You may have read about life purpose in motivational or self-help books or heard about it in religious or philosophical discourses. Though most of you would have read or thought about having a purpose of life, not many know how to find life purpose.
Let’s look at the example of Pranav, a senior manager in an auto company. When Pranav was in school, he dreamt of becoming a sportsperson. That dream changed to joining the armed forces when he reached college.
However, when he failed to make it to the armed forces, he pursued a management degree and is now enjoying the perks of steady career growth.
Yet, he often ends up asking himself, “What is my purpose in life?”
Various religious teachings and philosophies emphasize that people have a life with a purpose, but it is up to them to discover the purpose of life.
Quite often, you may focus your energies on pursuing material quests, such as getting a promotion and start believing that your career path is your actual life purpose.
However, in reality, professional success or the wealth acquired might not necessarily be your actual purpose of life. For instance, a brilliant student with academic prowess might score high marks year after year, but scoring marks might not be his purpose of life.
What is the purpose of life?
The question stems from the belief that there is more to human beings’ existence than the mundane everyday existence most people lead. Everyone likes to create an impression on the world, to be loved, respected, and remembered. In ancient times, kings used to get massive forts, places of worship, towers, majestic gardens, tombs, or other such public monuments constructed as their legacy.
However, the important thing is to understand that life purpose is not merely accumulating wealth or gaining fame. To live a good life, you must first understand what is your purpose in life.
Questions to ask yourself to find your purpose in life
To find the answer to this question, ask yourself the following:
Do I feel happy doing what I do?
Happiness is directly related to peace and motivation in life. To succeed in your occupation, it is important to be passionate about your work and feel a sense of satisfaction and happiness. Hence, it is important to ask yourself this question.
If you are not happy in a situation or your heart is not in a particular field, then you will never be able to make it your purpose in life.
Do I have a sense of purpose?
It is important to ask yourself whether you feel guided by a sense of purpose. For instance, some people are keen to contribute to society. They feel happy about improving the lives of people around them. Similarly, some soldiers believe their life purpose is to defend the country.
Spending life with a purpose can be satisfying. Maybe your purpose is to become a doctor and do breakthrough research in the field of medical science or you are ordained to become a teacher who educates underprivileged children.
Alternatively, you might be blessed with a business mind and go on to become an entrepreneur, creating wealth and employment for yourself and others.
What do I excel in?
One of the key identifiers of your purpose of life is your ability to excel in a particular field.
When you are happy doing something and it becomes a passion, you also find a way to excel in it. For example, if a student wants to become a soldier, he would pay the utmost attention to his physical wellness. He would spend years on building his physique, stamina and mental sharpness which are requisites of a career in the armed forces.
What will I enjoy doing even for free?
The willingness to pursue an occupation or a field of work even if there is no monetary benefit speaks volumes about the person’s passion for that work.
For instance, a person who believes teaching to be his true life purpose won’t hesitate to teach a poor child even if the child is not able to pay the fees.
How to find life purpose?
Once you realize that spending a life with a purpose could be hugely satisfying, you would need to know how to find your purpose in life.
Here are some of the ways in which you can discover your life purpose:
Keep your curiosity alive
Humans are curious by nature. Since ancient times, we have been driven by the urge to know what lies beyond the horizon, on the other side of the mountains, in outer space or deep into the oceans.
Curiosity leads to discoveries and a deeper understanding of our purpose of life. One should never underestimate the force that your desire to know can unleash. People who are curious to learn continue to read books, research online and take courses even after they complete their regular academic education.
Curiosity opens new doors for you and in case you are not yet clear about your life purpose, then your inquisitiveness will surely show you the way.
Be honest about your intentions
One of the most important guiding principles in search of your purpose in life is honesty of your intentions. Without that, it would be difficult to discover your life purpose.
Maurya dynasty king Ashoka conquered one kingdom after another until he reached Kalinga. After a brutal war, which saw a large number of people die in the battle, Ashoka was filled with remorse. It was then that he met Buddha, who made him realize that ruling a vast kingdom was not his true calling. Ashoka then became a Buddhist and spent the rest of his life promoting Buddhism. That was how he lived a life with a purpose.
Listen to your gut feeling
A gut feeling, hunch or intuition can often help you make decisions. Following your intuition can be a good starting point to discover your purpose in life.
Know what matters the most in life
Everyone has certain core areas and priorities in life, but most go with the flow and later feel trapped in their jobs.
You might be an artist working as a graphic designer or an aspiring novelist working as a content writer or you might even be working in a company’s IT team while your dream is to open your own IT firm.
More often than not, we are distracted by our daily needs and are not able to identify that we have a life with a purpose.
If you feel that what you are doing is not exactly what you want to be doing, you need to introspect. Identify the core areas of your life. What do you value most?
Do you want more money, love, happiness, a business empire or a cozy cottage in a peaceful hill station?
Prioritizing your preferences is likely to give you clarity about your purpose.
Build good habits
Your habits define who you are and what your purpose of life is. So focus on developing habits that help in transforming your life.
By developing the right and impactful habits, you can move quickly towards fulfilling your heart’s desires. One of the most crucial habits is the art of time management. Everyone has a certain lifespan, but desires are boundless. Hence, it is important to utilize time meaningfully and avoid delays and wastage.
From time to time, remind yourself that you have a purpose in life and you need to spend your time on activities that take you closer to that purpose. In case you are unaware of your purpose, then daily meditation and exercise might help you understand it.
Set goals and create a roadmap
It is unlikely that you will ever undertake a long-distance road trip, say, to the nearest holiday destination to your city, without a physical map, Google maps or a navigation device. So, why should you follow your life path without a roadmap or plan?
Understand what you want in life and then set clear goals accordingly. Once you are able to identify the goals that make you happy and content, we will automatically be able to understand the purpose of your life. Hence, it is essential to set the right goals and create a roadmap to reach those goals.
Putting the puzzle pieces together
If you are not excited about what lies ahead, then it is obvious that you are not living for the purpose that’s closest to your heart. Anyone who understands and works on his life’s purpose will always be excited about what he or she is doing.
Whether it is solving a problem like the water crisis, reducing environmental pollution or making someone laugh, if you are doing your best in your area of work and are focused on doing better each day, then it is evident that you have been able to understand that you were given life with a purpose.
Life is never aimless or worthless. We have all been given life with a purpose. Some of us have discovered our purposes and are doing great service to the world in different walks of life.
However, if you are yet to discover your purpose of life, you are not alone. Harappa Education understands and supports you on your path of discovery. The Discovering Purpose course gives you the right perspective and tips to understand and follow your purpose and succeed in life. Sign up for it and discover your purpose.
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