Robert Byrne once said, “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” Living with purpose means we are proactive in creating the life we want and a life that has meaning and significance. It means taking responsibility for our actions, our decisions and our path in life, enabling us to be independent of mind. It isn’t about tangible things or our job, but about who we are as individuals and the mark we leave on society. A life of purpose gives us tremendous clarity in what is important to us, helps us understand who we are, reinforces our core values, and gives us the opportunity to find and live with passion so that we can create the life we want. Having purpose also prevents us from becoming “stuck” in life. When times are difficult, purpose helps us navigate life’s challenges so that we stay on course, while continuing to be the best that we can be.
Just as you’re an individual, so is your purpose in life and how you find that purpose. It’s most likely very different than the purpose of your friends, family members, or colleagues. Finding and living your life purpose is a journey, may take time, and may change over the course of your life. The first step towards finding your purpose is self-discovery. It’s important to know who you are, what your values are and what is important to you. To do so, begin by answering the following questions:
- What Do You Want? No matter your age, take some time and really think about what you want out of life. Do this independently of everything and everyone else. Only you have the answer. Do not answer this question by considering things you fear, resent, or things you are angry about. Also, avoid basing your answer to this very important question on a need for approval, or on proving yourself to the world. Instead, reach deep within and think about what you want out of life, and the person that you want to be.
- What Are Your Passions? Now that you know what you want out of life, it’s time to consider your passions. Your passions are what drive you and make life worth living. They are the things that bring you joy and happiness. They are the things you do out of love, not out of guilt. They are what you are naturally predisposed to do, regardless of money or recognition.
- What Are Your Strengths? Now is the time to recognize those things that you do best. What are your talents? What can you do better than most others? Often our strengths are linked to our passions, but sometimes they are not. For instance, you might be passionate about music, but you might be tone deaf. As a result, musicianship may not be your strength. On the other hand, you might be passionate about the environment, and you might be strong at diplomacy and writing, potentially making you perfectly suited for environmental policy. Whatever the case, your answers to this question should be very automatic. You know what you’re good at, and what you aren’t good at.
- What Matters to You? If you had to attach yourself to a cause, what would it be? Is there something that creates a fire in your belly? Is there something about your community or the world we live in that you want to change or make better? Is there something that makes you want to jump out of your seat and take action?
Do you have a clear understanding of your purpose in life? I’d love to hear what your purpose is. Share with us in the comments below.
Adapted from 52 Small Changes: One Year to a Happier, Healthier You. Make real, lasting change with this easy to follow, week-by-week guide to healthy change. Get it now at Amazon.com.