Consider this a public service announcement because I want to get the message out. I think that's very important: I was talking with Barry Hearn, the guy behind Matchroom Sports, and we landed on one of life’s hardest questions: What am I supposed to do with my life?
I’m guessing you’ve thought about this question before. We all do at some point. Some of us are stuck on it every day. But it’s only the lucky few of us who actually find an answer. We’re all meant for something special, but only 1 percent (I'd guess) discover what that is. As for the other 99 percent, they die after many, many years of boredom and tiresome work without ever knowing their unique purpose.
Barry and I both think that’s a tragedy.
Now, that’s not the public service announcement. My PSA is about the solution to the problem.
See, Barry Hearn wanted to be a champion heavyweight boxer. He grew up poor and had to raise his siblings after his dad died young. His focus was relentless. He never let up. Even in the middle of the night, he’d be up with his radio, listening to fights transmitted from overseas. But it wasn’t long before he found out he simply wasn’t good enough to achieve his original dream. What did he do?
With one big dream eliminated, Barry didn’t give up. He simply narrowed his focus. Instead of heavyweight champion, he became a boxing promoter. All of his enthusiasm and focus was still there. After all, he loved boxing and had to support his family. But, as a bonus, it turned out he was really good at the promoting job. He started Matchroom, and his love of the sport made everything at the office a breeze.
Now, let’s go back to the original problem for a second: People live their whole lives without knowing their purpose. And that's sad. So, what’s Barry's solution?
Start without limits.
What does this mean? For Barry, it’s simple: Don’t pigeonhole yourself into doing one thing. Try different things and discover your purpose through trial and error. After trying things that don’t work out, eventually you’ll find something that fits.
It’s a logical and practical approach. At the end of the day, no one knows what his or her purpose without living it right now. You only “know” at the finish line, so to speak, or after you’ve tried pursuing that purpose.
To repeat Barry’s words, one day, you will do something and a little light will go on in your head. You’ll say to yourself, "I really love doing this." That’s when you know you’ve found your unique purpose. There’s no “little black book” that will tell you what your purpose is. You just have to try everything, and one day you will know.
Life is a gift.
Here comes the second part of my public service announcement, and it’s not career advice. It’s bigger than that. Much bigger.
I’m going to lay out a few facts. First, there are 24 hours in a day. Second, you’re alive. Third, your parents are the reason why you’re here. Fourth, you have abilities.
Imagine you were walking down the street, and someone came up to you and wanted to give you a gift. This person reaches into his bag and pulls out a magic genie lamp, and says you can have one wish. One wish, that’s all. What would you do with that wish?
Would you say, “No, thanks. I don’t want to use it.” Would you sit and wait, doing nothing until you figured out the “perfect” wish? Or would you recognize the gift for what it is?
The second part of my public service announcement is that that “one wish” is your life.
Life is a finite gift. You only get one. It’s your big opportunity. The door is open only for so many years. You can choose to walk through the door and do something with the opportunity you’ve been given, or you can ignore it.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t know what to do. Remember Barry’s advice? Be limitless. Do something -- anything. Maybe it won’t work out. Maybe it will. But you’ve got to get up and do something while you still have time. Life is not a rehearsal. It’s show time.