Realise your Purpose -
Release your Potential

We all need to have some goal in life. Most of us just go through life without any sense of meaning or purpose though. I once heard it said, "If we aim at nothing we're sure to hit it every time". I realised that I didn't want to hit nothing - I wanted to achieve something in life. I wanted to make a difference. After all, what's it all worth if we can't at least make a small difference?

There's a story told about an archer, the best in the land, who went off in search of a challenge - someone who would be able to give him a run for his money - someone who might be able to beat him. All through the land he searched, until he eventually neared a small, obscure village. As he drew closer to the village, he noticed targets scattered around on nearly every tree or post. Every target had an arrow shot perfectly through the bull's eye. He had never seen such accuracy so consistently repeated. He began to get excited, perhaps, at last, he had found his match. As he rode into the village, he noticed more and more targets, all with a perfect bull's eye. His excitement mounted. He decided to stop in at the local pub sure that he would find this brilliant archer there, or at least someone who new where this genius was.

He strode into the pub and confidently introduced himself and explained his quest, he then asked about the man who was obviously such a perfect archer. He did not expect the reaction he got. Everyone in the pub began to laugh hysterically. He could make no sense out of any of them. In frustration he went from place to place all around the village asking the same question, and everywhere he received the same response. He began to believe that he had entered a village full of idiots. Eventually he asked for the oldest and wisest inhabitant of the village. He was directed to a small, run down house slightly hidden in the forest just outside the village boundaries. He cautiously approached the wizened old man sitting just outside the door, and told the man his story.

The old man smiled and stifled a laugh, nearly choking on the smoke from his smelly pipe. "Why, laddie, that's the village idiot you'd be looking for then", chuckled the old man. The archer was incredulous, "What do you mean the village idiot, this whole village is full of idiots if you think this man an idiot! This man is the finest archer I have ever seen, how can you call him an idiot?". The old man giggled again, and hacked up a huge lump of sputum which he spat into an ancient, rusty spittoon. "My young friend", he said, "the man you're looking for is an idiot. He goes around shooting his arrows everywhere and then he just draws a target around them."

We're sometimes like that. We go around trying our hand at anything, and then if it goes well, we think we've hit the target. The point is though, we don't really have an aim or a purpose in life, so how do we really know if we've achieved what we set out to.

We can face anything if we have a clear sense of meaning and purpose. Nothing can sway us from our goal - if we have a clear goal. If not, we'll be blown around by every wind of chance. We'll wander aimlessly through life shooting our arrows everywhere and not really achieving anything.

This course is designed to begin to help you to discover who you are, why you're here, and what the purpose of your life is. Please note that I said it's a beginning. Life is a journey of discovery, and we're given a lifetime to journey. In fact, we probably continue the journey after death, but that's anybody's guess. I'll rather not wait to find out. I'll try to make the most of this life. Will you join me?

I also need to add a warning in here. This course will only help those who are willing to tackle the journey. As Scott Peck wisely noted, "Life is difficult." Or, in the words of another wise (old) lady:

The hard way's pretty hard, but not so hard as the easy way.
(Granny Weatherwax in Terry Pratchett's "Lords and Ladies").

The choice is all yours, and I'm afraid so's the hard work. What I've put up here is just a guide. The journey is yours. Rope up with someone you trust (or a few people if you can) and steady yourself, you're in for the ride of your life - but it's all worth it if you persevere, and if you're willing to keep going against all odds. Remember,

What don't die can't live.
What don't live can't change.
What don't change can't learn.
(Yup, Granny Weatherwax again!).

The road is difficult, but it's way better than the easy road. Are you willing to take the challenge?

Then turn the page - your life begins today . . .

This course has been designed by Steven Lottering for the benefit of all who wish to make the journey to find meaning and purpose in their lives. I have made use of many sources, people I have learned so much from, they are too numerous to mention. I would, however, like to acknowledge Sean Covey, who has taken his dad's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, and brought a life and vitality to it to make it appealing and readable for teenagers. Now, that is no easy feat! In doing so, Sean has, I believe, made Stephen Covey's Habits accessible to so many more people with a visual style that captures the reader and takes them on an exciting journey of discovery that is more like riding a roller coaster than travelling for miles in a car (no offence Stephen, your ideas are brilliant, Sean's packaging is even better!). Sean's book is entitled The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, but it is certainly not only for teens. You can purchase a copy of both these books from my on-line bookstore, or just click on the titles above.

I would also like to acknowledge Leo Buscaglia who has constantly inspired me to MAKE A DIFFERENCE. And, Andre van Oudthoorn, who challenged me to think outside of my boxes, who tolerated my intolerance, and who taught me more by making me learn truth than by simply teaching me facts.

I will try to acknowledge all my sources in the course, and I simply wish to ask that should you use this course, you acknowledge your source. I make it freely available, because it is not mine to keep or copyright. I would love to hear from those who use it though, any comments and criticisms can only help to grow this course and help others to make a difference. E-mail me then and let me know your feedback.

You are welcome to print these pages (in fact I would advise that) make copies, and use it in groups or on your own in your own time. The more you put in to life, the more you will get out.

Oh, and if you want me to present the workshop (always more effective in person) I'm always open to offers ;-)

Are you ready to begin?