What Is the Purpose of Life?

What Is the Purpose of Life? -ManSpirational.comWe’d all like to think that buried somewhere in the deep recesses of our brains is the answer to the age-old question that has plagued mankind for eons: What is our purpose in life? What are we doing here?

We pray for guidance constantly, hoping that one day God will appear to us in a vision and tell us why He placed us on this earth.

I’ve pondered this question for a long time and consulted the text of many great avatars that lived before us. I think the answer is as simple this:

The only purpose is that which we define.

Finding Your Purpose in Life

Get that? We only live life as meaningful as we choose to make it. You have a conscious choice of living life with the utmost sense of accomplishment and purpose. You also have the conscious choice of looking at life fatalistically, saying that we are just one, giant evolutionary accident.

Either viewpoint is right. We purposely choose to give our lives purpose, and that purpose comes in many flavors. Personally, I struggled with finding my purpose for years. Ultimately, my own purpose was two-fold:

  1. Make a difference in the world.
  2. Help other people.

Each was mutually inclusive to the other. I also wanted to make use of my talents, gifts, and passions in order to serve my purpose.

I think this touches at the very heart and soul of every self-improvement book out there on finding your ideal career. You combine your strengths and your passions on the job so that you enjoy the work. But the work is only enjoyable if you truly believe in it. For example, you may like to write for the sake of writing but if you dislike working for a publisher of tabloid magazines, have you really found your purpose?

All Roads Lead to Rome

My path to finding my purpose and passions was often circuitous. I journaled my thoughts often, letting them flow freely on paper. It is through writing that we precisely describe our thoughts, feelings, emotions, anger, frustrations, sadness, happiness, desires, goals, etc.

Note that when I say journal, I actually am doing a form of visualization, except with words, which appeal to me significantly more than just painting a vague story in my head. By writing, I have to find the correct words to precisely describe the story I want to live. By telling a story as vividly as possibly, with the 5 Ws (stop worrying about the how!), I soon elicit my emotions.

That’s the key: Our emotions. If you see yourself feeling good doing something, then it’s highly likely the right thing for you. Even if you have little experience in actually doing that something, by writing stories in great detail–how you feel, what you taste, what you see, who you are with–you are in essence visualizing something happening before it ever takes place. It’s that feel-good sensation that clues you in on what is right for you.

Besides journaling, I also took up the practice of meditation so as to hone my mind, over time controlling random thoughts. Did you know that on average we have over 60,000 thoughts a day? Many of them occur at the sub-conscious level! By meditating, over time we learn to quiet our minds so that we are better be able to focus our thoughts and our energies to answering philosophical questions. The answers to these questions often come to us outside of meditation, when we least expect them to. This is quite normal as in meditation, we dismiss the thoughts that come into our minds without judgment. Meditation, after all, is about emptying the mind of thoughts. Many of my aha moments came at the most random of times, such as when I am sitting on the dentist’s chair or just driving down the road.

Separate Your Career From Your Purpose

Most people tend tie their purpose to their jobs. The issue with doing this is that the nature of the job changes over time such that the position no longer jives with your purpose. Instead, you should discover the values behind your purpose so that you will bring those values with you to your next job (if that’s how you want to fulfill your purpose).

How Big Is the Scope of Your Purpose?

You will also need to decide how big a scope you want the fulfillment of your purpose to serve. For example, do you just need to touch people at the personal level because it is here where the difference you make is the greatest and most noticeable? Or, do you want your purpose to serve a group of people closest to you? A city? The region? The country? Or, even the world?

How big a change you want your purpose to affect will dictate how you go about fulfilling that purpose. For example, if your purpose is to touch lives at the individual level, you will want a job or a way of fulfilling that goal such that you can see it with each person you interact. Similarly, if you want your purpose to touch the entire country, you will likely need to join a cause or an organization that has such a reach.

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Take Action!

Like everything, if we spend too much time analyzing our true purpose in life, we risk failing to take meaningful action to fulfill our purpose. It then just becomes a cerebral exercise in futility. You may also only have a slight idea of what your purpose is. It’s hard to be 100% sure, or even 50% sure, especially when you are first starting out. The thing then to do here is to just take action and start doing things that are complementary to your values.

In other words, you need to try things out for yourself in order to start gaining experience and to build more data points so that you will have those data points to fall back upon when you have to make another decision in the future. You will then have the experience and the intuition to know if you are making the right decision.

A Constant State of Flux

What makes life interesting is that things are constantly changing. So, too, does your value-driven purpose. You may decide after working with an organization for several years that your values are no longer being served by that organization and jump ship. Because of this, it helps to always be trying new things to see where in the grand scheme of things they fit in your life.

Remember to always build up new experiences by trying new things, as constantly challenging your brain with new ideas and experiences makes you more flexible in your thinking and ability to learn new things.

Conclusion

The means of execution to fulfill our value-driven purpose may change at any given moment. Jobs change. Political climates change. So, it’s important to focus instead on your values. It’s also important to stop over-analyzing your purpose and just go try different things to carry out that purpose. Join a cause or apply for a job that you think helps you fulfill that purpose. After all, we can only carry out our value-driven purpose through action. With each action you take, the story of your life becomes clearer. With clarity, you understand yourself better.

And that is one of the purposes in life: To know ourselves.
 

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