The Gift of Purpose

There's something about the winter holidays that causes introspection. I suppose it's only natural when marking the end of the year to reflect on how to make the coming one fare better.

That's probably why we see such an influx of inquiries in December here at from folks who are looking for answers to the big unresolved issues in their lives. While the specific questions we receive run the gamut, I find that the underlying theme to the vast majority deals with seeking greater purpose.

Most of those reaching out are wrestling with the tension of holding a certain set of beliefs, but not living in alignment with them. Chris addressed this inner conflict in his Living Two Lives piece this past summer.

The demands of everyday life, of needing to earn a living, are often experienced to be in competition or even conflict with these beliefs. It's common to hear folks express frustration at being "stuck" in their lives; they feel they have to make a choice between either "putting food on the table" or living authentically. And for nearly everyone, especially those with families, the former wins out.

Can these goals be in alignment? And if so, how do you bring them together? What if you don't even know what "living authentically" means for you yet?

These are exactly the kinds of questions we're hearing more of these days. In addition to the approaching year-end, I suppose this angst also has something to do with recent data like the following:

You Probably Hate Your Job — But You Don’t Have To (TIME)

Seventy percent of U.S. employees are either “not engaged” or “actively disengaged” at work, according to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American Workplace report. Put more simply, most of us hate our jobs.

You might expect that levels of employee disengagement have gone up since the Great Recession, considering both the extent to which employers have squeezed productivity out of existing employees and the large number of people who are under-employed. But that 30% engagement number has actually been relatively static since Gallup started tracking happiness in the workplace in 2000. In fact, 74% of employees said they were unhappy at work in 2000, more than at anytime since the recession.


As we've talked a lot about on the site this year, modern society does a poor job of teaching us how to successfully map our natural interests and aptitudes to a career path that will make the most of them. Instead, our broken educational system is churning out ever-greater cohorts of graduates with less direction and less marketable knowledge, whose top mission is to find the job (or any job!) that will best help them service their ballooning student loans. With such short-term focus at the beginning of their careers, it's no wonder that workers are awaking in middle age asking: How the heck did I get here?

As has also been discussed much on this site, if you or someone you know is wrestling with this question, there is good news. It is indeed possible to bring your beliefs and your career into alignment with each other. There is a time-proven, defined process to follow that can make it happen for you. It takes a heck of a lot of discipline and time in most cases, but it does work, and it's most definitely worth the effort.

As many readers know, we released the book Finding Your Way to Your Authentic Career earlier this year, which lays out this process in step-by-step fashion. If you have people in your life who you think would benefit from such a resource, this introspective time of year would be a particularly good time for them to receive it. Few gifts are more valuable than helping somebody move closer to finding or living their purpose.

For those considering buying copies of the book as holiday gifts, I'm making the Introduction and first chapter available here. Take a read and then decide for yourself how helpful it may be for the ones you might give it to:

Finding Your Way to Your Authentic Career - Chapter 1 by Adam Taggart


In my (obviously biased) opinion, this book is especially valuable for high-school and college age students. If we can help them pick the right trajectory at the beginning of their careers, we'll be giving them a tremendous life advantage. (I feel the same about Charles Hugh Smith's recent book, The Nearly Free University and the Emerging Economy)

                                                           Get The Book

Whatever your plans for the holiday season, I hope you welcome any introspection that arises within your own life during the next few weeks. The best (and really only) way to progress through the matters that trouble or challenge us is to engage with them directly.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at

My daughter is trying to join The Machine so I have got her Adam's book for Christmas.
Here McKenna wraps it all up. Climate, the  Intelligence Experiment, Gaia and Purpose.


First of all, let me say right off the bat that I am NOT trying to promote myself here, but I’d like to offer a concrete example of how I stepped outside of the American “Matrix” and began to live a more authentic life in Vietnam seven years ago when I was in my early fifties.  I had no savings and no pension and serious doubts about whether I was going to be able to keep working long enough to be able to qualify for Medicare.  What I did have was a useful skill (physical therapy), significant equity in my house and an open-minded, un-employed husband.  Two mini-documentaries recently made by Vietnamese television stations allowed me to tell my story and can be found at my website: .

Thank you for posting the first chapter of this important book Adam.  Will make a good christmas gift  for my twenty something nephews who are floundering. Might I also recommend to people the book
How to Find Fulfilling Work by Roman Krznaric.