When you find your life purpose, you find joy, fulfillment and meaning. It seems like a worthy exercise, doesn’t it? Let’s see how you can find your life purpose and change your experience of life.
Purpose is at the core of happiness and fulfillment as we have seen in this blog over and over. However, I realized that I haven’t written a post that explains a process if there were one, to find your purpose.
Is there a process or a framework one can use to create his/her life purpose? Let us see if we can do that.
We will need to make an assumption. The assumption is what Aristotle said about happiness-
Now, in order to find our life purpose, we will say what Aristotle said about human life is true and now, we need to derive our purpose on the basis of this aphorism.
Before looking at ways to find purpose, let us define the meaning of purpose. What does purpose in life mean?
So, what are the few things you can do to find purpose, passion and meaning in life?
1. Take steps to improve your level of self-awareness
You cannot find your purpose unless you live a conscious life. A conscious life is a self-aware life. Most people do not live consciously self-aware lives. If you do not make the effort to understand yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, what turns you on fire, what puts you off, then life will move from one station to another and you wouldn’t know why you are making those decisions.
Saying, ‘to make more money’ behind your life decisions doesn’t make for a conscious life. Money is not the purpose of life. It is a means to an end, like technology. If you are to find your purpose, your need to be aware about yourself, and your constantly changing self.
2. Read about and study people who live a purposeful life
In order to find purpose and direction in life, it helps to study lives of people who have found theirs. So, read about their lives. Watch their videos and listen to them. If there is an opportunity to meet them, go and meet them. Understanding what makes their days and lives purposeful would help you in understanding how to find purpose in your life.
3. Connect with your deepest self to find your true purpose in life
Do not live a shallow life. Do not have shallow conversations. Live with depth. Depth is quite difficult to put in words but it does mean what it says. If you ask deep questions about what life and living means to you, you will find depth. You would also seek out conversations with people who have depth. Shallow people are unlikely to live a purposeful life.
4. To find your purpose, start with the macro definition of human life
The macro purpose of human life is to find happiness. That is the purpose of all humanity. That means, what everyone is trying to do in their own ways is to find happiness for themselves. In order for you to find your own life purpose, you will need to plug in your purpose to the macro purpose of human life.
That means, whatever you do has to make the world a happier place. Your purpose is to make the world a happier place. That goes for everyone. However, this is too broad a purpose and we would need to break it down and make it something specific and confined to your life. It has to be custom made for you. So, how do we create a custom purpose for ourselves?
5. Research and study your life
Study your life as an outsider. If you need help, speak to a closed one and try to understand what they say about you. Try to understand what drives you. Why are you drawn towards things that you are drawn towards? What gives you joy and fulfilment?
Become a student of your life. You need answers to some deep questions about the kind of life you are about to create for you. The answers lies in the questions you ask yourself. A few important questions you could use are here:
- When am I the happiest?
- What drives me?
- As a child, what inspired me?
- Who is my idol? What do I like about them?
- If I had all the money in the world, how would I spend my time?
- What am I really good at?
- Things I suck at but still do?
- What do I love to do so much that I would be willing to pay to do it?
- If I had 100 days to live, how would I live them?
- Do I enjoy my job? What parts of it do I enjoy and what parts do I not?
- Do I have a list of my learning goals?
- What should be my learning goals?
- How can I find out is the core reason beneath my behavior?
You see, we can keep adding questions and the list wouldn’t be complete. May be, the right question for you is still not here and you need to frame that question yourself. The purpose of this conversation with yourself is figure out your deepest motivations and use them to define a purpose for yourself.
6. Weave in your motivations and make the world happier
Now, you will realize once you answer some of those questions is that having an impact on other people’s lives would make you happier, no matter what it is that you do that achieves that outcome.
This means that making the world a happier place remains the goal. So, let us say that in the preceding point, you realized that you love to draw. As a child you have drawn everywhere. You were rebuked in your school for always doodling in the classes. You had been drawing at the walls of the school, those of your home and every other surface you could find. Some of your friends really appreciate that about you and there is this special friend that once told you that you draw so beautifully and you have never forgotten that. May be once you made a painting, and everyone who saw it was charmed beyond their belief.
