People with a sense of purpose enjoy life more. They experience greater and more intense emotions. They also tend to be more successful and productive in their work. A purpose can give suffering meaning and help us endure hard times. In short, having a purpose makes our lives more fulfilling.
Unfortunately, most of us don’t know our purpose. Very few people know what they want to do at the early age. Finding one’s purpose is difficult for many of us. For some, it takes a major life event to provide the needed drive. For others, a sense of purpose starts to emerge over time due to a series of life experiences.
Perhaps that’s why finding “your life’s calling” became such a trend in recent years. But don’t fall for the trap. You don’t find a life’s purpose overnight and wake up to success and riches in 3 months. Finding life’s purpose is part of the process of discovery of ourselves. Here are some important steps in that process.
1. Determine What You Care for the Most
One of the first things you can do is ponder about the worthwhile things in life or the things that make you feel fulfilled. What do you like to do when you have the time to do it? How would you spend your time if you had all the time in the world?
Finding out that one or two things you care about is a good start, but it also takes a deeper examination of yourself. The things you care for may not necessarily be what you’re good at but they should align with your values. Sometimes, they elicit strong emotions from you because you care strongly about them.
2. Recognize Your Talents and Skills
This step is essential to figuring out your purpose in life. What are you good at? What skills can you offer? Generating this list can help you know about your innate abilities and help you know about the skills you can use to achieve your purpose.
You can identify your innate abilities by asking yourself questions such as the following:
● What skills do you have that are unique?
● What really excites you?
● What can you do that most other people cannot do? What comes easy for you but might not for others?
Tip: Sometimes, we’re blind to our talents because they’re so natural to us. Ask your friends, colleagues, mentors about what they think your strengths are. You might be surprised!
3. Do the Things You Don’t Like Doing
Here is a mind-blowing point. How does doing things you don’t like doing help you achieve your purpose? Doing the things you don’t like will give you experience, help you grow, and build your self-confidence. Sometimes, you have to do things you don’t like to get to where you want to be. They’re necessary. For example, you might have to do homework and practices to hone your skills no matter how good you are at something. Or perhaps building something makes you feel accomplish but you have to plan and break some sweat to get stuff done. Having self-discipline is necessary to attain a purpose.
4. Volunteer and Share What You Can
Some advocate volunteering as a way to find your purpose in life. You might get a hint of what you like to do and what you are good at when you help other people. We don’t live in a vacuum. Our purpose is typically in some way serve others, making life easier, or add beauty to life. Volunteering is one of the best ways to help out a cause close to your heart but also an opportunity to learn more about yourself, what you enjoy and what you thought you would but might not enjoy in reality.
5. Do Something You Enjoy and Do Well
The point of finding life’s purpose is to find what fulfills you. Toiling at something you hate won’t give fulfillment. Go with your interests, let your joy lead you. Spend time explore your interests and your curiosity. What would you do if you have time and money? What activities put you in the flow? What would make you forget the time? What would make you forget to check your phone? It’s a balance between do it with joy and with discipline. You want both.
Finding life’s purpose is not an easy task or something you can study. It’s a process of exploration, of maybe many trials and errors. It can be confusing and frustrating. But it’s what makes life more meaningful, what provides the depth to your legacy. If you find it challenging to think about your purpose in life, look at the people you admire and see what it is about them that you want for yourself. Perhaps that can inspire you to think about what you want for yourself. A friendly reminder is that a life’s purpose is not the same as what makes you rich. It’s also okay if your life’s purpose change. It is your life, live it to the fullest.