Most people are just passing through life or they let life happen to them. They complete university, go for an apprenticeship, start working, have a family, and finally reach retirement. Some people manage to live a life where they have accumulated money or obtained status.
Yet, even though they’ve achieved success beyond what they could imagine, they have an empty feeling that something’s amiss in their lives.
Maybe you’re reading this article because you also feel this way. You feel like life is getting away from you. Although you’re doing your best at work, school, or with your family, there’s a lingering sadness and a desire to do more, become more and find happiness.
Yet, the good news is that you no longer have to feel that way. You can choose to live a happy and purposeful life. It means doing what truly matters to you in alignment with your values and beliefs.
Why Is It Important To Find Your Purpose In Life?
Living a life with purpose is important because it adds joy and meaning to your life. When you find your purpose, you uncover your passion, what you are good at, and how you can contribute to the world. This, in turn, leads to a happier, fulfilling and more meaningful life.
When You’re Living With Purpose:
1. You Feel Grounded To A Calling That’s Larger Than Yourself
While it may not guarantee more money or a celebrity lifestyle, there’s a sense of fulfillment that you get when you live for something bigger than yourself.
You get to focus on and be a part of movements that will positively change the world and leave a legacy behind for future generations.
Once you align yourself with something that is bigger than yourself, you anchor yourself in a way that makes it easy for you to navigate your way through life. You’ll also have a vision and mission for your life that you can commit to.
2. You Are In A Strong Position To Empower And Help Others
One benefit of uncovering your purpose is discovering your strengths and being more willing to serve your local community, friends and other relationships.
It can be difficult to empower and help others if we lack self awareness. When we have an understanding of who we are and what we live for, we become excited to help others and live an intentional life, which makes a difference.
3. Living A Life of Purpose Benefits Your Health
We live in a society that prioritizes physical health over mental wellbeing. We are constantly reminded about the importance of physical health, but we forget that our mental health is equally as important.
When we live a life that lacks purpose, it can lead to depression, stress and anxiety. Take a moment and imagine living a lifestyle that you didn’t really choose. You complete a course or degree that you didn’t enjoy, you take on a job you don’t like because you need to pay the bills, and you live in a neighborhood simply because it is close to work.
A life like this, without purpose or a real plan, where we are simply existing, will negatively impact our health.
Harvard looked into the risk of cardiovascular death between people who reported living with a purpose versus those that didn’t. It found that the risk of death was 20% lower in those who reported living with purpose.
4. You Engage Positively With Others Because You Have Healthy Self-Esteem
When you understand your purpose in life, you have a higher level of self esteem. It changes the way you face adversity because you know there is more for you. It increases your confidence and you feel competent enough to handle setbacks and obstacles that come across your path.
When you have this type of attitude, it helps you to engage positively with other people. Your confidence and positivity will become contagious to those around you.
5. You Understand That Letting Go Of Failure Becomes Much Easier
Life becomes easier to navigate when you pursue a life of purpose. This is because when you choose to pursue a life with a purpose in mind, your efforts and energy will be focused on personal development and growth.
The truth is that it will be easier to let go of failure without letting it hold you back because when you live a life of purpose you approach life as an adventure instead of having an “all or nothing” attitude and mindset.
When you live with purpose it is easier to let go of failure despite a couple of losses because you believe that you’re on a meaningful path that’s designed for you and if you preserver you will succeed.
6. You Find It Easier To Forgive Others And Let Go Of Bitterness
Life becomes more peaceful when you understand that you have a purpose. You’ll no longer have the energy or desire to hold on to year-long grudges and misunderstandings that have made you unhappy and bitter because this only limits you and holds you back from everything that you are meant to accomplish.
This doesn’t mean that you let people walk all over you but it helps you release things because you can see that holding on to bitterness will only cause you more harm then good.
There are instances where we are unwilling to forgive even though we know that we need to and it is true that forgiveness is sometimes a gradual process of acknowledging what has occurred.
However, it is a journey worth taking because you’ll be doing yourself a world of good if you let go of the hurt and suffering caused and choose instead to instead grow from the ordeal.
7. Gratitude Becomes An Essential Part of Your Life
When you live a life of purpose, more often than not you also live a life of gratitude. When you choose to be thankful for what you have, you begin to live life in the present, to savor and enjoy the relationships and things that you have.
Living a meaningful life full of gratitude helps you to distinguish the difference between needs and wants. It also allows you to remove your attention from what you don’t have each day and appreciate what you do have.
8. You Engage in Positive Behaviors
A meaningful and purposeful life is a happier life. Such a life makes it easier for you to adopt healthy coping mechanisms when it comes to dealing with stress.
Studies show that people who have a greater purpose in life are more likely to take better care of themselves because they feel as if their lives matter.
As such, they are likely to engage in more exercise, mindful behavior, and less bad habits like excessive drinking, smoking, or other unhealthy behaviors.
9. Your Worldview Expands
A person living with a sense of purpose sees the world in a more complex way. Instead of viewing the world as black and white, you become sensitive to undertones, nuances and challenges that affect intercultural communications, daily communications and even business operations.
Having an open mind leads to a yearning for a deeper sense of connection and understanding of the world in which we exist. This opens us up to a higher level of thinking and yields better results in every area of our lives.
10. You Develop Additional Empathy For Other People
Instead of living a life where you feel like a victim and constantly blame others for your situation, a life of purpose makes you more empathetic.
You understand that life is not a race and everyone has their own journey with different experiences and challenges along the way.
