1.5 Why You Need A Purpose – Isaiah Hankel | reading


This section is based on the book "Black Hole Focus: how intelligent people can create a powerful purpose for their lives" by Isaiah Hankel.

It's an absurdly motivating and effective read – so if you're like where these exercises take your mind, I'd recommend ordering the full book – link to amazon here


Determining your ultimate purpose in life is the toughest decision you'll ever make, which is why so few people actively decide on one. Instead, most people let life make this critical decision for them. They fritter their lives away on an endless stream of tiny, meaningless decisions that have no real impact and leave no great change.

Imagine if, instead, your purpose in life was as powerful as a black hole. With a force that strong, absolutely everything in your life would be pulled towards it – thoughts, actions, your entire identity. Even the people around you will be sucked into it.

As a result of that defining purpose, who you are and how you live will be completely transformed. With every aspect of your being focussed on moving you towards that purpose, you'll be able to transcend normal careers and a mediocre life – giving context to your everyday struggles and pushing you to grow in a direction that fulfils you.

Your worst pain is your strongest "why"

The most important part of changing your life is knowing why you're changing it in the first place. Knowing why you want to make something happen is more important than knowing how, or even the goal you want to achieve itself.

Put simply, without this strong why, your purpose won't survive and you won't escape mediocrity.

Diving into "why";– we're aware that people do things for two reasons: to avoid pain, or to experience pleasure. Of the two, and this is true for everyone, pain is the more powerful motivator (more precisely, the motivation to avoid pain).

So rather than fighting against that, you can harness that understanding. Focus on what is causing you pain, then make the decision to never experience that pain again. Do that, and you'll have the seeds of a strong "why" to live your life by.

Know your needs

Pain is the result of not having your needs met.

For us, and most of humanity now, our physical needs are met (hunger, shelter, warmth etc). But what isn't met is our higher-needs, beyond those physical needs.

There are three higher needs that are most prominent in us:




For modern humans, you'll experience pain because one of those three needs aren't being met fully; or they're off-balance with each other. For example, if you're spending lots of time working alone on launching your creative startup, you'll be getting lots of autonomy, but connection may be suffering as you spend days at a time struggling alone.

Growth is the master of your higher needs. Fulfilment can be seen as experiencing growth in every area of your life simultaneously – including growth in the areas of connection and autonomy.

Now, take 15 minutes to dive into chapters 5 & 6 of Black Hole Focus – you'll find it attached in this lecture. It jumps into energising your dreams; as growth only happens with huge personal energy. And explains the power of "starting from the end" when it comes to questioning your life's purpose.


“If your story is not inspiring you, it’s time to change it.” – Isaiah Hankel