Do you wake up each day dreading the idea of spending another day at work? You might even feel the need to be a part of something bigger and more meaningful. If you’ve failed to discover and build your life around your life purpose, you might feel dissatisfied with your life. Determining the purpose of your life can be a simple process.
It can take a bit of work to uncover the truth, but it’s within you. It’s waiting to be unearthed and utilized.
Living a life that’s congruent with your purpose will allow you to start each day with a smile, hope, and a plan. It’s a tool for connecting with something meaningful outside yourself. Everyone has a different “why”. The trick is to determine the “why” that fits your values and talents.
If your life is in a rut, discovering your life purpose is the first step to a life filled with passion and contentment.
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”
– Eleanor Roosevelt
The Benefits of Discovering and Living Your Life Purpose
Maybe you hold the belief that work is called “work” for a reason. You might think that life is hard, boring, and that enjoyment is only for children and retirees. All stages of life can be meaningful and exciting. Knowing that you’re living the life that’s right for you is the key to finding enjoyment each day.
The advantages of knowing your life purpose are far-reaching:
You’ll enjoy focus and clarity. When you’re not spending your time and efforts on the things that matter to you, your focus is elsewhere. When you’re not clear on your purpose, it’s hard to make effective decisions.
Lacking direction, focus, and purpose is no way to go through life. Knowing your purpose makes life simpler.
Life will be more fun! When you know your purpose and live it each day, life has the opportunity to be more enjoyable. With your fears and doubts in the rearview mirror, you’re in a better position to enjoy yourself.
It enhances your passion for life. Spending your day on the things that are most important to you will release your passion. You’ll feel the enthusiasm you had as a child. With a compelling future and a high level of motivation, you become unstoppable. This is missing from a life without a clear purpose.
You become part of something bigger than yourself. You’ll have a sense of certainty that’s both comforting and peaceful. It’s a chance to make a big and meaningful contribution to the world.
Discovering the answer to the question, “What is the purpose of my life?” will change your life forever. How can you determine your life purpose?
As you’ll see, there are several strategies.
“The human race is a monotonous affair. Most people spend the greatest part of their time working in order to live, and what little freedom remains so fills them with fear that they seek out any and every means to be rid of it.”– Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
Questions to Reveal the Purpose of Your Life
It’s impossible to find your purpose without a degree of self-reflection. Answers are the result of asking questions. Asking the right questions will provide the answers you seek. When you ask yourself questions, it’s imperative to listen to the answers. The response you receive can be very subtle and quiet. Keep an open mind.
Be sure to record your answers!
Ask yourself these useful questions:
If you only had a year to live, how would you spend it? With the clock ticking, we’re much more able to focus on the important stuff and let everything else go.
- The things that come to mind are worthy of further consideration. Could you spend your life engaged in one of these ideas?
- Just reminding yourself that you’re going to die one day can be helpful. The reminder that your time is limited can reduce the habit of wasting time and being indecisive.
How do you want others to remember you? What would you like your obituary to say? How would you like your children, friends, and other family members to remember you?
- Make a conscious decision about how you’d like others to remember you and put together a plan to live that life.
What did you love to do as a child that you no longer do? As children, we’re quite clear about what we like and don’t like. In addition, younger children aren’t concerned with the perceptions of others. We do things solely because we like them when we’re 6-years old. What have you given up over the years?
- As we become teenagers, social pressure and the need to impress others can steer us away from the things we love.
- In young adulthood, we become overly concerned with the practicality of our choices. “Can I make enough money at this to have a decent lifestyle?”
- With a little thought, you can find a way to make a living doing what you love. Life is short. Consider what you once loved to do and find a way to incorporate it back into your life.
What type of discomfort can I handle? Everything is awful part of the time. Living your life’s purpose will have its disadvantages. What can you handle?
- If you dream of being an artist, musician, writer, or actor, you’ll be rejected at least 95% of the time.
- If you want to create a law firm, you’ll spend at least a decade working 80-hours each week.
- Do you want to be a teacher? Can you handle the parents and the children that constantly disrupt class?
- If you can’t handle the worst aspects of pursuing your purpose, consider reconsidering your choice.
What topics and activities make you lose track of time? Have you ever gotten so involved with a conversation or an activity that you missed a meal or were amazed by how much time had passed?
- Maybe you lose track of time when you play the guitar. However, take another step in your thinking. Is it the guitar specifically or music in general? Is it the guitar or the process of competing with yourself and seeing improvement?
- Make a list of the times you’ve been so focused that you forgot about everything else.
- Imagine if you had a career that incorporated this phenomenon. You’d never have to “work” another day again!
What do you dream about doing but are too afraid of? Admit it. There’s something you fantasize about, but you can’t quite get yourself to take action. It might be climbing Mount Everest, writing a screenplay, or becoming a doctor.
- Why haven’t you taken the first step? In many cases, you’ll find your resistance to trying something new is fear. Often, it’s the fear of failing, especially failing in front of others.
- Keep in mind that the only way to become good at something is to work through the initial period of being bad at it. It’s unlikely that your first script will be purchased. In fact, it will probably be awful. But the next attempt will be better. It takes time to become good at a new skill.
- The more embarrassment you can handle, the greater your ultimate success.
