As the year draws to a close, it’s time for some reflection…
Why are we here? What is the meaning of life? Why was I born? These are all questions that we have asked ourselves, sometimes at the lowest part of our lives, when we have hit rock bottom, no matter our age.
For me, it was when I was 5 years old and I had my first existential crisis. Of course, I did not know what it was called back then… just this feeling of anxiety that no 5 year old should ever feel. What happens when we die? Is there really a Heaven? What will happen when my mother and grandmother and family die, who will take care of me? Why am I here? Was I a mistake?
I have been on a journey of discovery, asking myself these questions every so often since 1979! I produced a multi-faith, live breakfast, spiritual show for SABC1 (Spirit Sundae) for 8 years, where I was exposed to, and learned about, different religions (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, African Traditional Religion, Hinduism, etc.) as well as going on life transforming courses such as Turning Point – but more about this in a future post.
My journey has culminated in me ultimately meeting author, Daniel Shatty Mashego, who is also my work colleague at my day job, as Communications Manager for a major South African bank.
Daniel has written two books so far, and today, I chat to him about his second book, called “Born for a Purpose – The Ultimate Reason for Existence.”
ML&S: This is more than a “self-help or coaching” book – it feels really personal – tell me what led you to writing it, what inspired you and how is it different from other books with similar themes?
DSM: I interact with a lot of young people. One of the key observations from these interactions is the fact that most young people are struggling with ‘purpose issues’. Over and above that, others approach me asking that I help them discover their purpose. As a result, I ended up putting together this material. The book is unique and personal in that I share my personal story of discovery and experiences. The book is engaging and interactive.
ML&S: The book covers a range of topics from youth matters, to peer pressure and self-esteem issues – what is the main concept/idea that you want readers to get from your book?
DSM: I want the people of the world, young people in particular, to know that they are all born for a purpose. Their responsibility is to go out there and discover their purpose, carry out their life’s assignment and be a blessing to the human race.
ML&S: Existential questions are some of the most difficult questions that one can ask oneself – the question WHY especially. What advice do you have for people who are directionless in the world, who have lost their way, for whatever reason?
DSM: It does not matter how directionless or hopeless the person is, that very hopeless soul was brought into this world for a specific purpose, to solve a specific problem. It all starts with one realising and accepting that he is unique. To kick-start your journey of discovery, you start by asking the question ‘Why’ – this will help unlock insight pertaining to your destiny.
ML&S: Do you consider yourself a life coach?
DSM: Lol! I have it my mission to steer clear of titles. I see myself as an individual that found his space (purpose) and use literature to contribute towards changing unacceptable thinking patterns in our communities.
ML&S: How does one find one’s life purpose?
DSM: There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach because we are unique. You have to use various tools. In the book, I talk about ‘purpose pointers’ – things like your talents, dreams, desires, etc. Why? Because everything about you (personality, talents, relations, etc.) is connected to your destiny. Others find their purpose in pain, others are spoken by others into their destiny – that is why it is crucial that you pay attention to every faculty of your life and everything about and around you. Not sure where to start? Start with the question ‘Why’.
ML&S: How do you know you’ve found it?
DSM: Living your purpose brings fulfilment. Carrying out your life’s assignment brings greater peace that surpasses all understanding. A purpose-driven person is not driven by money, emotions, etc. but by purpose.
ML&S: Does one’s purpose always need to be altruistic? (charitable and humanitarian?)
DSM: Not necessarily! However, please realise that your purpose is for mankind. Whether you were born to be an astronaut, engineer, entrepreneur, etc, all our callings are for the betterment of the human race. Your purpose may seem far removed from the human race, put it into scrutiny and you will realise that your assignment is about the person next to you.
ML&S: My greatest realisation was that my life purpose is whatever I want it to be (“Conversations with God”) – do you agree?
DSM: There should be a context to this statement. My belief is that when a person is born, he/she is given all that he/she needs (by the Creator) to carry out his mandate. It is essential that you tap into your talents, passions, dreams, etc. and make the right choices that will take you to your destiny. As humans, we have freewill, that is, the power of choice. You can know your purpose and make choices that push you away from your destiny. Therefore, I am of the view that you need to have a benchmark/model/test that every choice or decision must pass. That way, you are able to align your desires and aspirations to your life purpose.
ML&S: You mention on page 57 that “Purpose discovery is a journey and not an event” = please elaborate on this?
DSM: When people take long to discover their purpose, they tend to be too hard on themselves. It shouldn’t! Generally, most people get a hint about their purpose, and as they pursue this hint, their purpose becomes clearer and clearer. This is a process, and many a time, takes time, hence the principle: “Purpose discovery is a journey and not an event.”
ML&S: Why should readers buy this book?
DSM: For those who do not know their reason for existence, the book provides guidelines on how to go about finding their purpose in life. And to those who know their assignment, the book will inspire them to press on despite the opposition and hardships. To those who have become complacent, the book will re-energise them and remind them that they do not have forever to carry out their mandate.
“Born for a Purpose – The Ultimate Reason for Existence” is available from Exclusive Books and all leading bookshops, Amazon, and DSMC web for R195.00.