You just can’t get over drawing. You enjoy the process of creation and the impact it has on others. It makes other people happy and it makes you happy and it is one way you make a difference in the world.
7. Define your life purpose by marrying who you are with the macro mission of making the world a happier place
Let’s say your name is Anjali. Now, you Anjali, loves to draw and that makes people happier. Does that have a commercial motive? Fine. If you are trying to draw a purpose that would have a professional meaning to it, it will help in your career beyond your life.
So, now that we know that Anjali has been drawing throughout her school life, what could Anjali’s purpose of life be? It comes naturally to her and she cannot NOT do it.
Anjali’s purpose could be to use the power of art to make the world an inspiring and happier place.
It could be even more specific in case she doesn’t want to broaden drawing to the while of art space. It could be to draw the world into a better place.
8. Your purpose must appeal to you EMOTIONALLY
So, when you write down a purpose statement for yourself, use the words that appeal to your core. I like the word happy. So, I use it everywhere. I have started this blog because I think it is part of my purpose is to make the world a happier place through my writing.
Use what excites you and make you act on your purpose.
9. Your purpose must drive you to action
Following up from the preceding point, if your purpose drives you emotionally, you would be inspired to act on it. The whole idea is to act on your purpose. Your purpose will become your WHY to anything you do. It must inspire you to think through anything that comes along in life.
If it doesn’t drive you to take action on it, then redo the entire process. Your purpose is your raison d’etre. It is your reason for existence. The entire idea of the purpose finding exercise is to arrive at something that makes you believe that your life matters and that you have a reason to exist in the world.
10. Once you have found your purpose, start living your life purposefully
Once you have found your purpose, organise your life around it. Plan your days in a manner that you feel that you are living your purpose. May be, you would not be able to do it immediately since you are in a job that pays the bills and that is your only source of income. Since nobody told you purpose is important, you did not look for jobs and work that align with your life purpose.
11. Purpose will help you in leaving a legacy
So many people are born every day. The world currently has over 7 billion people. Not all of them are able to live lives in a manner that it improves the state of the world a meaningful and significant way. A life without purpose cannot create a legacy. A legacy is what you and I will be remembered for.
Will you be remembered for something? I want to be remembered for trying to make the world a happier place and helping people find their happiness. That is what I am working on. My purpose is to make the world an inspired and happier place. What is yours?
12. Purpose will give you your WHY
Once you have your purpose in place and you feel convinced about it, you will start living a conscious life. You will be able to answer for yourself and tell others why you do what you do. You will be able to consciously create a life around something you find meaningful and fulfilling.
13. Purpose is the key to inner happiness
The kind of happiness we talk about on this blog-deep and meaningful happiness cannot be achieved without purpose. Only living a purposeful life will allow you to connect with your inner self and thereby create deep feeling of joy. If you want to be happy, you cannot do without purpose.
14. A life without purpose is like a journey without a destination
When a ship takes on a journey, it needs a destination. Every course that is possible for the ship must be then guided to reach the destination. Similarly, human life is directionless without purpose and would meander from one path to another path without knowing why, because there isn’t a why. The BIG WHY is missing.
15. Without purpose, you will end up in the materialistic rut
People who can’t or don’t make the effort to find a meaningful and real purpose run after money and materialistic pursuits because they convince themselves that money is the purpose of life when it is only a means to an end.
Yes, it is hard and that’s why most people don’t make the effort. They convince themselves that the materialistic life is their purpose and the money they accumulate, the more happiness they will find, which turns out to be nothing but a vicious circle.
However, just because it is hard doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t seek it. It is hard yes, to find your purpose but that’s the only way to avoid the trap of a superficial life. Your purpose is the only way to live a happy, fulfilling and meaningful life.
Thank you for reading.
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I appreciate the time you spent in reading the blog and wish you happiness.