Have you felt lost and confused about what is going on and where you are heading in life? Have you found your thoughts straying to deeper topics such as “Why do I exist?”, “Why am I on this earth?”, and “What is my mission in life or the purpose of my existence?”.
Does this sound familiar? Don’t worry. You are not alone.
All of us confront these questions at some point in our lives. And some of us are fortunate enough to uncover answers that help us lead meaningful and fulfilled lives.
This article explores the topic in-depth and comes up with some answers for you to absorb, analyze, accept, and act upon. Here you will also discover ways to find your purpose and passion in life.
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What is meant by “purpose”?
You tend to think about the meaning and purpose of life when you get stuck, unable to move forward. You feel confused about which way to turn and which path to choose. You keep moving around in circles reaching nowhere. At times, you watch time pass by while you remain still.
All these life’s dilemmas can give a fair idea of what is meant by life’s purpose and how to live your purpose.
In psychology, the sense of purpose is defined as meaningful goals developed and adapted over a lifetime. These long-term goals give you a reason to live when they are impactful enough to change the lives of others as well as yours.
As you persist with working on these goals, it turns into passion. In short, purpose and passion are two sides of the same coin. They are so tied up with each other that they are often used interchangeably.
Your purpose is constantly evolving as you continue with the pursuit of your goals. Usually, this brings people with similar purposes and passions together to make the world around them a better place.
Why is it important to find the purpose in life?
The long-term goals that promote a sense of purpose in you are the ones that can positively impact the lives of others. Such as mentoring young people, being involved in life-saving research, or starting an organization for the betterment of humanity.
The purpose in life is closely associated with people of similar inclinations and viewpoints coming together to accomplish things of great value, importance, and consequence. The positive impact it has on the world around us helps in its association with better mental and physical health.
In the greater scheme of things, the sense of purpose we humans seem to seek is something ingrained in our minds as means of survival for the entire mankind. Imagine the scenario when everyone is living without any sense of purpose.
The motivation to do good for society will be absent in such a case. When selfishness and self-interest rule society, it can ultimately lead to our destruction and elimination from this beautiful planet. Purpose serves as a survival mechanism for individuals, societies, and the entire human race.
The purpose in life is often linked to the unique talents and strengths you possess. You feel as if you have been given these gifts – something that sets you apart from others – to accomplish certain things for yourself as well as for the greater good. That you are destined to do these things.
That only forms one element of the truth. Looking at it from another angle, when you are lost and confused about your mission in life, you feel lonely and isolated.
Once you find your calling and start working towards achieving your goal, you will see yourself connecting to others with similar purposes in life. This means, it also serves as a way to overcome loneliness and isolation.
Why is it hard to discover one’s purpose?
Be it young or old, discovering one’s purpose never comes easy. It is one of the first challenges we face while growing up.
For some, the purpose of their existence on earth is obvious and apparent. It is an automatic response to the set of talents and gifts you notice in yourself. All you need to do is develop these talents into skills by persisting with them and seek ways to utilize them for the greater good.
For the rest, who form a major chunk of mankind, finding life’s purpose doesn’t come as easy as that. You try to discover it by asking yourself questions like “What am I good at?”, “What is my passion”, or “What should I do with my life?”.
Some of us may even enjoy what we are doing and think of it as our purpose in life. However, later we may uncover new talents hidden in us. Discovering new passions may lead to a changed perspective about the purpose of life. This can set us on new paths of fulfillment.
Exploring and learning about one’s purpose can be a difficult process for most of us. Here are some of the reasons why this is hard to figure out.
External pressure: Many of us embark on a path in life without exploring options or deliberating about the consequences as we are compelled to make certain choices in life by people close to us. Instead of following our dreams and seeking our purpose, we would be on a mission to satisfy the wishes of others. Ultimately, we may end up doing things we don’t enjoy.
Status and wealth over love: Many are guided in life by prestige and money. When you make the most important choices in life based on how much you can earn and the laurels and fame you would receive, your desire and purpose get forgotten. The truth of the matter is when you follow your heart, money, and prestige follow willingly. They are natural by-products.
