If you know my work, then you know I have a Platonic crush on Aristotle, the Greek philosopher.
According to Aristotle, in order to be your happiest self, you must live up to your fullest human potential.
I’ll be describing both of these 2 functions in this short essay.
Plus I will be explaining why it’s essential to tap into 2 out of 2 if you want to feel true fulfillment.
According to Aristotle, every single human has a shared universal function – a thing which only we humans can do.
In fact no other animal on this planet is capable of doing this one thing.
And no, it’s not opening up peanutbutter jars with the aid of our opposable thumbs!
Aristotle was realistic about how often people use this “function” of rational thought.
In fact, he purposefully referenced the word “capable” in that phrase: “capable of rational thought.”
As a result, not everybody is thinking clearly and making their highest level choices.
Unfortunately if you don’t put in the effort of conscious thought – you cannot live your best life.
Ari believed that everybody has their special Specific Function – a unique thing which only you as an individual can do. And you can do it better than anyone else.
When you’re doing your Specific Function, you’re…
I know personally that I love writing books. Writing is what I’m uniquely meant to do for sure – my “Specific Function.”
Plus, doing my Specific Function of writing keeps me feeling balanced and sane.
Even when I’ve gone through what I call a challenging “Vortex Mode,” I’ve been able to stay calm and reasonably content, because I’ve kept myself busy writing.Aristotle would not be surprised to hear this about me and my writing.
Aristotle very much believed that when you’re doing what you are meant to do – the unique thing that you do best (either as your career – or even as a hobby) then you’re cashing in on being your fullest potential.
You receive the awesome side effects of true fulfillment.
Unfortunately, the opposite is also true.
If you’re not doing your Specific Function, then you’re NOT cashing in on becoming your highest potential.
An oil trader, who amasses a great fortune, but is only doing habits that stroke his ego – but that don’t nurture his soul – this oil trader will ALWAYS have a harder time feeling truly fulfilled – no matter the wealth they amass.
Aristotle’s ancient philosophy matches exactly with a recent research study by Amy Wrzesniewski, Ph.D., professor of management and organizational behavior at NYU.
Wrzesniewski found that people who reported the highest life satisfaction were those who viewed their work as a “calling” not a mere “job.”
According to Wrzesniewski, what some people called a “calling” (aka Specific Function) wasn’t necessarily highly chic or interesting work.
Some people who viewed themselves as doing their “calling” (aka Specific Function) were administrative assistants or sanitation workers.
Many of these people even did the exact activity as folks who described their work as merely a “job.”
Aristotle believed not only matches with what Wrzesniewski reported.
His philosophies also match with the philosophies of Carl Jung (who is one of the key founders of modern psychology).
Furthermore, Jung believed that when we humans don’t have a positive “high-level spiritual quest” to pursue, we can develop a “low-level spiritual quest” – in the form of a negative addiction.
We over-pursue hedonistic things and wind up with:
Basically, Jung thought “low-level spiritual quests” were the back-up plan for not having a “Specific Function.”
Jung believe that you had to do a “high level spiritual quest” (aka: your Specific Function, aka your Calling).
Personally, I totally agree with Ari, Wrzesniewski and Jung.
I believe the purpose of your life is to find and do the purpose of your life.
And I hope that this short essay served as a gentle nudge to remind you of the importance of fulfillment over just plain ol’ happiness!
So, go out there and do your Specific Function, your Calling, your High Level Spiritual Question, your Purpose!