What is the purpose of life?
The purpose of life or the truth of your life is akin to finding your voice and being alive one more time; it’s like being born again. Without fail, every happy and successful person has a sense of individual purpose, almost a passion. Often, it’s not even a grand plan or a gigantic goal; it is merely something they love doing.
And it doesn’t have to be something grand that impacts the entire world. In fact, it rarely is.
How to find your purpose in life?
If you want the answer to this question, it’s rather simple: Care about something.
“A person’s life can be meaningful only if he or she cares fairly deeply about some things, only if he or she is gripped, excited, interested, engaged.” ~ Susan Wolf,Meaning in Life and Why it Matters.
One good way to find your passion is to see what excited you when you were a child.
In a nutshell, to find your purpose in life:
- Care about something.
- If you don’t know what you care about, then find out.
- One method is to try whatever you can. You just never know what may catch your fancy.
- Find a mentor and hang out with the right people.
- The more deeply you care about something, the greater love you’ll discover for your purpose.
Even if and when we find our purpose, it may not be enjoyable all the time, and surely not at the beginning, but the rewards are immense. Whether you found a purpose or not, Om Swami expounds on purpose and the pursuit of a purposeful life in great detail in these two clips.
Om Swami says some people may be lucky that they find their purpose early in their lives. Confusion arises when you know more than one way and when one doesn’t follow any path with sincerity. Watch this video to understand finding purpose of life.
Three golden questions to find your purpose
If you wish to live your ideal life, first devote every ounce of energy and enthusiasm to your present one. When you are ready to find out what you care about, ask yourself the following questions, and before long, you’ll know your purpose in life:
- What would you do with your time if you did not have to worry about money?
- What kind of work would you want to do?
- What cause would you serve?
Through these three questions, originally from Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie, the first one will help you find your heart’s treasure, and the rest will give you profound insight.
Purpose of Life and Passion
Although the terms passion and purpose have different meanings, ultimately, they are interlinked. If we are not sure about our purpose yet, the next best thing we can do is to find our passion. As we persist with a cause or an activity that we are passionate about, our sense of fulfillment increases, and gradually, this pursuit becomes our life purpose.
We allow this passion to infiltrate every aspect of our lives, which means that pursuing a purpose that is bigger than ourselves requires an underlying passion. But even if we struggle to find anything we are passionate about, all is not lost.
We can still find activities and hobbies to keep us busy. If we bypass any chance of making the most of our time, then as Om Swami shares, Mother Nature somehow hands us immense responsibility, which may or may not be something we enjoy. To dive deeper watch this video.
Five tips for finding your purpose of life
Once your passion is clear, finding your purpose of life is just a matter of time and dedication. Here are five unique ways to discover your passion:
- Reflect on how you spent most of your free time during your childhood.
- Observe the conversations you enjoy and the content you follow on social media.
- Contemplate the type of books you read and the movies you enjoy.
- Try new hobbies and sign up for activities that you have never tried before.
- Ask your friends what they think your passion could be. Their advice and observation could give you some insight.
- Your favorite childhood hobby can be the biggest clue here. Whatever activities or hobbies a child enjoys ultimately brings meaning and fulfillment to their adult lives.
If, for instance, as a child, your joy was in pretending to be a doctor and caring for people, your purpose is probably related to the cause of caring for people. Although you may not have studied medicine as an adult and only discovered your purpose recently, it’s never too late.
To ignite your passion and pursue your purpose, you can easily start getting involved in activities around care, such as volunteering or spending time with elderly people. The idea is to think back to our hobbies earlier in life as we are all born with certain preferences and inclinations, which grow stronger as we ease through life, and our purpose lies in the details.
We can either find our purpose, uncover our purpose or assign a purpose to our lives. While some people decide on their purpose earlier in life, most people find their purpose of life after trial and error over a few decades.
Life purpose examples
- Malala Yousoufzai, the Nobel Prize winner at 17 years old, took her purpose to increase girls’ access to education and stood by her decision despite being shot by the Taliban.
- Albert Einstein’s life purpose would have been his contribution to Science.
- Alok Sagar, an admirable man with a Ph.D. from Houston University, Texas, left his teaching career behind to pursue his purpose of serving poor tribals in India.
- Jeff Bezos, Amazon’s founder, contemplated how he would feel at age 85 as he reflected on his decision about building an internet company. He asked himself whether he would regret more if he tried and failed or would feel worse for not having tried. Given his success, I guess we all know what his decision was.
