the net
    I am trying to retire at 77 years old, but the social security system and medicare system will not let me.
    elwin

  10. elwin bagley says:

    please log onto my website and hep.

  11. elwin bagley says:

    log onto the Atlanta non gmo site and learn how not to deal with the local politicians about food. health care, Medicaid etc

  12. Jerry says:

    Why am I here and what does the book mean to me? Hmmm damn good questions I must admit..
    As to my life in general, it could not really be much better than it is right now..Am I living the life I want or the one that I think I want, yes I am actually living the life I want..
    I have got a job I actually look forward to going to every day, I have a wonderful partner and we just married and together raising two boys that he adopted before our marriage..
    So yes I can actually say I love everything about my life, I may not be rich, but I don’t need that much money, I have a roof over my head, food in my fridge, and fantastic friends that care for me..
    I can actually say I am Legendary!

  13. Hey Johnny,
    I am new here (thanks to Sonia Simone who talked about you in a French interview).
    I read your awesome “How To Be Legendary”.
    I really like the idea that we all are in an unreal world. That we have to unplug us from the Matrix.
    I am fond of your blog and writing and way of thinking !
    See you
    Let’s get out of bullshit 😀
    Marjorie

    • Johnny says:

      Sonia did a French interview and mentioned me? Do you have a link? 🙂

      • Hey Johnny,
        Sure, it is on the blog Blogueur Pro from Olivier Roland, a French blogger leader, it is there : http://blogueur-pro.com/sonia-simone-copyblogger
        You can hear it or read it there : “tu sais, les gens qui ont commencé quand moi j’ai commencé, ce sont toujours de très bons amis et aussi des alliés. Certains ont développé de très grosses affaires. Donc tu sais, Men With Pens, et Johnny Truant, avec ce blog génial au style rebelle…”
        In English : “You know, the people who started when I started, it is still very good friends as well as allies. Some have developed a very big business. So you know, Men With Pens, and Johnny Truant, with this awesome blog rebellious style …”
        :-)))
        Marjorie

  14. Nieves V. Salazar says:

    You are right, this is my chance to do the things I also wanted to. I have given my resignation at work( I am an Organic Chemist) and for the last three years I have grown so bored with what I do. Luckily at the age of 43 with no debts or mortgage to pay I am in a position to retire early and enjoy what is left with my life. My husband is a Research Chemist and we are both retiring in February,2014. We always wanted to live by the sea and last Easter we bought ourselves our second home by the sea in South Wales, Pembrokeshire, UK. I think what your doing is absolutety wonderful and good for you!

  15. Got it, Johnny B. You’re like Mitch Abloom on ‘roids and Woody Allen all wrapped up in one epic-legendary package. So . . . unplugged, already happy, but enjoying the ride share and surfing your legendary community.

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