How To Quickly Discover Your Teleological Imperative

Teleological imperative? Those are big words, but they capture a big idea. Read on to discover what it is and why it matters…


You are not here on earth by accident.

You are here to focus your intelligence,  arouse your ambition, and create a purpose-driven life.

You are here to express your teleological imperative.

Teleology comes from the Greek words telos and logos. Telos means purpose. And logos is the principle of divine reason. So you are here to express the potentiality of consciousness itself.

Science has often denigrated consciousness as a random permutation of matter coalescing over eons. But I believe it to be the originator of a grand design.

As for an imperative, it is something of vital importance. It’s an urgent thing.

So, What’s the Big Idea?

I’m not using these big words, “teleological” and “imperative” to impress you. But to impress upon you a big idea. And, yes, sometimes big ideas call for big words. 

It’s a philosophical idea, but one you’ll find of high practical value.

In a nutshell:

You are here for a great reason.

You are here to discover your greatness, and you are here to express your magnificence.

What is great in you is what you can do that others find difficulty to do. As Derek Sivers once pointed out: You find it easy. You think it’s obvious. Others find it amazing. And think it genius.

That’s your greatness.

As for your magnificence—that’s your full expression.

When you’re doing what you love to do, you are living a magnificent life. It fills you and others with joy. 

Steve Jobs defined the purpose of life is to make a ding in the universe.

How to Discover and Express Your Teleological Imperative

You find your teleological imperative through introspection.

When you think enough about it, it will become clear.

Ask, and the answer will appear. It may take time, but if you persist the answer will appear.

Once you’ve discovered your teleological imperative, your next task is to express it.

It is this expression that will quicken the depth of your discovery, and here are 7 ways to do it:

1. Practice your craft.

As an example, here is how I practice my craft:

  • I take writing classes
  • I read books about writing
  • I reflect on why something I read is well-written
  • I journal about insights I get on how to express my ideas better

Once you’ve found your passion, figure out how to keep getting better at what you already do well.

2. Work hard to improve.

When you love what you do, it doesn’t seem like hard work, but to others it can appear that way. This is because you start early and finish late. You work all the time you work. And you finish what you start.

There is no substitute for hard work.

Yes, magical moments do happen. Moments of inspired action. Moments when you slip into the zone. Moments when you have epiphanies. Moments when you bump into synchronicity.

But these peak experiences are unpredictable. For the most part, you have to anchor yourself in hard work. You have to keep plowing the fields and sowing seeds.

3. Don’t Be a dilettante.

If you’re deepening your passion and working hard at it, you’ll get good at what you love.

When you get good at something, you add value to the world. Your self-esteem also rises. You step into a virtuous circle of achievement. One thing leads to another. And your chronic problems – not enough time, money, or support all appear to dissolve.

4. Be your own Sensei.

You are both the teacher and the student of your own martial art.

You are both the sorcerer and the apprentice of your own magic.

The work you do will not always be easy, even if it’s work that you love.

Here are five occasions when you will need to push yourself.

  1.  When the work becomes boring or tedious.
  2.  When you feel tired and depressed. 
  3.  When you mess up. 
  4.  When you aren’t getting any breakthroughs
  5.  When you go past your comfort zone. (Your treasure often lies outside your self-imposed circle of permission.)

5. Serve humanity.

As you work on what you love, you serve value to others. You don’t have to try to be helpful, useful, or of service. It just occurs as a natural extension of what you do.

Even if you do try to keep your genius to yourself, it manages to break out and touch the world. Many secret artists or inventors have someone discover their work and share it with the world. Sometimes this even happens after their death.

So serving values to others happens by itself. You don’t have to try to contribute. You just do.

6. Respect your ideas.

You’ll get good ideas when you deepen your passion and do work that you love.

But while you don’t have to do much to get these ideas — they just show up when you least expect — you should make an effort to respect them.

If possible, act on your inspired ideas when they occur. But if you’re too busy, at least file them away.

Your best ideas have a short expiration date. If you take too long to act on them, they will appear limp and dead when you pick them up again. Once you respect and appreciate the value of receiving good ideas, more will appear.

7. Patiently persist past plateaus.

Expressing your teleological imperative is not easy. In fact, it could be the most difficult thing you’ve ever done.

This is often because you’ll often find yourself completely alone. You’ll find yourself without support of any kind. Worse still, you might even seem eccentric to others. Many may oppose your best ideas.

And, of course, things often take longer and cost more than you thought. Mistakes happen. Fatigue sets in.

Through all this, you have to persist. You have to believe that there is land beyond the endless ocean you see all around you. You have to believe when there is no good reason to believe that you will ever succeed. As Les Brown is fond of saying, it isn’t over until you win.

The Hero’s Journey

One reason why people struggle in life is because of unrealistic expectations. They feel their talents don’t match up to their opportunities. They do mediocre work but expect high rewards. But that’s not how life works. You reap what you sow. It’s all about cause and effect.

Moving beyond struggle occurs when you stop pretending to be ordinary.

When you discover your teleological imperative, your life becomes an adventure. You become the hero of your own journey. You’re no longer paddling in your canoe, you’re racing down a torrent.

I’d love to know what you think. Please leave your comments below.

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