Prime motives

I enjoyed Hugh MacLeod’s interview with Mark Earls a week or so ago, in which they discussed “Purpose-Idea.”

Put really simply, the Purpose-Idea is the “What For?” of a business, or any kind of community. What exists to change (or protect) in the world, why employees get out of bed in the morning, what difference the business seeks to make on behalf of customers and employees and everyone else? BTW this is not “mission, vision, values” territory – it’s about real drives, passions and beliefs. The stuff that men in suits tend to get embarrassed about because it’s personal … P-I makes things personal – makes you put your balls on the line.” 

The drive towards authenticity necessitated by our recent financial debacle is founded in the concept of meaningful Purpose-Idea. As Earls suggests, many are uncomfortable with close encounters of the soulful kind; pride and dominion have warped our human-ness, and many think themselves above the messiness of emotion or passion. Yet e-motion refers to the force that gets us moving, and having mired our productivity in artificiality and emptiness, we no longer have the option to ignore prime motives.

Whether boss or worker, President or homemaker, now is the time to establish your ground in a Purpose-Idea that has infinite meaning for you. Do not settle for material rewards, financial gain, elevated personal status. Be sure you set the bar high enough that no unexpected circumstance can deter or discourage you. Locate the vision that will remain ultimately motivating, and reorient your affairs to address that vision exclusively.

It’s time for Americans to leave behind the fads and cheap thrills of adolescence and progress to the responsibilities of adulthood. Only then can we anticipate the joy and fulfillment that come with deep meaning.

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