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5 Lessons on Finding Your Purpose From Ian Ruhter

Updated: Dec 23, 2021

Artist Ian Ruhter. Explore his amazing work at

“Life grants us a series of opportunities, and those opportunities come with a price.” — Ian Ruhter

First, watch this 10-minute video on the life and work of Ian Ruhter. Then, keep reading.

1. Here is the first thing to finding your purpose: You have to discover what you love. This can take a long time, or can happen in a single day. But you have to put your heart out there and let something take it. You have to experience things. You have to let yourself be vulnerable to life. What will break your heart? What will set it on fire? What will make it soar? To know these things, you have to let life happen to you. As you do, ask yourself, always be asking yourself, “What do I love? What do I want to give my love to? What do I want to give my life for?”

“What do I love? What do I want to give my love to? What do I want to give my life for?”

2. Once you know the answer to this, the next thing is to give yourself over to it. There is a threshold, a point of no return for every passion. Until you go all in, you are just dabbling. There’s nothing wrong with dabbling. Just be clear with yourself about the fact you’re doing it. Ask yourself: “If this really is something I truly love, what am I willing to sacrifice for it?” Whatever it is, do that. But start small. Grow shrewdly. Follow your passion, but use your head. One step, one risk, one challenge at a time.

3. It will not be easy. Don’t romanticize this journey. It will be hard. You are not guaranteed success. Sometimes it won’t work, and you won’t know why. There will be times you want to quit. Fear and resistance are an integral part of the process. That’s the nature of the game. Know that. Then ask: “Do I still want to play?”

4. Above all else, follow your sense of wonder. It’s your wonder, your love of the thing, that got you into this in the first place. And it’s wonder that will point the way forward and fuel you to keep going. Notice fear, but don’t let it rule your choices. Instead, cultivate open-hearted curiosity. Stay compassionate with yourself, but never let fear have the final say.

5. Finally, remember: Today is all you have. Act now. What is one thing your sense of wonder is drawing you toward today? Go, do that, let your heart be in it, and see what it will teach you about the reason you are here.

What does Ian's story inspire in you? Whatever it is, follow it.

“I think it would be well, and proper, and obedient, and pure, to grasp your one necessity and not let it go, to dangle from it limp wherever it takes you." — Annie Dillard

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