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How to Find Your Purpose in Life

Growing up, I spent a lot of time thinking about the purpose of life. In school they would tell you the purpose is to go to heaven and to be a good person. “Why?” I always thought. There’s no question that being a good person is essential for living a fulfilling life. But what’s the point? Why do anything at all?

Why is a meaningless question. The reason being, why always leads us in an infinite loop. You can always repeat the answer to “why” with another “why.” The only time the question really ends is when you answer “because it’s fun” or “because I enjoy it.”

This took me a while to accept, but the purpose of life is to enjoy it. If you’re trying to find the purpose of life, by looking for something outside of life, you’re never going to find an answer. That’s because the purpose of life is life.

That doesn’t help you much, does it? We all want a larger purpose, something to give our lives meaning when everything seems meaningless.

The truth is, life doesn’t have a purpose. That’s hard to swallow. When I realized this, I felt lost. I felt confused and I felt like giving up.

What I failed to realize is that life doesn’t have a purpose because of free will. There is no purpose forced on you. You can choose to have a purpose, or to not have a purpose, but life isn’t going to give you one. You don’t need to let this bother you though. The only reason you need for having a purpose is because you want one.

The only question you need to answer now, is do you want a purpose or do you not want one? As soon as you figure that out, let me know. I’ll wait.

I’m assuming that if you’re still reading, your answer was yes. That’s good, because not having a purpose isn’t very fun. At least not for me.

Now that we have that sorted out, we need to understand one crucial thing that drives people to insanity and causes them to spend their lives in the confines of a cubicle.

And that is:

Your purpose is not your job

Yes, that’s right. Your purpose has nothing to do with your degree, your resume, your career, or vocation. Your purpose is independent of all those things. In fact, it’s much bigger than any of those.

Purpose has to do with your creative self expression. It has to do with what makes you feel alive. It’s something you do, where at the end of the day you think “I made a difference.”

Now, if you want to find out what that is, take a minute to do a little exercise that I read bout once long time ago ( I wish I can remember the source!!)

1. Take out a blank sheet of paper or open word, or notepad, Whatever works best for you.

2. Now write at the top “What is my true purpose in life?”

3. Write everything that comes to mind. Don’t think about it too much, just write.

4. Keep writing until you write something that makes you cry. That is your purpose.

When you come up with your final answer, you will know it. It won’t be something you’ve decided logically, you will simply know it in your heart.

If you find this exercise to not be structured enough, change the question to “How would I want to be remembered when I die?”

After you’ve discovered your purpose, your job is to live as closely in alignment with it as possible. The more you live in alignment with your purpose or your bliss, the more you will deeply enjoy your life.

Now remember when I said that your “job” is not your purpose? Well, it’s half-true. Your career can be a medium for the expression of your purpose. If your purpose is to help others live in truth and express your inner creativity, you’re probably not going to be able to do that very well working as an file-clerk for a company that is greedy and self-serving. You can live partially in alignment with your purpose this way, trying to help others and going against the morals or your employer, but you’re still ultimately assisting corporate greed.

You’ll probably find living in complete harmony with your purpose isn’t easy. It might take you a year, or a few years before you find a medium (a career path) that best serves the expression of your purpose. If you can’t find a job out there that does that, you might have to create one .

So how do you move more in alignment with your purpose? How do you take your purpose and your dreams and make them a reality?

