The way you think is greatly influenced by your past. You are, to a certain extent, a product of your past. Three of the greatest past influences on your mindset as an individual are your parents, friends, and culture.
Most men and women are not neutral about their parents. If they had a loving example in their Dad, for example, they are more likely to want to be and parent just like him. If their Mom was not there at all, or emotionally absent, some people, unfortunately, will just follow in her footsteps.
Others will want to be the exact opposite of their Mom or Dad, sometimes out of bitterness, anger, or even hatred. But we should want to live with Purpose not to spite one or the other (or both), but out of a burning desire to love and lead others.
As much as you want to believe your primary influence was mostly by your parents, more often than not its your friends who are more influential on you.
The dynamics you yourself experienced at school, at play, during extracurricular activities, and in "hanging out" with friends no doubt influenced who you were friends with, how you did in school, what you did for entertainment, how involved you were with church, or in giving back to your community.
We all make mistakes and at some point in our past we all likely met up with and hung out with people we shouldn't have. Those experiences teach deep lessons. The flip side can often be highly influential as well, when good friends unintentionally influence you to spend time with one group of friends over another or believe in certain things without balance and perspective from other beliefs and cultures.
You and I have been influenced and taught by our culture to consume, achieve economic success, and default to what's in it for "me". When those three things are checked off the list, you are a successful individual. But you and I know that if those represent what it means to have arrived as a successful person, we are left with a sense of despair, emptiness, and unhappiness.
Real Purpose is all about loving God and others. And leading with love.
A New Way of Thinking
We can't delete your way of thinking about Purpose. Instead, let's shift your thinking so your mindset has a chance at change. While there may be some truth to our being products of the past, that does not make us prisoners of the past. Your past does not have to prescribe your future.
This new way of thinking is of your role as a Mom, Dad, Brother, Sister, Friend as being your job your most important job because it is. That should be your mindset.
You have to understand your ultimate purpose and responsibilities in your job to do it well. What would you think of an executive if she didn't know the mission of her company? What about a basketball coach who didn't know his team's purpose? And what if a manager was never given a job description, do you think he'd understand the responsibilities of his position?
You'd expect them all to fail - we see this happen time and time again across industries, government, and in families. Once you understand your purpose, you need to be focused on being mentally tough.
To have the mindset to always put your mission first and not be deterred from accomplishing that mission. That's what it takes to have purpose.
If you agree that being who you are (Mom, Friend, Dad, Colleague, insert your role here) is your most important job, you need to be able to answer the following questions: What is my mission as a "41 year old Catholic Dad with a busy family, small business, mortgage, pets, and bills? (that's me). What are my goals and objectives? Which daily or weekly tasks will I undertake to accomplish those goals? What is my job description as this kind of "Dad"?
Our current mindsets as individuals might be to be silent, be a provider, be a back seat driver, or be a helicopter parent. If you want to wander with purpose you need a new mindset. Spending your time succeeding at consuming, achieving economic success, and defaulting to what's in it for "me" are achievements in things that don't matter.
Your personal mission matters. What is that mission?
To live with Purpose to desire to love and lead others.
And you must have clear goals to accomplish that mission.