How could you best serve the world? Of all the challenges that exist in the world, how could you best solve one of them?
- True happiness requires contributing to something outside yourself.
- It’s not possible to solve any of the world’s problems alone. You’ll be forced to work constructively and creatively with others. This could be the kind of fulfillment you seek.
- Make of list of all the ways your skills, interests, and talents could benefit the world in a meaningful way.
Did you ask yourself every question? Did you record your answers?
How can you use the answers to enhance your life?
Introspection is a necessary part of finding your life purpose. Ask yourself the important questions and listen to the answers.
“A small change can make a big difference. You are the only one who can make our world a better place to inhabit. So, don’t be afraid to take a stand.”– Ankita Singhal
7 More Questions to Reveal Your Life Purpose
If the above approaches haven’t satisfied your quest, there are additional questions you can answer. While meditation and writing can be highly effective, some of us have greater success with more conventional means. Avoid giving up. There’s too much at stake to stop.
Spend a few minutes on each question before moving on to the next:
What are your greatest regrets? Which missed opportunities do you regret the most? Is there a skill you wish you had started learning years ago? What decisions would you change if given a second chance?
- What career would choose if you could go back in time and be 18-years old again? Is it really too late now?
Who inspires you the most? Think about the people that fill you with feelings of respect and admiration.
- What is it about them that inspires you? Could you incorporate some of these same qualities in yourself? Could you live a similar life?
What are your natural talents? In what areas have you always excelled? Do you understand complex ideas? Is it your social skills? Are you musically talented? Are you compassionate and considerate?
- While you can learn to be good at anything, you can save a lot of time if you’re able to put your natural abilities to work. Imagine the progress you’d make after 10 years of effort using your natural abilities rather than starting from scratch.
- If you believe that you were born with a particular purpose, it only makes sense that the necessary talents would be provided to you, too.
What makes you feel good about yourself? If you could spend most of your time doing things that make you feel great, your life would be pretty wonderful!
- Create a list of all the things you do that make you feel good about yourself.
If you had to teach a subject, what would you choose? It’s only enjoyable to teach subjects that you like. The subject you’d like to teach is a good candidate for your life purpose.
In what areas do people ask you for help? Most of us wouldn’t ask a homeless person for stock tips. We ask people for advice that we believe have a level of expertise higher than our own.
- Do others constantly ask you for relationship advice?
- Do people ask you about spiritual matters?
Imagine you’re 80-years old, what memories do you want to have? Imagine you’re sitting on your front porch swing. What would you like to claim as your past? What type of relationships would you like to have experienced? What do you want to have accomplished?
- How can you make this ideal past become your present?
You now have a good idea of your life purpose. The next step is determining how to incorporate the knowledge into your life. Ideas are the easy part. It’s the implementation that’s challenging.
“As the struggle for survival has subsided, the question has emerged: survival for what? Ever more people have the means to live, but no meaning to live for.”
– Viktor E. Frankl
Make Your Purpose a Part of Your Life
It’s great that you’ve narrowed down your primary reason for living, but how can you use that knowledge? Knowing something has minimal value if you’re not applying the knowledge. Focus on making small changes to your daily habits. Slow progress is the most reliable way to create major change in your life.
Let’s suppose your purpose is to help illiterate adults to read:
Look to the future. What does the end of your journey look like? Are you sitting at the library, helping someone learn to read? Are you in charge of a charity that serves those unable to read? Are you asking Bill Gates for $10,000,000 to fight for your cause?
What can you do today to get started? Starting is always the hardest part. What can you do today?
- Learn more about illiteracy. What are the statistics? What are the causes? What is the best way to teach an adult to read?
- What local resources are available? Can you contact them for advice?
- Could you put an ad in Craig’s List and get started helping someone today?
Remind yourself of your purpose each day. Each morning and evening, take a minute to remind yourself of your purpose. Look to the future and feel excited. This is especially important on those challenging days that inevitably happen from time to time.
Track your progress. Keep a journal and list your successes and failures. How can you experience more successes and prevent future failures? Appreciate how far you’ve come.
Spread the word. If you’ve found your purpose in life, it’s your obligation to let the world know about it. How can you communicate the importance of adult illiteracy to the world? You’re not just a worker on this project. You’re also a messenger.
Realize that making a big difference requires big effort and time. Avoid letting the magnitude of your dreams overwhelm you. A little work and attention each day are cumulative. Your progress will shock you.
“It is not that we have so little time but that we lose so much. … The life we receive is not short but we make it so; we are not ill provided but use what we have wastefully.”
Finding your life purpose changes the direction and emphasis of your life. If you haven’t taken the time to determine the purpose of your life, the quality of your experience on Earth has been limited. There are many advantages to discovering your unique purpose.
Introspection is a part of making this discovery. Self-reflective questions, meditation, and writing are all potential options. Use every method at your disposal until you’re satisfied with the answer you receive.
Today, more than ever, it’s possible to make a living doing a wide variety of things. You can live in Alaska and give tuba lessons to a student in Miami via skype. You can publish your own book without the need for a traditional publisher. There is a way to make a living while being true to your life purpose.
Find your purpose and reclaim your life.
If you need some help to explore these and other questions bout your personal purpose, I can help.