Why It’s Important To Live With Purpose
Let’s talk about purpose and why it’s so important to have one (or several) to live a happy and fulfilled life. As human beings we need to feel needed. We want to be a part of something bigger and make a difference. It’s part of our nature and our DNA. It’s why we work so well together in a society – at least for the most part.
Without a purpose we’re just drifting through the days. We don’t have the drive or ambition to work to our fullest potential. This is true for all areas of our lives, both at home and at work. Purpose energizes us and helps us focus on what we want to do. Without it, we feel lost.
Having a purpose and doing something regularly to fulfill it, is one of the best way to increase your overall feeling of happiness and fulfillment. Since striving to live a happier life is on the agenda of most people out there, it makes a lot of sense to spend a little time discovering what your purpose in life is and how you can begin to fulfill it.
Living with purpose also gives us a nice boost in confidence. We notice that we’re making a real difference and have an impact on those around us. It’s a great feeling and great for your self-esteem. Think back on a time when you did something worthwhile that touched others and made their life better. It doesn’t have to be a big “live purpose” thing. Even something as simple as helping a neighbor carry in groceries, or explaining a math problem to your friend will work. Do you remember how good it made you feel?
That right there is why it’s important to live a life of purpose. It’s having that feeling over and over again. It’s also about being able to look back and seeing the difference your actions made.
Having a purpose and working towards it also adds structure to your day. You are able to plan what you want to do and what you should be doing on a daily basis to reach your goal and begin to fulfill your purpose. This type of structure can give you a feeling of peace. You don’t have to worry about figuring things out, or being afraid that you’re wasting the precious life you’ve been given. Instead, your purpose acts like a beacon guiding you on your path through the days, weeks, months, and years to come.
The end result is improved mental well-being. You have a reason to get up in the morning and receive validation from the results of pursuing your purpose. As time goes by, that purpose may adjust or even change completely, and that’s ok. By simply embracing a purpose-driven life, you’ll increase your happiness and feeling of self-satisfaction. Doesn’t that make it worth a try?
3 Questions That Will Help You Find Your Purpose
For some people finding their purpose in life comes easy. The purpose finds them and it becomes glaringly obvious what they should be doing to live a happy and fulfilled life. For most of us though, things aren’t that obvious and it’s completely normal to struggle with finding something purposeful to do. If that’s you, here are three questions you may want to ask yourself to help guide you to a starting point.
Before we move on to the actual questions, I want to share that this is often a process. There is no right or wrong answer. You simply start by making the choice to life a purpose driven life and then start to figure out what that purpose may be. You don’t have to get that answer on day one. Instead, try a few things, see what feels right and what doesn’t and come to your own perfect answer organically and over time. In short, work on it, but don’t stress out about it.
Now let’s move on to the questions. They are designed to get you thinking about what your purpose may be. They are a starting point and a great way to brainstorm possibilities until you come across something that feels just right.
What Am I Good At?
Start by making a list of everything you are good at. It’s much easier to pass on a skill or work in an area where you have experience in. For example, you may be great at planning meals and living frugally. You can pass that knowledge on by helping low-income moms in your community stretch their food dollars as far as possible.
Don’t limit yourself to what you’ve learned in College or where you excel at work. Instead think about all the little skills you’ve taught yourself in your spare time. Don’t forget about hobbies. Those woodworking skills you’ve acquired over the years can come in handy when you’re building nesting boxes, or are creating an after-school club for at risk youth. No skill is too small or insignificant when it comes to living with purpose and making an impact.
What’s Important To Me? What Do I Value?
Another great starting point is to think about everything that’s important to you and that you value. Maybe it’s climate change, maybe it’s making sure that children in your community have enough food, or maybe it’s insuring the safety of abused women.
Start with your values and see what opportunities there are in your own community, or online to get involved in. While you can certainly start your own organization, or do something on your own to make a difference, it’s often easier to start by working with people who have experience in the field.
What Needs To I See In My Community?
Last but not least, look at what’s going on in your community. This can be your local community, or an online one that you’re a part of. Start to pay attention to the needs of your people and see if there’s something you can do to help.
The needs aren’t always obvious. Be prepared to read between the lines. By simply paying attention and starting to look for a need that needs to be filled, you’ll quickly find opportunities to make a difference.
Above all keep your mind and eyes open. You will come across your purpose. It may just not be exactly what you had in mind to begin with. It’s a journey and a process, but that’s also what keeps life interesting and full of surprises.
How Purpose Will Evolve Over Time
You’ve found something purposeful to do with your life. You’re working away and making positive changes in the world around you. Congratulations! It’s a major achievement. While you may feel like this is something you can do for the rest of your life, your purpose and what inspires you to make a difference will likely change over time. And that’s a good thing!
This also means that there is lots of hope if you’re not 100% convinced yet that you have found the right purpose. You’re off to a great start and over time it will evolve into something you truly love and can see yourself doing for the rest of your life.
That’s the beauty of having a purpose. It’s not a static concept. As you grow as a human being and gain more experience, this concept will evolve right along with you. Sometimes that means your idea grows bigger and more expansive. Your start to reach more people and make an impact on a larger scale.
