The Telos – Your Highest Calling To Serve and Achieve

DR JOHN DEMARTINI   -   Updated 3 weeks ago

Dr John Demartini explains that if you need extrinsic motivation to remind you to do what you say is important, it likely isn’t that important. Taking the time to identify your highest value, primary objective, or ‘telos’ – is therefore crucial in living a meaningful and fulfilling life.

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DR JOHN DEMARTINI - Updated 3 weeks ago

According to the ancient philosopher Aristotle, the telos is an inherent purpose behind all things. He believed that everything had an underlying purpose to its design, a belief that has been debated for centuries.

Each individual at any one moment has something truly meaningful and inspiring that they would love to fulfill and which fulfills their highest priority or value. Many theologians have called it your "calling", certain business people have called it your "métier", the American author Napoleon Hill called it "your chief aim", and Ed Tullison, one of my early mentors, refers to it as your "primary objective". It may have many names, but the telos has an underlying commonality. It refers to your most fulfilling pursuit or purpose in life and your path of

self-actualization. Click below for the video of this article. ↓  

 

Your highest value is the telos

For almost 4 and a half decades, I've been teaching people

According to the ancient philosopher Aristotle, the telos is an inherent purpose behind all things. He believed that everything had an underlying purpose to its design, a belief that has been debated for centuries.

Each individual at any one moment has something truly meaningful and inspiring that they would love to fulfill and which fulfills their highest priority or value. Many theologians have called it your "calling", certain business people have called it your "métier", the American author Napoleon Hill called it "your chief aim", and Ed Tullison, one of my early mentors, refers to it as your "primary objective". It may have many names, but the telos has an underlying commonality. It refers to your most fulfilling pursuit or purpose in life and your path of self-actualization. Click below for the video of this article. ↓  

JUMP TO VIDEO

 

Your highest value is the telos

For almost 4 and a half decades, I've been teaching people about their individual values as the foundation of their intrinsic vs extrinsic drive. Like for every other human being, you have a set of priorities or values, things that are most important to least important in your life that are unique to you, like fingerprints. Imagine a ladder, if you will. Whatever is highest on your list of values - raising a beautiful family, running a business, learning and educating and being a scholar, being an athlete or a theologian, dedicating your life to a spiritual quest, or possibly building wealth - whatever it is that's deeply important to you, the most important thing, the very highest priority in your life represents your telos. For this reason, the study of values features strongly in each of my presentations, programs, books, talks, or articles because the hierarchy of your values dictates your destiny. Whatever's highest on your values is your most meaningful and purposeful telos. In other words, it is the highest priority, most important, most meaningful, most inspiring, and most empowering objective that you could pursue in your life. It's also the most fulfilling thing because the higher something appears on your list of values, the more fulfilled you will tend to be when fulfilling it. The lower down you go on your values, the less fulfilled you will tend to be. It is, therefore, wise to identify your unique set of values and specifically your highest value and structure your life around them so you can fulfill what is most meaningful to you. If you have 'Monday morning blues', 'Wednesday hump days', and ‘thank God it is Friday’, like many people, this is powerful feedback to let you know that you may not be doing what is most inspiring to you. You may live from weekend to weekend and vacation to vacation, with some retail therapy or instant gratification. You may not be harnessing the opportunity to build momentum by doing something truly meaningful to you and getting remunerated for doing what you love while loving what you do. I recommend asking yourself these questions:

  • What is it that I would absolutely love to do? 
  • How do I get beautifully and handsomely paid to do it? 
  • What are the highest priority action steps I can do today to make that happen? 
  • What obstacles might I run into, and how do I solve them in advance? 
  • What worked and what didn't work today? 
  • How do I do it more effectively and efficiently tomorrow? 
  • And, no matter what happened to me, how is it helping me fulfill my highest value? 

That's a mastery path right there.     Asking quality questions such as the ones outlined above will help you live a quality life. Identifying your highest value is crucial if you wish to master your life. If you haven't identified your highest values, you can visit my website and go through the free Demartini Value Determination Process. This 13-step questionnaire that I developed over the years will help you discern what is truly most important to you – your métier, purpose in life and telos. Your highest value allows you to access what Immanuel Kant said is the noumenal transcendental state of awareness. Most people tend to live by responsibility, duty and default instead of living by design. There's no reason for you to follow the herd, subordinate to the crowd, minimize yourself to others, and sacrifice for the many when you can do something deeply meaningful while also serving others. You can either be a follower or a leader of a crowd. Leaders of the crowd find their telos, do what they love, and do it in a way that serves many people while also making a mark on the world. Followers of the crowd fit in and become diluted. As Ernest Becker says in his Denial of Death, the key is not becoming part of the collective hero but being the individual hero yourself.