11. You Pursue A Value-Based Life
Successful people are driven by their core values. Without them, you’ll have difficulty understanding who you are and what you want to achieve in life.
Let’s say you become exposed to the social issues that exist within your community. When you live with a purpose, your work instantly gravitates towards solving those problems. How you serve and help people around you will matter because this aligns with your values.
12. You Gain Clarity About The Future Regardless Of Challenges
Uncertainty is a normal part of life. But it’s in moments of uncertainty that we either let an opportunity slip from between our fingers or realize an unspoken potential.
The truth is that when you live a life of purpose, you will view uncertainty as a path way towards achieving something even greater. This encourages you to take on life with genuine wonder and curiosity instead of anxiety and pessimism.
13. You Become More Aligned With Your Career
When you’re not aligned with your purpose, it can be difficult to discover career opportunities that mask themselves as challenges or basic jobs.
When we don’t have purpose, we often take unnecessary risks and make unwise decisions about our careers or business because we are not sure which direction we should be going in.
But success stems from within even before it becomes a reality. The only way to discover it and acknowledge it is by making a point to live your life purposely.
How Can I Live A Happy And Purposeful Life?
A life of purpose encourages you to believe that you were created for more. You don’t need to spend the rest of your days wishing that you were someone else or that you were somewhere else.
You have it within you to live a fulfilled life, and this is your opportunity to work on finding your own meaning and purpose within life.
Let’s get started.
1. Take A Look At Yourself (Self-Discovery)
What do we mean by self-discovery? We mean actively gaining knowledge of ourselves, so that you can figure out what your calling in life is.
You start this journey of self-discovery by asking yourself:
- What are you passionate about?
- What have you loved doing all your life?
- What gets you out of bed every morning?
Start by visualizing your ideal self. What do you want from life? Where do you see yourself in the next 5 to 10 years? What do you regret in life? What are you most proud of?
You can journal your answers and take time to discover and explore yourself – your feelings, your passions, your deepest dreams and desires.
Once you know who you are and what you need to do, take action in believing that you will accomplish what you set out to do instead of looking for permission from others.
2. Sort Out Your True Priorities
Finding your purpose requires you to dig deep within yourself and cut through the mess that we sometimes find ourselves in.
For every passion that you identified (in step 1) ask yourself, ‘why do I feel that way?’ ‘Why do I believe that?’ The idea here is to weed out all the beliefs and values that you may be holding on to because they are simply what you’ve been taught.
Figuring out your passion requires you to step away from:
- The toxic mindset
- The lies you’ve been fed over the years
- Values and beliefs you got from your role models that are not related to what you want to do
It can take a long time to get rid of all the things you thought were true but are not. People often times tell us things to keep us from moving forward or advancing further in life than they ever did.
It may not be out of malicious behavior but simply their own insecurities. As such, it’s important for you to recognize this.
Be patient with yourself, focus on continuing to move in the right direction, and you’ll be fine.
Once you have critically evaluate the passions and strengths you listed in the first step, you might realize that not all of them are as fascinating as you thought. That’s alright, as the next step will help you with that.
3. Ask Yourself What You Really Want Out Of Life
It’s easy to get confused when you’re trying to uncover your purpose. This is because most of us have more than one passion. Our passions may also change with time.
For instance, maybe you wanted to be a doctor when you were a kid but now you can’t stand the sight of blood and know that becoming a doctor would only make you miserable.
So now, as you review your passions, you need to ask yourself:
- Will you be happy if you follow that path?
- Is that really what you want, or are you pursuing it out of obligation?
- What are you willing to sacrifice for your passion?
Journaling what you really want out of life is a great way to help you uncover what you are most passionate about and are willing to pursue.
4. Examine Your Core Beliefs And Values
Examining your core beliefs and values is important when seeking to understand your purpose. Think about what matters most to you. A belief for you may be that you feel called to help disadvantaged people. A value may relate to your family and spending time with them.
So, for someone who has this belief and value, they may look for work that helps them connect with and help disadvantaged people but also ensures they aren’t working 24/7 so that they still have time to invest into their family.
5. Remember That You May Have More Than One Purpose
Most of us end up discovering that we have more than one purpose in life. You may discover multiple purposes at once in your life, or you could live out one purpose and, after that, pursue another.
For example, you may feel that your purpose is to become a teacher, so that you can have a positive influence in the lives of children. So, you do this for many years and then decide to have children of your own. When you have children, your desires change and you feel like it is important to be a stay at home parent.
You may feel just as fulfilled with raising your own children then you did teaching a classroom full of children. Does this mean that you no longer have a purpose? Quite the opposite, your purpose has just changed.
This is why self-discovery is so important and listening to yourself when it comes to what you enjoy doing.
How To Live A Meaningful Life
Once you discover your life’s calling and purpose, it’s time to come up with a plan, so that you can actually live a life driven by your purpose. You’ll need to set goals and take intentional action that you’ll incorporate into your daily routine.
Your next steps should be:
- Create intentional goals: You have to identify the roadblocks before you and come up with ways that you’ll overcome those roadblocks.
- Map out your goals: Figure out your end goal and plan how you’ll achieve it.
- Be Intentional with your days: What this means is that you align your days with your core values and purpose. Doing this will help you stay on track when it comes to living a life of purpose.
- Avoid living on autopilot: Living a life with a purpose requires being mindful and intentional. To make the journey interesting, you can find yourself an accountability partner and constantly fuel yourself with inspiration.
Now that you know why you should live a life of purpose and how to discover that purpose. Remember that you only live once and what better way is there to live, than to live a life of purpose.