What Is Your Purpose In Life: Having a sense of purpose in life is one of the most important aspects of happiness. Without it, your life will be less focused and efficient, and you will feel restless and stressed more frequently because you are not aligned with what you do.
What Is Your Purpose In Life
What Is Life Purpose?
Your life purpose consists of the central motivating aims of your life—the reasons you get up in the morning.
Purpose can direct life decisions, influence behavior, shape goals, provide direction, and generate meaning.
Some people associate purpose with vocation—meaningful, satisfying work. Others find their meaning in their obligations to family or friends.
Others look for meaning in spirituality or religious beliefs. Some people may find their life’s purpose clearly expressed in all of these aspects.
Everyone’s purpose will be different; what you identify as your path may be different from others’. Furthermore, your purpose can shift and change throughout your life as a result of shifting priorities and fluctuations in your own experiences.
What is My Purpose in Life?
What is my life’s purpose?
This is a common question, but it forces you to consider what you truly desire. Typically, answers are a variation or combination of the following:
• Feeling loved
• Having a positive impact on the lives of others
• To be happy
“I want everything you just said!” you’re probably thinking as you read this. And, without further thought, you may plan your life to be a successful and wealthy individual with a significant positive impact on the world.
Why it’s Important to Truly Discover Your Purpose
So there you have it. You have a goal to “become a successful and wealthy individual with a significant positive impact on the world.”
You’ve written it down as one of your goals in your journal, and you’re off.
Assume you are now successful, wealthy, and have a significant impact on the world. You’ve spent your early years developing a company that makes, say, portable toilets for people in developing countries. Your company is profitable, and people all over the world look up to you because you appear to be successful, wealthy, and have a positive impact on the world.
You now tick all the boxes of what you thought your life’s purpose was ten years ago.
But are you content? No. Because you had to give up other things in order to fulfill your life purpose, such as:
• Dating and finding a loving partner.
• Spending time with your family.
• Going on holidays with your friends.
• Getting kids.
• Traveling the world.
• Running a marathon.
Even if your life’s purpose wasn’t necessarily a bad one, there was one problem: it wasn’t YOUR life’s purpose. Perhaps your life’s purpose was to simply raise a loving family and be happy?
That is why it is critical to discover your own life purpose!
Discovering Your Purpose in Life
People don’t have “eureka” moments where they suddenly realize what their life’s purpose is. No, you must discover your purpose through trial and error.
So, how do you find your purpose? Not while sitting in a window seat. It is discovered by doing things and taking action.
What matters is that you try new things. If you haven’t found your life’s purpose yet, you won’t find it by doing the same things over and over again.
It’s also important to understand that your life’s purpose and your job are not the same thing. Too many people look for a job that will also allow them to fulfill their life’s purpose. Only a small percentage of people find genuine meaning in their work.
For example, I have a very simple purpose in life that has nothing to do with my work! That’s not to say I dislike my job; I just don’t find it particularly interesting.
To cut a long story short, you must discover your life’s purpose by trying new things. If you don’t feel like you’ve found your life’s purpose, it’s time to try something new that piques your interest.
Defining Your Purpose in Life
You can’t copy & paste somebody else’s purpose in life and expect to be happy by doing the same things.
No, you have to define your purpose.
Elon Musk’s purpose in life might be to develop futuristic ideas into reality, while your purpose can be to just provide the best life to your family and children.
Copying and pasting the goal of someone you admire and respect will almost certainly leave you unhappy and unsatisfied. For example, while I think Elon Musk is doing amazing things, I wouldn’t be happy in his shoes. My life’s purpose is vastly different from his!
I have defined my own life purpose, and I encourage you to do the same!
Examples of Life Purpose Statements
Even if you have to define your own life purpose, it’s still interesting to read about other people’s. That’s why I asked around for examples of life purpose statements to include in this article.
I don’t want you to take these life goals and make them your own. I simply want to demonstrate how varied life purpose statements can be!
“My life’s mission is to solve problems by altering the status quo.”