Mind mastery is life mastery

It is wise not to subordinate to the world around you and put external heroes on pedestals. Instead, realize that the hero is inside you. Nothing is missing in you. Your highest value, the very objective that's most important to you, is the objective you are spontaneously inspired from within to do and fulfill. You don't need extrinsic motivation when pursuing your highest values because you’re intrinsically driven to do it. If you require extrinsic motivation to remind you to do what you say is important, it isn't important. However, when you identify your highest value and telos, the key to your fulfillment and purpose, you don't need to be externally motivated. I don't need to be motivated to do what I do: research, write, travel, and teach. I may, in theory, need to be encouraged to do other things, but I routinely delegate anything lower on my values to someone else to free up time for my higher values. Anything that does not inspire me I delegate. Whenever you do something that's highest on your values, you grow in self-worth, expand your space and time horizons, have more resilience and adaptability, experience eustress instead of distress, maximize your physiological and psychological potential, tend not to hesitate because you're more neutral, objective and focused, and are less likely to have a fear of loss of fantasies and fear of gain of nightmares. In fact, you have two parts of your brain, your more primitive subcortical survival brain and the other, your more advanced, self-governing prefrontal cortex, which is your thrival brain. All of the above is a sign of living in your thrival brain where you have your greatest self-governed executive function.     In other words, living congruently with your highest values makes you less likely to be distracted by impulses towards and instincts away - which are classic symptoms of living in your survival brain. Instead, you tend to run your life from the executive center of your brain, which is the prefrontal cortex area. As such, you are best placed to have an inspired vision, self-governance, strategic planning and self-mastery. This is why true mind mastery is the development of your prefrontal cortex, it’s the source of the all-important self-governing executive function which is the path of power and the key to true life mastery.

Individuals with the most certainty are the ones that rule

People who take the time to identify their telos and highest value, prioritize their life and delegate lower priority things, and focus on what's most important in their life, tend to be the ones that liberate themselves from a life of mediocrity. Most people are looking for a quick fix. People who are not living congruently with their highest values tend to seek immediate gratification. Immediate gratification costs them in their life instead of having a long-term vision, which pays them an inspired life. Immediate gratification is a symptom of living in your more primitive subcortical region of your brain. People who have identified their telos, who live by priority and delegate the rest, are the ones who build incremental momentum to great achievement. They also tend to lead with their uniqueness on the planet because each person's hierarchy of values is unique. That hierarchy determines how you see, decide and act. You have the most potential by living congruently with what you value most. Your thalamus has a gating mechanism, a filtering mechanism in the pulvinar region that filters your reality. It provides selective attention on the things that are most important to you so you can maximize your potential in life and not be overwhelmed by the infinity of distractions that surround you. By focusing on your highest value or telos, you give yourself permission to shine, not shrink, radiate outward and expand instead of gravitating inward and contracting, to have a broad mind that's neutral, loving and appreciative (your thrival brain) instead of narrow-minded and rigid (your survival brain). By focusing on your telos, you give yourself permission to do something more unique and extraordinary with your life. I focus on this objective in my two-day signature program, the Breakthrough Experience. I take the time to go through the Demartini Value Determination Process I referred to earlier with my attendees. In that way, you can gain clarity on what your life already demonstrates as being truly most important to you instead of being distracted by fantasies and stories you may be running in your head around what you perceive you "should" or "ought to" value. I then teach the Demartini Method, where I show how to take any emotional distractions in the past that has been stored in the subconscious mind and dissolve them. Once your perceptions are balanced, your more resourceful superconscious mind can begin doing its job, which is focusing on the highest calling, the telos. When you live congruently with your highest values, you wake up your superconscious mind. When you try to live by your lower values because you're trying to fit in and please everybody on the outside and not be authentic to yourself, you devalue yourself and wake up your more primitive mind and brain (the subcortical regions of your brain especially the amygdala) and you likely lose sight of your purpose in the process. As I often say, those with a vision flourish and those without a vision perish.

People who identify their telos tend to become visionaries

People doing extraordinary things, like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, tend to be unborrowed visionaries who are not being held back by their fear of being authentic or rejected. Instead of living by fear, they tend to live authentically, by priority, and congruently with their highest values to achieve their global goals. You have something amazing inside you that will surface when you access and align with your telos. Whenever you do something high on your values, you tend to walk your talk and have integrity, congruency, and certainty. Instead of being run by your emotions, you will likely have an objective, clear, balanced, oriented thinking process and liberate yourself from any subconscious emotional baggage. I often have people tell me, "I have no idea what my purpose is." You simply have to look at what your life demonstrates that you spontaneously do every day that nobody has to remind you to do. That's your purpose. The main reason why people don't honor it is that they're likely comparing themselves to other people and trying to imitate them. Ralph Waldo Emerson said that envy is ignorance, and imitation is suicide. It isn't wise to live being second at being somebody else, but instead rather live your life being first at being you. Instead of living in the shadow of others, it is wise to step into the light, step into your telos, and do something so meaningful to you that you can't wait to do it each day.     And when you can't wait to get up and be of service to people, people can't wait to get your service. That's why your highest value driven telos is so important. I've watched what happens to people's lives when they get clear about what they're called to do. I've also seen so many people compare themselves to others instead of comparing their daily actions to their highest values and dreams. In doing so, they hold themselves back and tend not to recognize their genius and capacity to create.

