Finding your purpose as a human being

In This Podcast
Show Notes
Charles Eisenstein
E 128

In This Podcast

  • Why success doesn’t have to be goal driven
  • Our education system doesn’t create leaders
  • How to use business as a force for change
  • The most important quality of a leader 
  • Kindness is the highest form of intelligence

Charles Eisenstein is a writer, speaker and the author of several books including The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible. His work covers a wide range of topics such as history of human civilization, economics, spirituality, and also the ecology movement, all topics which leaders today need to understand to evolve their companies.

Show Notes

Finding your purpose as a human being with Charles Eisenstein 

Charles Eisenstein is in a state of transition. He’s not sure what he’s changing into, but he knows that he’s not comfortable staying where he is. And that’s an important point, because we don’t have to keep doing the same thing over and over again. We can start new chapters and find new ways that we can serve, if we’re curious to explore a new future.

“What I’m mostly pondering is what is my next role to play here? I feel like I’ve completed part of my journey. And when you reach the end of what you are passionate about, you no longer feel so excited to do that thing. And maybe you go through a phase of continuing to push yourself to do the thing that you tell yourself is important. But your heart isn’t in it anymore. And so I’m listening to that. And pulling back a little bit.”

Success doesn’t have to be goal driven

“Our culture has a certain idea of success that’s defined by a goal. And if you don’t have a goal, if you can’t articulate your vision statement and your mission statement, then the prejudice is that you’re kind of lost.”

And that’s true at a certain point in the journey, says Charles, but it is not true at other points of the journey. There are times when you have to step in a place of unknowing and allow a new direction to make itself known. It’s when you fight that process that you can become depressed. 

So what is the key to change that we are all searching for?

The key to change

“Recognise and give attention to the readiness and the willingness to change. And sometimes you’re not ready. But sometimes there’s part of you that’s ready to make a change and part of you that isn’t ready. And sometimes giving non coercive attention to the part of you that isn’t ready, will make you ready.”

As a leader, instead of trying to incentivize, and bribe and threaten people into change, recognise what people are ready for, and what they’re not ready for. And have a non-judgement space of listening, because it is that space that allows evolution to happen. 

One important thing about leading today, says Charles, is to dare to lead people to places that nobody has ever been. It takes courage to step out of the box. It’s much easier to lead people to places that society deems worthy. But that’s not what’s needed most right now. 

“Where we need to go the most today are places where you may not get rewarded. You may not get celebrated. That’s why they’re hard to go. But that’s how real change happens, especially on a broader social level.”

There is no map, if there were, it wouldn’t require real leadership to get us there. And real leadership isn’t something our current education is set up to teach us. 

Our education system doesn’t create leaders

“Most education is not actually education in leadership. Education is training in going through a curriculum created by other people. It’s training in listening to authority, it’s training in looking to authority for the correct answers. None of those are leadership qualities.”

And for people who have been over-educated, says Charles, there’s a certain amount of unlearning to do in order to uncover your leadership abilities. 

Conversely, you don’t always have to be a leader. There is joy to be found in being a follower and trusting the leader. Simply being told what to do by someone you trust, and if you care about what you’re doing together, makes the experience even more enjoyable. 

The problem is, we value leadership in our culture because it’s so competitive. 

“I think it actually will make you a more effective leader if your goal isn’t leadership, if it’s more of when purpose calls me to leadership, I will lead. And if it does not call me to leadership, I don’t need to be on top. Because what I’m serving is a purpose beyond myself, not my own ambition to be a leader. Paradoxically, that makes you a better leader, when you have no ambition to be a leader.”

The world doesn’t work through the mechanisms of power that we think it does. 

How to use business as a force for change

The primary way humans change anything is by doing it in collaboration with others. Yes, you can use your own hands to build something, but if you want to make anything beyond that, you need to organise other people to do it. And companies are one of the main ways to bring people together. 

But we live in an economic environment that puts pressure on us to maximise profits, therefore it requires a different sort of leadership and commitment to something else to use a company for another purpose beyond simply making money. 

The most important quality of a leader 

“The most important quality of leadership is to understand the purpose of a human being, which is to serve life and beauty in the world, to be an instrument of the evolution and healing and becoming of the world.”

Each person carries a unique gift for the evolution of the totality. It’s a leader’s responsibility to lead at each person they work with and know that you won’t see their gift straight away, but it is there, and that person wants to give their gift to the world. 

“That is what leadership is. I create opportunities for others to give their gifts. I help them discover what those gifts are. I help them develop those gifts, then you will be a powerful leader.”

Our time is precious

Every gathering of humans only happens once, says Charles. When we come together, we are divine souls intersecting in a special moment. We divide our lives in the professional realm and the intimate realm, but this is an artificial division. It’s a false division to believe that you aren’t intimately connected with the people you work with. 

You are both devoting your precious life energy towards achieving something together, and when you only have a short amount of time on this earth, and you have nothing else but your time to give, the fact that you choose to devote it to work, to other people, is a special gift. And that’s something we all need to be conscious of. 

We also need to be aware that we are intimately connected to the Earth. 

“Every ecosystem, every place, every forest, every river, every pod of whales is a sacred being. And to understand deeply, that the health of the soil and the fish, the oceans, the whales, is our own health, their well being is our well being and to end, therefore, this exploitative relationship.”

Kindness is the highest form of intelligence

Kindness is the highest form of intelligence. When we act from a place of kindness, we can never go wrong. We can’t hurt anybody or anything. But first, we have to understand what kindness is. It’s not just being nice. It’s not letting someone have their own way. It’s not avoiding uncomfortable truths. It comes from the same place as kin, or kindred. 

“Kindness is something that recognises that we’re family, that recognises that we are inseparable, that we are relations, that you are my relation in that recognition, then I know how to be kind.”

What does the world need from us most right now? To understand why we’re here and what a human being is. So what is a human being, according to Charles?

“[A human is} a sacred gift to the world. Longing to give forward from that gift to serve life and beauty on Earth.

If the talk resonates with you, we’d recommend you listen to this episode too: John P. Milton


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