For a long time I struggled with the relationship of finding purpose and taking action. What if, unsure of purpose, I run in a direction and find myself far off course? On the other hand, I could put all my focus towards finding my purpose. In that case I’m not off course but once I figure out what it is I am starting at square one.
Knowledge to Understanding
I’ve started and quit many things, and whenever I quit it’s because I run out of gas. My heart isn’t in it anymore. The thing I find more interesting, though, is the times where I haven’t ever started.
When I was in college, I majored in theatre for three years. During that time I was set on being an actor, director, and screenwriter. I had plans to make the big time and be famous. I read every book I could find at the bookstore on screenwriting, cinematography, and directing a film set. I would have felt right at home in the chair next to Spielberg, giving him notes on how to improve his film.
But the kicker is this: I never made a film myself. I never wrote a screenplay. I didn’t put the knowledge to work. So I knew in theory how to make a film, but lacked experience.
What I am starting to see is that purpose and doing are really about fuel and understanding. It’s not either/or, it’s both/and. You need purpose because it is the fuel that allows you to keep going when things get tough. At the same time, you need to do. Doing is the thing that, through experience, moves you from knowledge to understanding.