Live by your highest priority

Once you've identified the telos, your highest value, the next step is to ask yourself, "What is the highest priority action I can do today to fulfill that?" That's the key to living by priority. If you don't fill your day with the highest priority actions that inspire you, your day will fill up with low priority distractions that don't. If you don't take command and live your life by design, you're likely to live by default. If you don't fill your day and life with what is most meaningful and valuable to you, it's likely to fill up with opportunistic expressions of other people's demands on you. The excuses you make are valuable feedback. As long as you think that things on the outside are causing your problems, and as long as you feel there are things on the outside that will save you from those problems, you haven't found your telos. The telos allows you to be intrinsically driven and take command of your perceptions, decisions, and actions in life. It's not what happens out there; it's what you decide to do with what is out there. Everybody has the same amount of hours as you. Some people do extraordinary things, and some don't - it's not the hours you have but how you prioritize the hours to do what is most important and fulfilling to you. You can use those hours being a victim of history, or you can use them to become the master of your destiny. When you live by your highest values, your brain automatically sees whatever happens as homeostatic feedback so you can do something extraordinary. However, when you attempt to live in your lower values, you tend to label things as being more polarized - successes or failures. If you perceive that you're successful, you tend to get proud and fear the loss of that. If you perceive that you're a failure, you tend to get shamed and fear the gain of that. As a result, you are more likely to end up with fear and fright instead of fuel for utility. If you live in futility and not utility, you're likely not contributing and serving and having the rewards of fulfillment with sustainable fair exchange with people you can serve. Filling your day with challenges that serve the world or solve problems in the world that you can solve is the path of meaning. And the difference between animals and humans is that humans can find meaning.

To sum it up

  • You deserve to do exactly what you feel your telos, métier, calling, and purpose is. 
  • I believe that when you do, your human will matches what theologians have called the divine will, and your master plan matches what you feel is predestined. You're now in the zone, and on tune, on target and on time with your greatest achievement zone of possibilities.
  • The most magnificent you is the authentic you. The authentic you is the one that's expressing your highest value. It’s when you’re governed by your prefrontal cortex, specifically your medial prefrontal cortex, your systems 2 thinking or thrival brain. 
  • You can visit my website and go through the free Demartini Value Determination Process to help you discern what is truly most important to you – your métier, purpose in life, and telos. Your highest value is the key to it. 
  • Your highest value, the very thing that's most important to you, is the thing you are spontaneously inspired from within to do. You don't need extrinsic motivation in your highest value. 
  • Once you've identified the telos, your highest value, the next step is to ask yourself, "What is the highest priority action I can do today to fulfill that?" 
  • Filling your day with challenges that serve the world or problems in the world that you can solve is the path of greater fulfillment and meaning. 
  • In the Breakthrough Experience, I show you how to use the executive center development tool called the Demartini Method to take whatever happens in your life and extract meaning and fuel out of it so you can live by your telos. I would love you to join me for this two-day program so I can help you identify your telos - the expression of your highest value and show you how to develop your self-governing executive center which is key for life mastery, so you can do something extraordinary with your life and fulfill your highest calling to serve and achieve. 
  • If you’d love to learn how to put the principles covered in this blog into action, join me at my 2-day seminar the Breakthrough Experience where I’ll introduce you to a powerful self-development process called the Demartini Method. The Demartini Method is a breakthrough discovery and cutting-edge personal transformation methodology that results in a new perspective and paradigm in thinking and feeling. It is the key methodology incorporated in Demartinian Psychology. The Demartini Method consists of Executive Function Development exercises used strategically to drive the evolution of the brain - from subcortical dominance to prefrontal cortex or executive center dominance. It is the culmination of more than 5 decades of research and studies in numerous disciplines including physics, philosophy, theology, metaphysics, psychology, astronomy, mathematics, neurology and physiology. It’s a cognitive process that involves balancing your mathematical equations of perceptions through a continuous thinking and writing action which results in driving you from your more primitive survival brain (systems 1) dominance to your more advanced thrival self-governing (systems 2) brain dominance. The Demartini Method results in greater self-governing executive function and thus life mastery. It is a powerful transformation process being used by many leading specialists in the mind mastery field such as psychology, psychiatry, coaching, mentoring, teaching and holistic healing. If you’d love to find out more, chat to a member of the Demartini team by booking a call Here

Join me at my signature seminar, the Breakthrough Experience so I can teach you the Demartini Method. It's a tool with a thousand uses that is hugely valuable for coaches to use both for themselves and for their client empowerment.

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The Telos – Your Highest Calling To Serve and Achieve