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Thursday, July 25, 2019
“An Introduction to the Life-Purpose System”: An excerpt from THE LIFE YOU WERE BORN TO LIVE — REVISED 25TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION by Dan Millman

In his book The Life You Were Born to Live, bestselling author Dan Millman presents the Life-Purpose system, a modern method of insight based on ancient wisdom that has helped hundreds of thousands of people find new meaning, purpose, and direction in their lives. The original book described thirty-seven life paths, one of which applies accurately to anyone born between 1750 and 1999. But some children born after the year 2000 have new, single-digit birth numbers. The revised and updated 25th Anniversary Edition covers all forty-five birth numbers (life paths).

Like the original edition, it reveals a quick and accurate means to determine one’s own birth number (and corresponding life path) and the life paths of friends, loved ones, colleagues, parents, and acquaintances. It also covers the strengths and challenges of each life path in areas of health, money, and sexuality, as well as key spiritual laws to help anyone overcome the hurdles on their own path. The new edition also reveals what makes a “master number” and why — how the single-digit numbers impact the life paths of many young people — and how this knowledge helps to clarify all the other life paths. We hope you’ll enjoy this excerpt, in which Dan shares how he learned the system and why he chose to share it.

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For centuries, observers of human nature have sought common denominators to better understand the forces that shape human personality and destiny. Numerous tools of insight from both psychological and mystical traditions have emerged at different times and in different cultures. All of these methods and maps of consciousness represent our attempts to demonstrate that our universe and our individual psyche aren’t random or chaotic, but have a certain structure and order.

The Life-Purpose System provides a clear, objective method for understanding any individual’s life path and purpose — providing that individual has a known and accurate date of birth and was born after 1750, when the modern calendar was widely adopted. This system’s ultimate source is veiled in mystery, but its origins most likely date back to the Pythagorean school of ancient Greece. 

Like other holistic thinkers, Pythagoras embraced many facets of human consciousness in the same way modern physicists now enter realms once relegated to mystics, philosophers, and theologians. He spoke of cycles, patterns, and waves that existed long before the dawn of humanity, and of how our life paths reflect great and eternal laws, whose origins and purpose remain hidden within the mystery and mechanics of existence. In exploring the fundamentals of form and frequency, he discovered relationships between mind and matter where before no such order had appeared to exist, and he pointed to hidden numerical patterns that served as keys for unlocking secrets of the psyche.

Although the Life-Purpose System resembles some other numerology systems — in the sense that it works with numbers to derive meaningful information — you may find the material in this book especially clear, specific, and applicable to everyday life. 

Despite many decades devoted to exploring the human psyche, insight traditions, and metaphysical models of reality, I remain an empiricist at heart. The scientific method — using controlled experiments to test theories — helped pull humanity out of the dark ages of superstition. I apply critical thinking and skepticism to magical thinking and untested notions. Still, the mind is like a parachute; it works best when open.

I hadn’t even considered the existence of a higher calling or life path until 1984, when I met a man — the warrior-priest I mentioned in the Acknowledgments — who became my mentor, colleague, and friend. He had read my first book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior, and we shared our experiences and compared perspectives, while he offered his own unique guidance. Not long after our initial encounter, this warrior-priest offered me an hour-long life-purpose reading. He revealed in-depth information that clarified my past, present, and potential future, including details that rang true and proved amazingly accurate. It was as if his words removed a veil that had previously obscured my vision, and revealed to me the life I was born to live. I was astonished that he could have such insight into my life but had no idea how he gained access to such information. I was well versed in the cold-read techniques used by so-called psychics. But the warrior-priest claimed no psychic abilities, stating only that he’d been trained to know “where to look” for such information. 

At an advanced training, this mentor gave a series of lectures on this mysterious system— an objective method of adding up the digits of anyone’s date of birth, and then deriving meanings that provided insight into that individual’s life. I was initially disappointed by this revelation, the way we sometimes are when a magician shows how a wondrous illusion is accomplished with mirrors or sleight of hand. Besides, using people’s birth dates seemed like numerology, an occult art that had never attracted me. It made no sense that adding the digits of someone’s date of birth could yield accurate information about central qualities of that person’s life.

The warrior-priest explained that such methods had been passed down in various cultures over the centuries, but that they differed in their focus and degree of accuracy. He added, “Once you learn more about this approach, you can determine for yourself the validity of the method.” He then spent several evenings presenting basic information that pinpointed key issues for each life path, highlighting innate drives, challenges, and gifts, which for most people remain unseen or obscure.

I took careful notes of these lectures, outlining in about twenty typewritten pages the fundamental elements of the system. As soon as I returned home, I offered free life-purpose readings to family and friends, using the basic information from my notes. Within a few weeks I had internalized the information and no longer needed my notes. Eventually, after working with many hundreds of people and providing recorded readings (which I called Spiritual Law Alignments), my insight deepened and expanded. 

Eight years later, I trained a small number of therapists, health professionals, and life coaches in the fundamentals of what I came to call the Life-Purpose System, and eventually I went on to write the original edition of The Life You Were Born to Live.

Perhaps the validity of the Life-Purpose System stems from the holographic nature of the universe, in which each part mirrors and contains the whole, and in which the individual psyche fits within a larger pattern of order. By distilling complex variables into essential patterns, this system reveals the hidden forces behind our personality, furnishing a clear lens from which to view the bigger picture of our life. Trying to explain it in logical terms is like attempting to derive the square root of a sonnet. I can only feel a sense of awe and wonder at laws yet undiscovered.

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Dan Millman, former world-champion gymnast, coach, martial arts teacher, and college professor, is the author of seventeen books published in twenty-nine languages and shared across generations to millions of readers. His internationally bestselling book Way of the Peaceful Warrior was adapted to film in 2006. Dan speaks worldwide to people from all walks of life. He lives in New York City. Find out  more about his work at

From the book The Life You Were Born to Live — Revised 25th Anniversary Edition. Copyright © 1993, 2018 by Dan Millman.






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