When survival is no longer a struggle, people sometimes find the energy to focus on a new challenge: the pursuit of purpose.
Recent studies show that after attaining an annual household income of $90,000.00, the amount of money one makes does little to increase one’s happiness. At this level, innate creativity has room to bloom.
Yet having spent all of one’s time working for money, people that attain this state have often lost sight of what makes them happy. And they don’t know what they might want to do with their free time, other than to consume other peoples’ products and services.
Finding a purpose in life can be easy, or it can be tormenting. Some people get lucky and naturally fall into a purpose or have a calling that brings them peace. Others search for many years. But even with great effort and persistence, there’s no guarantee of success.
Those who do succeed are often happy, but not necessarily. Sometimes people are destined for a noble purpose that involves immense suffering. Jesus, for example, found his purpose, yet he experienced unimaginable pain.
Regardless of the outcome or impact, having a purpose allows people to measure their progress. A purpose helps you to see who and where you are in life. Purpose provides a kind of measure by which you can develop self-awareness.
Conversely, when people give up on their journey, they often stagnate. In the worst cases, a vacuum forms, and there is a temptation to fill that void with hedonism.
Once you adopt a purpose in life, you can travel more efficiently along the path. The world will open up, and you’ll see all the pitfalls along the way.
Why It’s Important to Find Your Purpose
People reading this article will most likely have a basic level of motivation to find their purpose. Nonetheless, we want to strengthen your resolve by showing how purpose can protect you, improve your life and benefit others.
Purpose As Self-Protection
When you don’t know your purpose, you’re vulnerable to certain types of people who do know their purpose. Think of a typical company founder. He knows his purpose: building the company. If he cares more about that goal than being considerate of his employees, he’ll find people who — because they don’t know their own purpose — are easy to absorb into his ambition. He’ll convince them that their purpose is to serve him.
Purpose is power. It helps you maintain individuality.
There are many times when we need to take part in other people’s purposes. If you maintain the pursuit of your own purpose, you’ll remember that other people’s purposes don’t need to be your final destination.
On the other hand, there are plenty of ambitious people out there who are also kind and thoughtful. You might find that your long-term purpose is to help them, and there’s nothing wrong with that. You can synergize and cooperate with those whose purpose is sympathetic to your own.
Compared to journeying toward your own purpose, falling under someone else is easy. If you genuinely feel a sense of purpose and peace while in that situation, enjoy yourself. It’s likely you’ll have more free time than people who are trying to carve their own paths.
Remember, however, that only the difficult path offers a destination where you’ll have complete control over your life.
Purpose for a Better Life
In addition to self-protection, a purpose provides countless benefits. Here are just a few of them:
- Helps us go on when we’re struggling
- Can temper ego when we’re doing well
- Can instill us with strength and kindness
- Makes everything more enjoyable
- Helps you to prioritize and make the most of your time
- Shows us what our values are
- Allows our careers to feel meaningful
- Help us look for meaning beyond our careers
- Help us be more efficient with our time
- Allows us to learn who we are
- Helps us answer big existential questions about life and self
- Attracts more people who respect and treat us well
Purpose for Others
When we enjoy life, the people around us often feel uplifted. Finding purpose is power, and that power can translate into emotional, spiritual, and financial benefits for both loved ones and strangers. Purpose can empower people to make the world a better place.
It’s also possible for benefiting others to be a purpose. If someone decides their purpose is to be a coach or professional caretaker — life coach, therapist, nurse, doctor, psychiatrist, homemaker, etc. — the positive impact on others will be direct.
How to Find Your Purpose in Life
There are several methods of finding purpose in life, and all of them involve self-discovery. Anyone is physically capable of taking these steps, but not everyone follows through.
Ask Yourself the Right Questions
Here are some questions to ask yourself throughout the journey:
- Who am I?
- How should I act?
- What do I believe?
- What does it mean to be human?
- What is my standard?
- What am I willing to die for?
A purpose is a guiding principle. If you know what you would die for, you’ll know how to live.
Learn What You Love and Hate
Every time you do an activity, rate your engagement on a score from one to 10. Eventually, you’ll notice a pattern of what you love and what you hate.
Think about which actions are meaningful. Filter out basic human functions such as sleeping.
What did you love? What did you hate? The love list may guide you toward a purpose, and the hate list will help you avoid obstacles along that path.
Meditation is any act of sustained concentration. It’s an opportunity to answer those big questions we mentioned earlier.
If you want to start with a structured experience, try the Loving-Kindness Meditation from the Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. This exercise could help you figure out if you’re dealing with self-love and attachment issues.
Consider a Spiritual Community
Although we often discuss it in a secular context, purpose is actually a religious idea. Religion tells you what purpose is. With Buddhism, for example, the purpose is to manifest Buddha Nature.
There are millions of excellent books that will help you find purpose. Great thinkers have been pondering life’s big questions for thousands of years. Their collective knowledge is yours to harness.
Talk to Trusted Friends or Peers
Finding your purpose is tough, especially if you do it alone. Is there at least one respectable friend in your life who has found purpose? If so, talk to that person. Ask them what their journey was like and what they learned.
Or perhaps there is a professional you admire, someone who has achieved something that could be your purpose. Try to interview this person.
Hire a Life Coach
If you’re struggling to find your purpose, you might need to hire a Life Coach. This type of teacher will facilitate your self-discovery by guiding you through the above methods, helping you to reflect on and refine your life.
After You Find Your Purpose, What’s Next?
Purpose is a foundation. Build something amazing on top of it. Constantly refine your life, and contribute as much as possible to your field.