You’ll enjoy hearing how Michael Arnold discovered his life’s purpose. This is an excellent example of how straightforward your life’s purpose can be.
I don’t remember my grandpa, he passed when I was 9 months old but I sat on his knee while Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon. I always wanted to be an astronaut even studying Astronomy, Geology and Physics in high school.
But when I checked into the requirements of becoming an astronaut, I realized I had been lied to… I was told work hard and you can reach your dreams.
But there it was in black and white, maximum height 6’1”! I was 6’4”! I couldn’t be 3” shorter.
So, I decided to become an engineer and build taller spaceships, discovering my new purpose solving problems by changing the status quo.
“My Life’s Purpose is to Make Positive Connections With Others and to Enjoy those Around You”
I got cancer age 30 and am currently grappling with this question. My focus has completely shifted and I feel like the whole point of my life now is just 2 simple things:
This is what a Redditor said when asked about her life’s purpose. The first obvious thing she noticed:
Making positive connections with others and enjoying those around you. It is a lot easier to sit on the couch and watch a feel-good show than it is to go have dinner with your in-laws when you are tired – but what is the point in sitting there watching TV? We all waste way too much time doing crap like that. Better to build meaningful connections while you can. There are millions of super isolated people in the world as well who would kill to have someone to have dinner with.
The second purpose of her life is:
Squeezing every bit of enjoyment out of life. I need to walk home – I can either take the subway for 5 minutes underground or I can walk 30 minutes through a park and tree-lined streets and truly enjoy it.. maybe get an ice cream on the way. I’d pick the fast way every time before, now I’m constantly looking for the most enjoyable route instead.
“My Life’s Purpose is to Teach Other Parents of Children With ADHD How to Positively Parent in Order to Help their Children”
My oldest (who are 18 and 21) were really difficult kids. I didn’t know until they were about 10 years old that they had ADHD. I probably made every parenting mistake possible as a result. It wasn’t easy. I became a therapist and as a result, specialized in ADHD, specifically in parenting.
This is the story of Merriam Saunders, who discovered her life’s purpose in assisting other parents dealing with ADHD.
What I realized was that by constantly reprimanding my own children for behavior outside their control, I was ruining their self-esteem and leaving them (and, frankly, me) feeling like failures. Instead of asking them to change, I needed to ask it of myself. I changed my parenting approach to one of finding the things they were doing right, scaffolding the things they weren’t, and letting them make mistakes without shame. We became a happier family for it, and they are now well adjusted and academically succeeding.
“My Purpose in Life is to Make Things”
This idea was the center of my thoughts for the past few years. And I did a lot of testing out who I was and what I wanted out of life. Trying on different careers and always second guessing myself. And I was struggling and unhappy and went through a lot of different situations to figure this out. Find a career, find a partner, find something else to fill the void in my life.
This is another Redditor’s story. This demonstrates that a life’s purpose does not have to be sophisticated or impressive. We don’t have to outdo each other with bigger and better goals. You must discover your own purpose. What brings you joy?
The following is another example:
But the idea of making things was always there. Even as a kid just fucking around or even when I was at my most depressed as an adult. I always turned to making things.
Make ceramics, make sculptures, make music, make a garden, make good food, make a book, make my own clothes. Make something that didn’t exist.
I make things because that’s how I understand myself in this world. It soothes me. It shows me that I’m strong. It comforts me, in a mental and physical sense. It makes me proud and it makes me happy.
It’s simple, but it seems to be the one true thread in my life that makes absolute sense. And it’s a path I can follow without doubting myself.
“My Life’s Purpose is to Use my Writing to Better the World”
For a class in high school we had to write a mission statement for our lives. Mine was simple: to use my writing to better the world. And I have tried to live up to that. I have written about the environment, diversity and bullying as well as a host of other topics. But I was happiest when I wrote something that addressed a problem and even happier when I would get feedback saying that my writing touched someone.
This is the story of Walter Meyer, an author who speaks out against bullying. His mission has gradually evolved into something larger. This demonstrates that we do not have a single purpose in life, but that it evolves as we grow and try new things.