Filed under: Thoughts

6 Responses

  1. Ulysses says:

    very good argument, I do agree with many of the things you said, it’s maybe the hardest thing to find your purpose in life.
    To tell the Truth, I did find my path in life, but persuing it was the hardest thing ever, believe me it’s not easy to go on persuing your purpose in a community that mainly judges people by their income or by their social status. When I was young I realized that my life path should be in helping others, and I truly believed that I should take this path, so when I finished my high school, the most appropriate career at that time was a career in Nursing, and what was better than it to help people in need, but I was faced by overwhelming objections, from almost evryone, because at that time, Nursing was an unrespected career here in Jordan. I didn’t care about anyone, and finally get to Nursing School, I really enjoyed what I was doing, and that’s why I even ranked 1st at my school on Graduation, and then carried on with a Masters Degree in Public health, because I knew that I’m distened to help people in communities at large.
    But, I always face so many obstacles, so many fears, and so many uncertainaties. you can’t believe how much imbarresment one can face when saying ” I’m a Nurse”, especially when you’re a male Nurse. And I hate it when people sometimes say that I could have done much better in my life if I chose a career in Engineering like my younger brother whom people see as more successful because he did what people think is better.
    I also did another crucial decision when I decided not to take an Academic path after my graduation, I even turned down a scholarship because I didn’t think it was right to teach without having enough experience in life.
    Now, I work with Children with Cancer, I really enjoy what I’m doing, and it makes me feel a great sense of Achievment, but whenever I’m home with my parents (who have been a great support, but I can always see that they’re not so content with what I did) I tend to keep my enjoyment to my self to avoid any harsh attacks.
    So, after I finished my masters degree, I had to agree my my parents persuation to take a PhD, I don’t like the idea, but I eventually had to lean under presssure.
    So you see, it’s not so easy to take your path in life, even if it becomes your job, and even if you’re so happy with it, but I liked the post. Thanks

  2. vagueraz says:

    it’s a good past indeed ,..
    Our perpose in life ..
    I think life considers as stages .. every stage has it times .. except the life after graduation and finding job ,, ,or let say .. this stage the longest and the hardest one ,,,
    mmm, when we were @ school .. our perpose was to finish high school and go to universty and study the major we like ,,, in uni ,,, a stage with deffirent experiance ,, that let us think seriously about the perpose you want to achive ,.,,
    starting putting deams ,.wishing … plans after graduation !!
    then the longest & hardest stage in real life started when you will start to prove who u r and what you want exactly from life,,,
    what should you give life to earn ???……
    you will face problems .. hardest ways ,,, nothing will become easy ,,,
    you will cry ,, getting confused !!!..
    have many idea’s ,, many thing you want to achive ,, and hate ur self when wake up and found ur self in same place ,,,,!!!!!

  3. JUMANA :) says:

    (How do you find your purpose in life??)

    Is not difficult to find a purpose, but is difficult to link to it.

    There are several stages to reach for the purpose.

    1. Family
    2. School
    3. Work
    4. Way of life
    5. The country in which we live

    these stages have an essential role to achieve the purpose

    (do you want a purpose or do you not want one??)
    Each person must want the purpose!!! Or his life would be useless and meaningless.

    Well I found my purpose, but I am still working hard so that I can reach it 🙂

    Thanks maioush 😉

  4. yemenia68 says:

    I think it depends on who you are. I can’t speak for every Muslim, but I for one believe that the main purpose in life is to worship God. Through God you will find your purpose. Once you submit your life to God, He will guide you throughout your life
    When I was younger, I used to believe my purpose in life was to become a philosopher, apparently that didn’t turn out as planned. Everything in my life contradicted with what I believed was my purpose in life, so eventually when I stopped swimming against the tide; I figured that it wasn’t meant to be, so I turned to God for guidance and now I feel more comfortable about my life.

  5. KJ says:

    Interesting 🙂

    My purpose has always been the same: Make this world a better place in every way possible!

    Quite ambitious 😀

  6. Great post .. I partially agree.

    But let me tell you about life’s purpose from a slightly different perception:

    The ultimate goal of this universe is to show the glory of God. We are not an accident, so our life is not pointless. God created everything for a reason. And if life has no purpose, it wouldn’t have a meaning. Focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose since we didn’t create ourselves, so it is impossible for us to tell what we are created for! To discover our life’s purpose we need to turn to God, our creator. We are made by God and for God.
    1. We must have a relationship with God to discover our identity and purpose.
    2. God planned everything before we existed. And we don’t choose our purpose.
    3. The purpose of our lives fits into a larger purpose that God designed for eternity.

    That’s why being successful is different from fulfilling life’s purpose.

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