After working with thousands of people, I’ve come to understand that no matter what has happened to us over the course of our lives, our Creator has given us all the awesome ability to choose how we want to respond. When tragedy strikes, if we are not aware of our Purpose, we can easily become victims of circumstance. However, anyone you have ever admired was either consciously or unconsciously living on Purpose. They had a reason beyond their circumstances to continue, despite the worst of the worst. They were connected to their inner power, strength, love, and compassion, which helped them endure hardships.

When you start to understand what your Purpose is, you begin to manifest the incredible Love of the Creator on earth. Oftentimes well-intentioned people will try to save the world when they’re the people who truly need saving. In reality, the world will be saved by people who have woken up to their Purpose and who then become teachers through their examples.

Everyone has a Purpose. Most people don’t even know they do, and they live the worst kind of shallow life—a life on semiconscious autopilot, at the whim of whatever happens to them. A shallow life where connection comes from how many people “like” them online. A life of shallow relationships, because they have better relationships with their mobile devices than they do with actual human beings. Constant distraction fueled by the neurotic overconsumption of the lowbrow attention ecosystem (social media, sensational/violent headlines, and binge-watching show after show).

When you don’t know you have a Purpose, you become addicted to the shallow and need a hit every minute or so. Did they like my post? I need to know. Did they text me back? I must know. Did you see what happened on the last episode? How many followers do I have today? (Better be more than yesterday.) How many views? A life without Purpose is lived on the surface, and this is how most people live today.

A smaller number of people have some sense that they have Purpose, but they aren’t living it. This can sometimes be worse than living the distracted life, because when you get a sense that your life has a Purpose, it’s waking up from the trance of the shallow and feeling disconnected from something important. This can cause depression, anxiety, and a general sense of feeling like an alien in a world you can’t relate to. If you go long enough with having a sense that your life has Purpose and you don’t get to the Promised Land, you can suffer the worst kind of pain: being consciously separated from who you really are and—as a result—your Purpose. This can cause all kinds of coping mechanisms. Eventually, you go from being an optimistic seeker and wanting to make the world a better place to a burned-out, jaded, and close-hearted person; you turn into a skeptic with a Ph.D. in why things didn’t work out for you.

So, make me a promise, okay? Don’t be that person. For the rest of our time together, just table the skepticism, all the stories you’ve convinced yourself are true about why you can’t have what you want. Tell the voice of insecurity in your head to pack up and go on vacation for the next 40 days.

After working with thousands of people from all walks of life, I have seen time and time again that having an open mind and a curious spirit and being a student of life are the foundations in creating success. You can’t discover your purpose and experience all the great stuff that comes along with that if you are going to start your journey by staying focused on all the stories of limitation and lack, life being unfair, and why you can’t have the life that you want. News Flash: no matter what you’ve been through, someone else (and most likely millions of other people) has gone through it or is going through it right now. Your problems, your past, your hurt, your trauma are not what make you special. What makes you special is your ability to discover and thrive in your Purpose in spite of all those things.

You have a powerful, resilient, and infinite spirit within you that is unstoppable. To access it, you’ve got to get out of your own way and decide that from this moment forward you are going to earn a Ph.D. in results and in creating the outcomes you truly desire. 

Mastin Kipp is the creator of Functional Life Coaching(TM), best-selling author of Claim Your Power and “up and coming thought leader of the next generation of spiritual thinkers,” according to Oprah.