Although these are all grand purposes, and there are countless such examples, most of us lead a normal life, and it’s wise to appreciate the fulfillment we can find in any purpose, however simple it may be. Here are some common examples of one’s purpose, and although the list is not exhaustive, it can help us enquire within:
- Building a loving and fulfilled family.
- Changing the status quo in any field of your choice.
- Bringing a change in the education system, one child at a time.
- Creating a sense of belonging amongst people of a community.
- Raising awareness for any cause dear to us.
- Activists to help combat climate change.
- Making education accessible to every child.
- Playing a pro-level sport helps you and others, too, as it provides them with a hobby, and they can invest their energy in something they love.
- Creating crafts to bring joy into many homes.
- Supporting and advising the vulnerable.
Living with a purpose
An open mind is paramount when we decide to live with a purpose. Firstly, it’s essential to understand that it will not always be enjoyable. Once you discover your purpose and persist with it for long enough, the most miraculous thing happens — it stops being an activity and becomes a state of mind; instead, a blissful emotional and mental state.
If you’re wondering what to do with your life, you can take the suggestions of others on board, but ultimately, an individual passion is what you need to discover on your own. It’s a private matter, an intimate affair. It’s your business alone. Your fulfillment is going to come from pursuing what matters to you. So, what does matter to you? Do you know?
Find that out, then just stay true to your purpose. When we are honest with ourselves, when we stay the course, patiently chiseling away, with persistence and discipline, Nature reciprocates without fail. Whether you are trading stocks, seeking truth, driving Ferraris, or flying daggers, so long as you love what you do, you will experience joy.
Research suggests that reflecting on and writing down personal goals is especially important in helping people to find purpose and live a fulfilling life (King and Pennebaker, 1996; King, 2001), and that in general writing sessions longer than 15 min have larger effects (Frattaroli, 2006). Indeed, the research on writing about life goals has been noted by Edwin Locke as a very important future development of goal-setting theory (Locke, 2019). Recent research shows that goals need not be specific, as long as plans are, and that writing about life goals and plans in a structured way is especially effective (Locke and Schippers, 2018; for a review see Morisano et al., 2010; Morisano, 2013; Schippers et al., 2015; Travers et al., 2015). As goal-relevant actions may be encouraged by embodied cognition, and embodied cognition has been related to (dynamic) self-regulation, this may be the process through which written goals lead to action (see Balcetis and Cole, 2009). Specifically, through the link between cognition and behavior, it can be seen as beneficial to write down intended actions as this will lay the path to act out the intended actions.Schippers, M. C., & Ziegler, N. (2018). Life Crafting as a Way to Find Purpose and Meaning in Life. Frontiers in Psychology, 10. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2019.02778
Meaning of Life Philosophy
Life is to be lived, and it can certainly have a meaning, too; although it may not have a universal meaning or purpose applicable to all.
“The meaning of life is the one you deduce from it. Its purpose is the one you assign to it. A doctor’s could be treating patients, a general’s could be protecting the borders and a soldier’s could be combating the enemy. A painter’s could be in art, a musician’s could be in melody just like a mother’s could be in her child. If Buddha’s meaning was in meditation, Einstein’s was in Relativity, Steve Job’s was in Apple. I see little difference.”
Besides, when you are confused about what to do in life, as it has been beautifully put by Om Swami here, know that:
“When your existence helps someone else, in any which way possible, your life could not be more meaningful, it could not be more important, your contribution could not be any greater. Be grateful. Lead a meaningful life. Give and ye shall receive.”
Caring, serving, and allowing our existence to help others gives us a sense of purpose. To stay motivated, we have to have something we care about. No matter where you are on life’s journey, there’s always room for exploration and excitement. Don’t try to solve the puzzle.
Instead, piece together the picture of your beautiful life; the rest will fall into place effortlessly. When you find something that inspires you, life immediately changes from a boring, ever-elusive puzzle to an exciting picture.
Before long, you’ll know your purpose in life, which will lead to a deep sense of fulfillment. When you put your heart, mind, and soul into whatever you undertake, it liberates you. A liberated soul alone walks through the journey of life effortlessly and gracefully.
Purpose of life quotes“Whatever we care deeply about becomes our life’s purpose, its meaning and gives one a sense of direction.” Click To Tweet
“What is that one thing you live for, something which, without, even life isn’t worth it?”
“Your purpose in life doesn’t need to be grand or groundbreaking; it just needs to be something you care about deeply.”
