Creative Leadership

What Drives You Nuts? How to Find Your Purpose

Were you born with a burden? Some people seem to be born with a real passion in life – to excel in sports, become an activist, change the world, share their faith, write, and more. I’ve always thought they were lucky. They have a pretty well defined vision for their lives, and some even seem “called” as children.

But I’ve had a number of people tell me they don’t have that burden. Many struggle to find it. They are sincere people, and many have spent years looking for their purpose.

Why are you here? Why were you born? What keeps you up late at night?

Let me offer a suggestion. I’ve discovered that in many cases, the thing you hate the most, is probably the problem God has called you to fix. In other words, what do you hate? What drives you nuts? I believe the key to your destiny could be found in the answer to that question.

I know of a woman who hated stories of young girls who got pregnant out of wedlock, and were suddenly “dumped” by their boyfriend or family. Those stories drove her nuts. So she created a network of homes literally around the world that take these women in, helps them finish high school or college, trains them for a job, gets them back on their feet, and helps them raise the child, or find a good home for it. It all started with something that drove her crazy.

It’s not a matter what your job is or what you do for a living. What you hate could express itself in a movie, a book, a march, a campaign, a cause, or a religious awakening.

When I spoke at the Sundance Film Festival a few years ago, I talked about this very thing. One of the students came up to me later and told me, “I’ve been wrestling with my purpose in life for years. I’m in graduate school, but just can’t decide where I can make a difference or what I’m passionate about. But after your lecture, I went to my room and made a list of 10 things I really hated. I discovered that all 10 come from essentially the same cause. At that moment, it was like a window opened, and I discovered what I was born to do.”

Try it yourself. What do you hate? What drives you nuts in life? The answer may change the course of your future.

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  1. Wow, you are so on Mr. Cooke.  The very thing I absolutely "hate" is the one thing I have been struggling with to see if it's God's calling in my life.  I've never really thought about it that way and your post has confirmed what I have been thinking constantly about over the past year. 

    Is this something you learned from personal experience or was revealed to you through another?

    Thanks again for another edifying post. 


  2. You are quite right, although i would go further and suggest that Discovering one's purpose is actually a matter of life and death for both you and some of God's people whom you were supposed to impact.Whats interesting is That God says in the the Book of 1 Peter that we must work and insure our calling because thats what will keep us from backslidding into old habits and sin.

    Christians must know however that to find their true niche, they have to work at their calling over a period of time, often going through dry periods of hard adversity. The path to purpose is both exhillarating and very rewarding. I have written a book called "Foundation for a Great Life" ( and it took me years to realise that my calling was actually in the media, yet having been involved with TV, Radio and magazine media projects from a very young age. The realisation gave my life a new meaning and greatly increased my interest in God because i now have a particular interest area i absolutely love serving God in.

    I love your posts
  3. Great post – Two things:
    Firstly, pursue your calling but start with what’s in your hand.
    Secondly, what it looks like now is different to what God sees – but if you could see that you’d never go after it.

  4. Be willing to say it the way you want it said. Words are everything, and the choice of them that is your own says as much as what you say. Have your own speaking style, and let the Holy Spirit guide your thoughts. I enjoy writing because the thoughts are God’s and mine, and so are the words.

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