Dictate Your Own Purpose in Life

Dear friend,

A very simple yet powerful idea:

Dictate your own purpose in life.

There ain’t a “right” or “wrong” purpose in life. It is your duty in life to dictate your own purpose in life.

Work backwards

Eric kim black and white film photography Trix 1600 2015 Europe -001

First idea:

Imagine your death, then work backwards.

What do you desire your legacy to be? Assuming there is no conscious after-life– what do you want to achieve/do/create in your lifetime while you are still alive?

Anti Self-Preservation

Second idea:

Don’t worry too much bout your own self-preservation.

This means, don’t worry about going broke, don’t worry about starving to death, etc.

When Elon Musk was building his first company (X, which later got turned into PayPal), he shared an office with his brother, and they both programmed on 1 computer! They were so broke, they couldn’t afford housing– so they just slept in sleeping bags in their office, and went to shower at the local YMCA. And Elon was able to figure out that he was able to feed himself on $2 a day (only hotdogs and spaghetti). Therefore this is my theory:

Because Elon knew he could live (contently) on a poverty-income, he unlearned fear-aversion, thus, he was able to pursue any of his “crazy” entrepreneurial ideas, with little fear.

Another story: Steve Jobs went on his ‘hippie’ journeys to India, and was able to feed himself purely on beans and lentils. He even knew that (growing up middle-class), he never had to really worry about money — he knew that he would never starve to death. And to be frank (at least in America), none of us are going to starve to death, die of the cold, etc. Most of us just fear losing comfort in life. As Nietzsche said, in modern society, we have a ‘religion of comfort’ — everything in our lives are optimized to make our lives more comfortable, more painless, and more convenient. But I believe that our potential in life is far more than just minimizing pain in life– it is about embracing pain as a stimulus to make us great!

Thus morale of the story:

Eliminate your fear of going broke, in order to become more fearless/bold/audacious as an entrepreneur.

Realistically speaking, most of us will probably die in our 90’s (assuming we don’t die in a drunk-driving accident, a texting-while driving accident, a “adjusting Google Maps” while driving accident, or from a bicycle accident, walking-while-texting accident, etc).

So let us so some simple math:

Take your (current) age and subtract it from 90 years of age. How many years do you have left?

And given how many years left you have– what do you wish to achieve/do/create while you are going to still live?

Then the even more tricky thing to consider:

It ain’t even guaranteed you will live to be 90 years old. You might not even live to be into your 80’s. Or 70’s. Or 60’s. Or there isn’t even a guarantee you will wake up tomorrow. Or there is a chance you might die today in an automobile-related accident (actually realistic).

So consider this:

The duration of your life (from a physics perspective) might be between 1 day, and a few decades.

Thus, to me, the simple strategy in life is simple:

Live like today were your last day alive.

It ain’t so farfetched. My friend Simon Kim died when he was around 16 years old. Him and his buddies were driving somewhere, and a drunk truck driver ran a red light, t-boned them, and him and his 4 other buddies instantly died in the accident.

I have had some buddies like Dave who nearly died in a biking accident. He was just riding his bicycle, and then some crazy car hit him. He flew off the bicycle, and almost snapped his neck.

Avoid dying

This is a bit off-topic, but a simple idea is this:

Avoid dying.

This means:

  1. Don’t ride a bicycle.
  2. Don’t drink and drive.
  3. Don’t text and drive.
  4. Don’t fidget too much with your phone while driving (changing Spotify, podcast, adjusting Google Maps)
  5. Don’t drive when you are too tired.
  6. Don’t drive a motorcycle.
  7. Don’t drive above the speed limit (speed kills).

This will at least ‘hedge’ your opportunity of dying (at least from preventable causes).

What will exist after you die?

A practical way of living life:

Seek to make artwork, books, information, music, etc which will continue to exist after you die.

My buddy Horace told me in his book, ‘Ars Poetica’ (the art of poetry):

A poet is good if his work exists for at least 100 years.

This is a simple goal:

Seek to make an artwork that can inspire and empower other humans 100 years from now.

Of course, this is just a suggestion or an idea. There ain’t a “right” or “wrong” way to live your life. But I do believe that if you live your life more intentionally, more consciously, and with more force, confidence, brazenness, audacity, and without shame– the more likely you can create things that will outlive you!


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