It’s never too late: In the early years, many of us are compelled to prioritize other matters over desires. It is understandable. However, when we are in a position to follow our dreams, we think we are too old or it is too late for that. Remember the saying – better late than never.
At any point in life, if you feel lost and confused, it is a clear sign to look inward and reassess your life. You may be surprised to discover that you are not passionate about what you are doing right now and your purpose lies elsewhere.
In case you can find your purpose and real love in life, do not hesitate to follow your heart. Even if this requires major adjustments and upheavals, think of them as necessary inconveniences for the greater good. When you listen to your heart, you can rarely go wrong.
10 Ways to discover your purpose in life
Successful people attribute their success to their ability to recognize, acknowledge, and follow their passions and value the true purpose of their lives. They have a crystal clear idea of their missions in life and pursue them with intensity and enthusiasm. There is no doubt in their minds. And, no looking back either.
The first step in the right direction is to believe in your ability to make the right choice. Believe wholeheartedly what your heart tells you and where it guides you.
The truth is that you know in your heart of hearts the real purpose of your existence. You were ignoring or hiding from it to suit your convenience. To discover the purpose, all you need to do is to scrape away the accumulated dirt on the surface. Voila! There it is revealed for you to make use of.
Here are some easy-to-use strategies to find your purpose and true love.
1. Take a look at your favorite list
Every single person is born with a purpose in life. All you need to do is to recognize it and absorb and follow it. Your purpose is not something that you need to invent. It is not something new. It already exists. All you need to do is to reveal it.
As purpose and passion are closely linked to each other, you may start the search by making a list of things you love the most. That definitely is not a hard thing to do.
Find answers to the questions “What do you love the most?” and “What are you good at?”.
Typically, many entries in both lists of answers coincide as you would love to do things that you are good at. Even if it requires dedicated effort.
Just because you love doing certain things and are naturally talented at it doesn’t mean your life is going to be easier. Even talented people need to hone their skills to help them improve and make them better.
However, you would still enjoy this hard work as it involves something you love. You would not mind the long hours and intense work needed to perfect your skill.
This is the whole point of following your dreams. The work would be enjoyed and not endured. If you are engaged in doing something that you consider as a struggle or suffering, most probably you have not yet found your purpose or living your purpose.
2. Identify the attributes you want to share the most
While we may have many traits and talents, we may have a preference about which one of those we would like to share with the world. It can be because these are attributes we consider the best or those are the ones most beneficial to others.
You may start by asking yourself the question “Which of my qualities do I enjoy conveying the most?”. Once you have the answer to this, move on to the next question “How to express these qualities in the most enjoyable manner?”.
The answers to the question will help you identify your life purpose and love.
3. Frame your own statement
All of us have our own views about how the world around us and the people in it should be. We all have dreams of our Utopian world now and then.
Write down your version of the perfect world. How people would be behaving, what they would be doing, how their life would be, and how happy and satisfied they are. In the perfect world, everyone would be on their best behavior, doing what they love, and living an inspired life of purpose.
Combine the three points you identified – the attributes you want to share, the way you want to share, and your idea of the perfect world. And, create a statement that reveals your life purpose.
It can be something like “Making the world a better place with kindness and compassion “or “Inspiring others to live meaningful lives by helping them discover their passion and purpose”.
4. Know your destination
Spend some time introspecting on what you want to do and where you want to go in life. Once you have a clear vision of your destination, lock it in your mind so that you will reach there no matter what. This is something like entering your destination in the GPS.
To set the destination in the mind’s GPS, you may take the help of a variety of tools available. Such as visualization and affirmation. Goal setting is another method to enter the destination.
The next step would be to start moving towards the destination through supportive action. Every image you visualize and every affirmation you repeat are helping you stay on the right path leading to your goal.
As long as you don’t distract your mind from the path with harmful thoughts, and allow it to continue its journey towards the goal, you will reach there for sure. Your inner GPS will help you stay on track, revealing the route as you move forward.
5. Gain clarity
The first step in the manifestation path is to decide what you want. Once you are sure about this, the next would be to figure out how to get there. None of these are the same for everyone and so are impossible to generalize.