As an example:
A few years ago, I fell into a part-time job working for a nonprofit. At times, the job has gotten in the way of my writing, but I also know I am making a difference in my community and getting kudos for it. So I slightly modified my life mission statement: to better the world.
I still write and use that as a major tool, but I teach, put on seminars and exhibits and other events to educate the public. I am at my happiest when I am doing what I love, getting paid for it, and getting feedback saying I am doing the right thing. We only have a limited amount of time in life so I want to make the most of my years. And because any of us might go tomorrow, I would like to think that I have left a mark in many lives and will leave my little corner of the world better than I found it.
“My Purpose in Life is to Empower Myself to Empower Others”
As a recovering perfectionist, anxiety warrior, and depression fighter, my purpose in life is to empower myself to empower others. I define my purpose in life as a continual journey of becoming the best possible version of myself. By doing this, I can help other people become the best possible version of themselves.
This is the story of Nicole, who reached out to me with her example of a life purpose. I personally feel connected to her life’s purpose because I am constantly striving to be the best version of myself.
“My Life Has no Purpose, and I don’t Want it to”
My life doesnt have a purpose, and I don’t want it to. A purpose puts too much pressure on me. I just want to be able to say I lived a happy, ethical, and compassionate life. If I do, then I will have hopefully improved the world for a few people, animals, and the planet. That is what really matters, I think.
Another interesting take on life’s purpose by a Redditor. Instead of having a clearly defined purpose, she would prefer to be happy above all else. She goes on:
I see too many people driving themselves mad trying to change the world. They put all their happiness on the line for their “purpose” and end up miserable. Too many people want to be remembered after they die, but I don’t care because I don’t think it really matters. I’ll be dead so I will have no idea if people remember me! So I just focus on being a happy, good person, because I am the only thing I can truly control.
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When you think about it, this last example is actually quite amusing. Why would I include it in this article if it appears to directly contradict the point I’m attempting to make?
Maybe the point of this article isn’t so much to find a purpose as it is to find things in life that make you the happiest you can be.
These examples have demonstrated that the following can be viewed as a life purpose:
• Thinking outside the box to solve problems
• Make positive connections with others and enjoy the people in your life.
• Teaching other parents about ADHD management.
• Making something.
• Making the world a better place in which to live.
• Others are being empowered.
• Taking care of your family.
• Living a prosperous life.
But these things can all be thought of as things that simply make you a happier person.
Happiness is a Purpose
These goals in our lives exist only because we have reason to believe that we will be happy if we:
• Chase these purposes, or…
• Reach these purposes.
Before I began tracking my happiness, I aspired to be wealthy and financially independent, among other things. Why? Because I was working at a job I detested.
My happiness has shifted dramatically over the last five years. Throughout this time, I forced myself to consider the following questions:
• What is my purpose in life?
• What makes me happy?
I’ve realized that I didn’t really want to be wealthy. I just wanted to avoid having to work at a job I didn’t enjoy. Rather than focusing on a distant pipe dream (quit my horrible job with enough money in the bank), I concentrated on actively steering my life in the best direction right away.
What exactly did I do?
• I steered my career in a different direction.
• I focused on being happy now, instead of only planning for my future happiness.
Your Life Purpose is Your Contribution
Some people are hesitant to pursue their life purpose because they are concerned that it will appear self-serving or selfish.
True purpose, on the other hand, is about recognizing your own gifts and using them to make a difference in the world, whether that means playing beautiful music for others to enjoy, assisting friends with problems, or simply bringing more joy into the lives of those around you.
Richard Leider, a nationally-ranked coach and purpose expert, says that “genuine purpose points to the end of a self-absorbed, self-serving relationship to life.” When your authentic purpose becomes clear, you will be able to share it with the whole world.
This may not be the satisfying conclusion you were hoping for after reading the entire article, but it’s how I feel. I hope I’ve shown you several aspects of this life’s purpose.
If you now have a better understanding of how to discover and define your own purpose, then I have accomplished my goal!
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