One of the biggest causes of stress in our lives can be the feeling of not knowing where we’re ultimately going.
Once we look beyond basic survival issues, we start asking ourselves: what are we doing with our lives? What SHOULD we be doing instead? What is our individual purpose?
In other words, what brings us the greatest joy? What makes us come alive? What makes us jump out of bed (besides an electric blanket that has caught on fire…)?
Some people might suggest that we not worry about any of this, as “things will eventually work themselves out”.
In part, I agree. We can still choose to be happy no matter what.
However, there is nothing wrong with wanting to achieve more. Sitting on the sidelines and hoping that we’ll magically discover our purpose is probably not the greatest strategy though. Surely it’s wiser to take some steps towards increasing our chances of finding this purpose?
How to Find Your Purpose
While there are no easy answers to the dilemma (and luxury) of attempting to find one’s purpose in life, there are a few imaginative techniques that can help each of us get closer to finding it:
1) What activities do you currently do that make you lose track of time? (Sleeping doesn’t count…)
2) What activities do you love to do that either contribute to the lives of others, or make the world a better place in some way? (Starting a pyramid scheme probably doesn’t count either…)
3) What emotions do you want others to feel (eg. laughter, inspiration, etc)? How can you make them feel that way (legally, of course…)?
4) Look at the things you have already accomplished in your life. Look deeply at the qualities and skills you have used. Look at what makes you unique compared to others. Look at how you have helped others until this point. Combine all of these and ask yourself whether you can see any patterns emerging. Is everything pointing towards a particular direction?
5) Imagine you have been told you only have 12 months to live. Now ask yourself: what would you do (after the initial shock wears off…)? What would you want to focus on? What would you get rid of?
6) Being surrounded by people you enjoy spending time with is more important than a lot of people realise. So consider what people you like to surround yourself with (hopefully it’s not people who hate their job and complain all the time…). Now ask yourself, in what sort of environment will you find these sorts of people?
7) Imagine you have a billion dollars (adjusted for inflation…) and never have to work again. What activities would you want to do on a regular basis, now that money is no obstacle? (By the way, “gambling” might not be a great answer here…)
8) What would you do if it became absolutely impossible for you to fail at something? What would that “something” be? (Ok, gambling doesn’t sound like such a bad option here!)
9) This one is about as fun as number 5 above … perhaps you might be able to combine them! But seriously, this technique involves writing an obituary for yourself. Write what you would like people to say about you. What did you accomplish in your life? How did you make people feel? Oh, and once you’re done with this document, try not to leave it lying around anywhere!
10) If the world was missing something, what couldn’t you live without? As an example answer, some people will say “music” or “comedy” (the latter is my answer). A sad, select few might answer “Justin Bieber”…
And there you have it!
There’s ten fun, simple ways you can use to increase the chances of finding your purpose.