Why and how to find your life’s purpose

how to find your life purpose
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Do you ever ask yourself: “What is my purpose in life?” If not, you are not alone as so many of us struggle to establish the meaning behind what we want to stand for and live for. Let’s face it, it takes time to contemplate what we want our purpose to be, especially when we find ourselves stuck in the momentum of just trying to survive and put food on our tables.

But many of us are unhappy and realize that our days are passing us by aimlessly and have a sense that the reason why is because we have not attributed a definitive meaning and purpose to what we want to achieve while we are alive.

It’s so simple… Finding your life’s purpose brings a sense of fulfillment, satisfaction, and direction to your life. When you know what you want to contribute to the world and you work towards it, there is a sense of meaning to your actions that results in creating feelings of satisfaction and happiness.

Your purpose can give you direction and be the basis for creating a personal vision and mission and it can serve as a filter to eradicate anything that does not align with what you want to achieve in your lifetime. Challenges become building blocks or stepping stones. Purpose-driven individuals have clarity on what they do and do not want and make choices based on realizing their long-term goals.

They are self-aware and have increased motivation and resilience due to gaining a deeper understanding of their values, vision and mission. All of these characteristics are what we as people seek to give meaning to the here and now and to feel overall content and fulfilled in life.How to answer the question: “What is my purpose in life?”

Five ways to discover your life’s purpose

1. Self-reflection: Take the time to reflect on your values, passions, and strengths. What activities or causes bring you joy and fulfillment? What are your natural talents and skills? Consider the experiences or moments in your life where you felt a sense of purpose or deep satisfaction.

2. Explore your interests: Engage in a variety of activities, hobbies, or experiences that pique your curiosity. This exploration can help you uncover new passions or interests that may lead you closer to your purpose.

3. Find meaning in service: Consider how you can contribute to the well-being of others or make a positive impact on society. Reflect on the ways in which you can use your unique skills, talents, or resources to help others or address important issues for the greater good.

4. Embrace personal growth: Recognize that purpose is not always static and can evolve over time. Be open to learning, developing new skills, and adapting to new opportunities or challenges. Personal growth and self-improvement can lead you closer to your purpose.

5. Seek support and guidance: Engage in conversations with trusted friends, mentors, role models or professionals who can provide insights, guidance, and different perspectives. Learning from others’ life purpose journeys can help you gain clarity or offer insight into discovering your purpose.

Examples of Life Purposes

While serving others and providing values are at the top of the list of most people’s meaning in life, another way to conceive of having a purpose is to define what could be your greatest legacy. This of course changes from person to person, but to give some examples of purposes pursued by others or in other words examples of different people’s avenues of personal fulfillment and self-expression, the following list could give you some ideas and inspiration:

  • Making a Positive Impact on Others
  • Seeking Personal Growth and Self-Discovery
  • Promoting Environmental Sustainability
  • Advocating for Social Justice and Equality
  • Empowering and Inspiring Others
  • Pursuing a Creative Passion
  • Advancing in a Chosen Field or Industry
  • Innovating and Problem-Solving
  • Mentoring and Guiding Others

If all else fails, go to your funeral…

If finding your purpose is challenging and you find yourself avoiding it, then as the author of the bestselling The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People Steven Covey would say, “Stop right now and do the Funeral Exercise”. The Funeral Exercise is this: you envision what your loved ones, colleagues and members of your community would say about you upon your death.

Ideally you want to conjure up what you would like them to say, which would in essence be your life’s purpose. Or you could think about what they would say about you now if your funeral was today and see if you can reverse any pain points that pop up as potential ways to give purpose to your life.

If thinking about your mortality is just too much to bear, then pretend you are writing an article celebrating your 100th birthday for The New York Times and list all of the things you would like to say. Chances are, you will find some clues into what will give meaning to your life and hence be your life’s purpose.

Align with your purpose, values, vision and mission

Once you have an idea of what you want your purpose in life to be, then it is time to formulate it into words by crafting yourself a personal vision and mission statement. It is also extremely beneficial to establish your core values and to create a nifty list of five to ten values that you can refer to regularly. Writing out your purpose, vision and mission of how you will achieve it and the values by which you want to live according to is a solid way to set your intentions.

Like learning anything in life, it is helpful to repeat these phrases regularly to yourself and others and to make them the driving force and decision-making filter in everything you do from aligning your daily actions with your life purpose to seeking meaningful connections and relationships to embracing challenges and learning opportunities.

The bottom line is: determining one’s purpose is a deeply personal and introspective journey that requires self-reflection and exploration. So many people don’t stop and take the time to truly understand what sort of mark they want to make on the world and on those in their community.

Knowing your purpose is a solid step towards fulfillment and happiness

Determining one’s purpose is a deeply personal and introspective journey that requires self-reflection and exploration. Remember that finding your life’s purpose is a journey, and it may evolve and change over time. It requires self-exploration and a willingness to embrace new experiences and possibilities.

While it can be challenging at times, the rewards of living a purpose-driven life are well worth the effort and leads to leaving a positive legacy. Knowing your purpose gives your life a deeper sense of meaning and fulfillment. It allows you to align your actions and goals with something greater than yourself, which can bring a profound sense of satisfaction and contentment.

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