Sometimes it means that you focus in on just a handful of people with a very specific issue you’re perfectly designed to help them with. You may affect fewer people, but the impact you make is deeper and more profound. That’s a good thing.
For some of us our purpose will become very personal. When you start to have children, they will become your purpose for quite some time. Doing the best job raising and parenting them is a wonderful purpose. Or maybe it’s nurturing your marriage or caring for an elderly family member in need.
Remember, your purpose doesn’t have to be anything earth shattering. You can make a real difference with small acts of kindness. How much you can do also depends on the season of your life that you are in. With a newborn or a toddler in the house, there isn’t much time for anything other than caring for them, the house, and going to work. As your life changes and calms down, you will have periods with more extra time and money on your hands to work on those bigger issues you care about.
The important thing is to life a life of integrity and purpose every day going forward. Even if that purpose is to read “The Little Engine That Could” for the fiftieth time, or spending an afternoon drinking coffee and listening to the stories of times gone by your elderly mother wants to share.
Living with purpose is a concept that evolves and adjusts to your life, your circumstances, and your values. It’s influenced by the people you meet and the needs you see around you. Embrace this concept of change and continue to look for your purpose each day to live a happy and fulfilled life.
Living With Purpose Is About Leaving A Legacy
In the big scheme of things, we’re on this earth for a relatively short while. How do we come to grips with that and what does living with purpose have to do with it?
Living with purpose is about leaving a legacy. It’s about creating something that outlives and outlasts us. It’s about having something that we can pass on to the next generation or at the very least look back on and be proud of.
That’s a pretty heady concept, isn’t it? It’s also a big comfort to know that we haven’t “wasted” our limited time here. You don’t want to feel regret when the time comes. You want to feel like you’ve done all you could and had an impact. That’s what living with purpose is about. Are you ready to leave a lasting legacy?
It doesn’t have to be a big humanitarian project or a huge trust fund for a non-profit. Small changes can have a big impact on the people whose live you’ve touched. Let’s say, what you do, what you say, and how you lead by example changes the lives of 5 other people. Those five then go on to touch the lives of five more people each, making a difference for 25 people. They impact 125. Over the course of 10 “generations”, the five people whose life you’ve changed has touched and affected 9,765,625. That’s a huge number.
Don’t feel like your legacy and your purpose have to be something big within your lifetime. Instead make a small impact in your community and with the people around you. As you pass on your kindness or your skills, they will continue to be shared going forward and touch the lives of many. Your life matters. What you do matters. All it takes is to figure out what your purpose in life is and to start living by it.
Use it as motivation to start looking for your purpose. Finding out what this will be is the first step towards creating your legacy. Once you know what it is or where you want to start, make an effort to do something regularly to fulfill your purpose. Use this idea of leaving a legacy to keep going, even when you don’t feel like you’re making much of a difference. Use it to challenge yourself to learn more, get better, and do more.
Living with purpose isn’t just about what happens when you’re gone. Knowing that you’re leaving a legacy and are having an impact will give meaning to your life. It makes you feel better and is one of the best ways to increase happiness and satisfaction throughout your life. Give it a try and start leaving a legacy.
Sometimes Your Purpose Finds You
We’ve been talking in the about finding your purpose in the last few blog posts. While there is certainly a lot you can do to actively look for your purpose, there’s also something to be said for allowing your purpose to find you. Here’s what I’m talking about:
As you go through life, people and experiences will shape you. Some of them will have a pretty big impact on you. If you keep your eyes open to the possibility, how you can start to make a difference may just appear out of nowhere.
What we consider our purpose is often closely tied to a person or a group of people. For example, after you have a baby, your main purpose in life becomes nurturing and raising the child. This is particularly true in the first few years when your offspring needs almost constant attention and care. There isn’t much room for anything else and that’s ok. Your purpose for that period of time in your life has chosen you.
Then there are times when an experience with another human being touches us and has a profound impact on us. I’m sure you’ve either experienced this or seen it in others. A close friend is diagnosed with a rare cancer. Your grandchild is born with Autism. You see your spouse struggle with an immune disorder. Raising awareness and funds for the issue that touched your personal life becomes your purpose.
Of course it doesn’t stop there. Maybe you’re moved by a book, a movie, or a documentary about poverty, natural disaster, or climate change. The topic becomes important to you and you want to make a difference. Which brings us to an important point.
We can all make a difference in our own small way. You don’t have to be Bill Gates, Al Gore, or Oprah to initiate change and touch the lives of others. Things as simple as creating awareness and donating time and money as you can will have an impact. Every little bit counts and your handful of dollars, or the hour a week you volunteer at a local soup kitchen has a direct impact on actual people. You may not be helping thousands, but you are making a difference. It’s important to remember that.
I invite you to keep an open eye, and more importantly an open heart to what’s going on around you and across the planet. When the call comes, be ready to take action and embrace this new purpose. Do what you can to help. It will give you a feeling of pride, confidence, and fulfillment that will leave you happier than before. We’re meant to work together for the betterment and improvement of all. Embrace it and your life will change forever – for the better.