Without a doubt, we are happiest and most satisfied in life when we are on a course toward something meaningful.
Absent any real direction, purpose or guiding light, we become lost, stressed, upset and confused leading to a host of emotional, physical and behavioral issues.
Often being bored, lost or stuck are some of the most destructive times in our lives.
What is it we should be using to set our course forward though?
If you are someone lost or just letting life happen TO you, how do you turn that around, take control and chart a course toward something truly meaningful – a purpose in life?
Having studied my own life and worked with thousands of others from elite athletes to top business successes, it becomes apparent that the purpose in life that drives someone to be happiest, to grow and to live out their true potential is somewhat variable.
For example, here are 5 ways of thinking about your purpose in life.
1. Journey To Being Happy
One universal purpose espoused by Ghandi and spiritual leaders like Dr. Wayne Dyer is the journey itself toward being happy. In other words, dedicating your life to being spiritually, emotionally and physically in a state of happiness is one life purpose that many have had success with. Of course, you need to peel back the onion and figure out what it is that will truly make you happy, here you will come up with possibilities such as learning, giving, gratitude, making a difference, self awareness, etc…
2. Achieving Deeper Self Analysis
There are those that see 99% of what we think and do each day as "surface level", part of a bigger game that does not reflect true inner purpose. For this camp, purpose in life is all about learning to manage your surface level thoughts and actions and instead, dig deeper into finding truth within yourself…in essence, your purpose in life is to clear away the baggage that you have been conditioned with and get back to the real you.
3. Growth, Learning and Experience
Yet another group of people (call them the adventurers – although that is an over-simplification) see their purpose in life is to experience new things, learn and grow constantly. The belief here is that you must constantly be putting yourself into "learning" mode and go out of your way to experience new things – and that will make you happy.
4. Live In The Moment
From the teachings of Eckhart Tolle (and many others who think in a similar fashion), your purpose in life is to live in the present…live in the moment. What is in the past is gone and what the future brings is inevitable only controlled by how you use the present moment. Strict adherence to this principle is hard to fathom, but certainly we could all incorporate this definition of purpose into our own. Even if we believe that our purpose is to guide our future, we could certainly all benefit from being more present in the moment.
5. Service Toward Others, Make Difference, Leave a Legacy
I've placed these concepts into the same bucket since they are all roughly equivalent as they involve some degree of moving beyond yourself and into the realm of leaving an impression on those around you via service, help or otherwise. This group of thinkers does not negate the value of self awareness or being present, but takes that concept one step further by crafting that learning into a set of thoughts, plans and actions that influence and improve the lives of those around you. For example, Martin Luther King Jr certainly thought this way where he went beyond his own inner strength and realization of the moment to make a lasting impression on his supporters – and the world.
Which definition of life purpose most resonates with you?
Do you have another definition that perhaps is not covered here?