Here's the litmus test. Imagine the purpose engraved on your tombstone.
Roy Janik: "He was really good at improv."
Roy Janik: "He didn't make anyone angry."
These don't really hold up.
Roy Janik: "He created inspiring work."
I dunno. I'm still figuring it out.
Comments welcome, but don't try to tell me what my purpose is. I'm trying to figure it out. In many ways, it's silly. I mean, does your life really have a purpose? Maybe not, but the entire point of the book is to think of your life in terms of stories, and to write your own stories that set you up for success. So in clearly defining your purpose, you can structure the stories of your life around achieving it.
One example the author uses is with regards to a pro tennis player he calls Barbara.
total butchered paraphrasing follows:
author: What's your purpose in life?
barbara: I don't know. What kind of question is that? To be the number one tennis player in the world?
author: So if when you died, your gravestone said "She was #1 in the world.", that'd be okay? You'd be good with that?
barbara: No. I don't know... to make enough money to buy what I want, like really nice cars. I love cars. Oh, that sounds horrible.
Anyhow, he sends her off to think about it, and the following day she comes back with her purpose figured out... "To be sunshine." To spread joy to everyone she knew, and to express it everything she did.
Interesting. I'm not sure if I'd express my purpose/goal or whatever as vaguely as that. But maybe that's what you wind up with. Who knows if I'll be doing improv the rest of my life. But the reasons I do it and love it, and what I'm trying to achieve with it... that's bound to be tied up in what I perceive as my purpose in life.
Stuff to think about.