You allow your inner mind to guide you to your goal. You can start this by thinking about where you are in life now and where you want to be. If you have what you want now, how would your life be? Allow your mind to ponder on these topics and it is sure to come up with the right solutions.
While at this mind exercise, you would be sending powerful signals to the Universe about your goals and preferences. Trust the Universe and believe that it will help you in making your dream come true.
The signs from the Universe reach you through your subconscious mind telling you what to do and how to proceed. The whole process may seem magical but it is more logical and rational.
6. Find your passion
The Passion Test was first proposed by Chris and Janet Attwood. You are required to fill in the blank 15 times. “When my life is ideal, I am ___.”. The only condition is that it should be filled up with a verb, that is, an action word or phrase.
A few examples of how to fill it up to get you started.
- When my life is ideal, I am encouraging others to lead a purposeful life.
- When my life is ideal, I am helping people to discover their passion.
- When my life is ideal, I am doing my bit to make this world a better place.
- When my life is ideal, I am being kind and compassionate.
- When my life is ideal, I am living in close contact with nature.
After finishing all the 15 statements, you arrange them in the order of priority – the more important ones at the top of the list. You may find this task overwhelming if you do not approach it in a structured manner.
Compare the first two and arrange them in the order of priority. Take the winner of this and compare it with the third one and repeat the process. Continue this until you are left with the top five statements.
Now see where your life is in relation to these. You would be able to figure out whether you are following your dreams and are on the right track.
Identify your passion and visualize your life living it. All you need to do is connect them up with an action plan that will help your dreams become a reality.
7. Make time for yourself
Often in the mad race called life, one of the most important things most of us tend to forget is to find time for ourselves. This may give rise to a series of questions in your mind.
- Why do we need to make time for ourselves?
- Aren’t we always with us?
- If we do this, won’t we lose some of the precious time that can be spent in pursuit of more important things?
All the above questions are valid ones that need to be answered to your satisfaction. Only then you would understand where you are going wrong.
Making time for yourself means keeping your schedule free to do whatever you feel like – something with a focus on yourself that will make you happy. It is time away from responsibilities and commitments.
This is important as it gives you a chance to understand yourself on a deeper level and an opportunity for the brain to reboot or refresh. This is vital for mental health and it can help with improved focus and higher productivity.
The “me-time” can be 5 minutes or a couple of hours a week, depending on how much you can manage to spare. Though you need to take some time out of your busy schedule for this activity, ultimately, this will improve your efficiency at work.
8. List your happy moments
This may sound too simplistic to be of help. The truth is the best action plans are the easiest ones to implement.
This exercise involves writing down things that made you happy in life. To make a list of all your joyous moments, you need to go back as far as your memory would allow you to. The ideal place to start is from childhood – a time most of us remember with fondness.
Once you have listed them, try to find the common thread. What is the pattern?
Such as, which actions of yours are giving you the most happiness.
As we all know, the happy state of mind is a substantial indication that we are on the right path. When you are happy doing something, that may be your life purpose. You would be able to understand a lot about your desire and purpose from this list.
9. Ensure your goals and purpose are aligned
Once you have identified your purpose, you must align your activities and goals with it. This is all the more important on the career front. You have a little more flexibility regarding personal pursuits.
The reason is simple enough. For most of us, a career is something we are compelled to follow to earn a living. If it doesn’t conform to your desire or purpose, you are in for troubled times. Disliking something you are forced to do is a sad situation. Explore other options for a career as early as possible.
10. Take it in slow and steady
Now that you are aware of your purpose in life. Don’t turn your life upside down overnight and rearrange it to align with it in one go. Take it slowly and bring in the changes in stages.
Stay tuned to your inner voice, pay attention to the reaction of others, and be aware of the subtle changes happening in your life. Make changes in small increments so that you will not be overwhelmed by them. In the long run, this is more effective and gainful.
Finding your passion and purpose doesn’t need to be a castle in the air. All you need to find your purpose is to spare some time and give yourself some space to explore. Once you find what you were missing, give yourself time to absorb it slowly. Take sensible, practical, and achievable steps to include them in your life and to live your purpose.