#010 - The True Anatomy of Purpose
Current mood: rethinking coordinates. | Art from Dipesh Shrestha on Unsplash

#010 - The True Anatomy of Purpose

Meg Pagani

PART 1: your mind won’t serve the task.

One of the questions that seem to be shaking this time in history is: what’s real?

What feels real?
What is truly valuable?
What would I stand up for and defend, if threatened?

These are not easy questions to sit with.

Individually or collectively.

Even more so when we find ourselves drowning in a culture that keeps fuelling cravings for things that are everything but essential, that pushes us to obsess about curating our online life to prove our worth, or that constantly offers us a virtual and “perfected version of life” we could escape in – being it Meta, altering substances or any other addictive experiences.

But they say that when a character is born, so does his opponent.

And I resonate with that, because those challenging questions seem to arise from the opposite side of the capitalist playing field, voiced by the growing Purpose Economy movements.

On one side we have: “did you prove your worth yet?”
While the other side asks: “what feels valuable to you and to us, as a collective? And are we willing to re-learn how to take care of it?”

Two fundamentally different belief systems, confronting each other.

Historically, here’s where we get stuck trying to demonstrate why one of the two fronts is the “Dark Side of the Force”, why the “Light Side” is better, and why you should join one and not the other.

But my background prevents me from thinking in terms of good and evil that need to fight each other, for one to prevail.

In fact, while I see most efforts focused on proving the (any) other side’s wrongs, eventually fuelling it, I feel we are not putting enough effort into the only real task at hand:

  1. identifying what “side” each of us truly resonates with (whichever it is)
  2. embodying its principles
  3. feeding it with our concrete actions (not just words)

Most of us get stuck at point 1.

And that’s what I’d like to focus on today.


If we want to identify what we truly resonate with, it means we hit a crisis first.

Something shook the foundations of how we think and act in the world, maybe by presenting us alternative stories and scripts from the ones we carry in our heads, and we got stuck or became unsure about how to proceed.

I call it “recalculation”. Yes, like a GPS.

Or also a “Microsoft hourglass moment”: the old software that is not there anymore, and the new one that is not installed yet.

It’s a very specific state that, sooner or later, forces us to acknowledge that it’s not something we’re going to be able to power through or to resolve with our minds.

And that’s when most of us want to talk about Purpose.


But what do we mean by Purpose?

While it can be defined in many ways, in these cases we tend to look for “Purpose” as a new direction to move towards – one that, to us, would feel better or healthier than the current trajectory we are on.

And this is the interesting part for me.

Because question things when we start feeling out of tune, disconnected or even sickened by the environment and script we’re in, and we crave Purpose as something to align with that will feel better.

Which teaches us that Purpose is less about a concept or title, and a lot more about our bodies and how we feel.

Coming from a culture that is heavily driven by the mind, logic and control, and that tries to base every priority only on what the mind can process, it’s interesting to observe that when we wonder about better trajectories, individually and/or collectively, the mind is the first tool that proves itself inefficient.

This week I was reflecting on this, and a friend told me: o futuro só se faz no desconhecido.

The future is only made in the unknown (to the mind).

When the mind can’t help you navigate, what other parts of you seem to know the way?

And especially: what are they pointing to?


PS – A few notes:

  • This is the first piece of a small series on the topic of The True Anatomy of Purpose. You’re always welcome to continue the conversation, or access past sessions, on (R)evolutionary.
  • I will also host a live Masterclass on Power and Purpose, on December 1st at 6 pm GMT.
    If you’d like to dive deeper into the topics of Power & Purpose and explore tools to apply to your journey, this masterclass is for you.
    * Please know that spots are limited, so make sure to reserve yours if you want to attend or if you’d like to access the recording. You can find all the details here.
  • My latest TEDx talk on Power and Purpose was just released, and you can watch it here. For now, it’s only in Italian, but English subtitles are on their way!