Curling and purpose.

I was half asleep on my couch.
Robotically clicking the TV remote.
Searching for a visual sedative.
And I serendipitously landed on something at cross-purposes.
Something that woke me up.
Curling (yeah, curling).
It turned on my torpid mind.
Because for some reason, it struck me as extremely odd.
An Olympic sport that resembles shuffleboard on ice.
When I changed the channel, I was similarly bemused.
By tournament poker.
A spectator card game with multimillion-dollar prizes.
A few more channels, a few more absurd human endeavors.
And then it hit me!
We’ve got this whole notion of purpose in business completely wrong.
We think it’s about discovering some kind of deep meaning.
A magical “why.”
It’s not.
It’s about something much more pedestrian.
And much more powerful.
Purpose is about enjoying ourselves.
Being engaged, feeling good and having fun.
Curling? Poker?
There’s no bigger purpose than camaraderie, getting better and trying to win.
And the same is true with business.
It doesn’t really matter what you make or sell.
Widgets or water purifiers.
Your purpose is simple.
Striving and achieving.
Community and collaboration.
In a word, enjoyment.
Now, I’m no touchy-feely business guy.
And this is not a virtuous thing to do.
It’s the hardest practical initiative.
And, based on what I’m seeing in the world of work, an urgent necessity.
It’s strange how this suddenly became clear to me.
But as T.S. Eliot wrote:
“We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.”