What are your thoughts on purpose?

After an unintentional month away, I was excited to be back at my YP Insight events, expanding my mindset and hearing from great people.  On March 27th, The Kickback provided its usual intriguing and dynamic conversation, taking a crazy amount of twists and turns as we spoke on the topic of ‘Purpose’.

I’m not going to lie to you, I was not entirely comfortable leading out on this conversation, as I was unsure of where to start and it was not a topic I would have chosen, but it was the choice of one of the participants and I want to be fair when allocating topics each month.  Nevertheless, I was more than happy with the direction our conversation went in.

I began by asking, what are your initial thoughts when you hear purpose?  Rhianna immediately said, “Meaning to your life,” with Kayleigh adding, “The reason you do something.”

Kayleigh then went on to the interesting point of the need to have a purpose being entrenched in the world, which she thinks is unnecessary, as having a purpose can be “such a stressful thing” – “Young people are too young to try to figure out what they want to pursue… You have to choose the foundations of your career [at GCSE] when you’re still having to ask to go to the bathroom.”

Kris doesn’t really like the word purpose and the way it’s used, as he thinks that you stumble on it.  He also believes purpose implies that there’s one thing and you have to find it, to which Kayleigh responded, “That’s assuming you have to find it in the first place.”

When I posed the question, do you think you’ve figured out what your purpose is, Rhianna promptly blurted out a sound no.  On the other hand, I said yes, that my purpose was to do good and spread love.

Kris also said no, as “there’s no specific one thing in my head and I don’t know what I’ve been put on his earth to do.”  He also added another element to his response by saying, “I think you’ve got to have yourself together if you’re going to tackle really big things… You need to be well equipped to be able to deal with all these issues.”

This led on to a conversation about the part individuals play in addressing and attempting to solve the many issues and problems we face in the world.  Kris thinks “the definition of caring about a problem is wanting to see it solved,” however, Kayleigh raised the point that “everyone has different capabilities,” meaning that not every individual may be able to respond to a particular issue in the same way.  Some may only be able to protest and others may be able to have a greater influence over policy.

In response to this, I raised the question of whether we are getting too obsessed with marches and social media hash tags.  Kris gave an adamant yes, which he backed up by saying, “Voice truth when there’s a lie going on, but I don’t like [when people jump on the bandwagon]… I think the question is why do people do what they do?”  He also thinks that it would be better if people got involved in the issue they are protesting about.

However, Kayleigh believes that it depends on the media of it, as it is really easy to manipulate people.  Kris also backed up this point in a way when he said, “There are certain things that aren’t right, but they seem right.”

This led on to a discussion about equality, society and culture in various aspects of our lives that went in a number of different directions.  A compelling point made by Rhianna was about people generalising based on what they’ve heard or what they know, as it’s like society sets guidelines so people know what they are supposed to be doing.

Kayleigh also made one of the best statements of the night: “If you want everyone on the same playing field, you’ve got to level the playing field first.”

Speaking about culture and society also meant that we spoke a lot about visual differences, which of course included race.  Rhianna thinks that you gravitate towards your own race, depending on the environment, because that’s what you’re comfortable with.

Touching on the contrast between race and culture, Kayleigh stated, “Race isn’t a social construct, but culture is.”  Most of us agreed and Rhianna also added, “You can identify as the culture, but you can’t identify as the race.”

Eventually, we ended up speaking about the way we describe each other, which ultimately resulted in a final discussion on language.  Rhianna made a very thought-provoking comment when she said, “If we’re going to scrutinise language, then why do we speak at all?”  And Kris described language as a game we all play – “Words come out of purpose.”

The Kickback returns on April 17th when the focus will be ‘Youth Violence’.  Join us in Project B from 6.30-8.30pm for more great conversation, snacks and new faces.  Looking forward to seeing you then.

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Show Support to The Complete Freedom of Truth

Following the news, it’s become commonplace for us to hear about Brexit, fractured relationships in Europe, Trump wanting to ban immigrants from the USA and many other examples of conflicts throughout the world.

We live in a world and a society overrun with conflict and struggles to live together peacefully – harmony seems like an impossibility.  This makes it all the more important for initiatives and exchanges to take place, which will bring individuals from different aspects of life and different parts of the world together.

This is exactly what The Complete Freedom of Truth (TCFT) does.  You will have seen me write posts about TCFT before on this blog, as I have been blessed enough to take part in the project over the past few years.

TCFT is a five-year project which aims to “develop global youth citizenship through culture and the arts”.  Time spent embracing creativity, as well as learning about policies and democracies, through various workshops, presentations, activities and sharing evenings is a rewarding experience.  It enables all participants to develop skills, build friendships and grow into change-makers that will have an impact on their communities, Europe and hopefully the world as a whole.

The Complete Freedom of Truth, Srebrenica, Bosnia and Herzegovina, August 2015 from robert golden on Vimeo.

It is an environment where experiences and views are shared without judgement, prejudices are eradicated and everyone is seen as equal.  Age, race, nationality, sexuality, religion and level of ability does not matter – each of us is human and that is all that matters.  Wouldn’t the world be a much better place if we all thought like that?

The project can also be a life-changing and thought-provoking process.  A young person from Bosnia, who was self-admittedly lazy, is working on developing on organisation in their country.  A young Romanian, who said that she was previously a little racist, has changed the way she thinks and is apologetic about it.  And I know that I probably would not have taken Young People Insight further without TCFT – I was able to develop my confidence, shake off some of my fears and it was there that I performed my first piece of spoken word.

TCFT is a truly special project that more people should be aware of, because we are slowly trying to repair some of the cracks in Europe through unity and creativity.  Instead of constantly reporting on Brexit, why doesn’t the media report that?

However, projects like this cost money and TCFT is in need of some funds for this year’s residency in Italy.  We are going to continue our creative practices and have further discussions on EU policy, which we as young people need a greater understanding of.

There is currently a crowdfunding campaign running throughout the month of February, which needs your support.  Please donate as little as £5 (more would be great) and then share it with others.  Raising money is not only important, but raising awareness is a vital aspect of the campaign.

You can donate to The Complete Freedom of Truth’s campaign on the Crowdfunder site: http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/the-complete-freedom-of-truth/