“Your purpose should be bigger than a person. Ideally, it should even be bigger than you. You’ll feel free, worthwhile, and meaningful then.”
“In chasing grandness, we often lose the purpose itself.”
“Once you discover your purpose and you stick at it long enough, eventually, the most miraculous thing happens — it stops being an activity and becomes a state of mind; instead, a blissful emotional and mental state.”
“If you are serious about purpose, start small, like very small, with one person. Do something more than you’ve done before.”
“Don’t wait for your purpose to approach you. It’s like a Nobel prize. You have to earn your purpose.”
“Once you find your purpose, working to fulfill it makes your life worthwhile. It gives you that madness we all need to pull through this world.”
“The meaning of life is leading a meaningful life.”
“Whether one’s purpose is feeding the poor or following the stars, ice hockey or scuba diving, coding software or writing books, dancing or doodling, soccer or stitching, it doesn’t matter. Happy and successful people are passionate about something.”
“If you wish to live your ideal life, first devote every ounce of energy and enthusiasm to your present one. Before long, you’ll know your purpose in life.”
“People with no pastime or purpose feel restless and nugatory after retirement because they don’t have a routine to look forward to.”
“When you find your passion and purpose, the empty feeling stops haunting you.”
“When your existence helps someone else, in any way possible, your life could not be more meaningful; it could not be more important, your contribution could not be any greater.”
“No one is born with a definitive purpose or a passion. Those who are committed to living happily make a conscious attempt to discover it, cultivate it, and protect it.”
“Stay true to your purpose. When we are honest with ourselves, when we stay course, patiently chiseling away, with persistence and discipline, Nature reciprocates without fail.”
“You can take the suggestions of others on board, but ultimately, an individual passion is what you need to discover on your own. It’s a private matter, an intimate affair. It’s your business alone.”
“The discovery of your purpose in life or the truth of your life is akin to finding your voice, being alive one more time; it’s like being born again. Purpose in life gives you direction.”
“To experience fulfillment, our energy must be invested in some creative pursuit.”
“If you keep at what you are passionate about, you will find many willing to be a part of that passion.”
“Whether you are trading stocks or seeking truth, driving Ferraris or flying daggers, so long as you love what you do, you will experience joy.”
“Your fulfillment is going to come from pursuing what matters to you. So, what does matter to you? Do you know?”
“Firstly, anyone’s work is as important as anyone else’s. Secondly, you really do not need to have a lot to be able to give; you just need a heart. That itself will help you lead a meaningful life.”
“One good way to find your passion is to see what excited you when you were a child.”
“For happy and successful people, their passion and their aspirations make them feel wanted; make them feel worthwhile, meaningful, and fulfilled. And when you feel complete within, the external environment matters much less.”
FAQs on the Purpose of life
1. I don’t know what to do with my life. Help!
If you want to own your life, you have to be committed to something. To pull through this life in a manner that gives you joy and peace, you’ve got to care about something. There has to be something you give a damn about. But, what if you don’t have a passion for anything in particular? You can then do the next best thing, that is, at least be committed to something. If you have pledged yourself to something, the rest will follow painlessly. Once you have made the commitment, you don’t necessarily have to like all that comes with it, you just have to keep walking. And you will do that because you have made a promise to yourself. If you don’t give up then soon you will discover that you have come a long way. The thing that was difficult earlier is now a walk in the park.
On the other hand, if you already know that something is really important to you, sleep on it for a while and if you find it still matters just as much, go ahead and make a decision. The outcome may not be what you expect, but at least the regret of not doing it won’t be there. As Om Swami further shares in a discourse on how to live a purposeful life, one must take charge and start doing things, otherwise only regrets will remain. He says, one should not keep living the same way day after day, for then there will be no change whatsoever. They should strive for something meaningful and worthwhile which can add value to their lives.
2. What should I do for a living?
Everyone is born with some talent. It generally happens to be in the field one is passionate about or love. For most though, unfortunately, their talents remain hidden, unused. If you absolutely love to do something, you automatically excel in it. As you succeed, your motivation to do more and to do better builds on its own. Whatever effort you put into anything, never goes to waste. Skills in one area can offer you benefits in another, however unrelated those two fields may be.
When you are clear about what you really want from your life and commit to a discipline of conduct and action towards it, the Providence arranges for “coincidences”, it puts you in the right place at the right time. And sometimes success hugely lies in being decisive about what we wish to do.
3. What is the point of life?
Many people contemplate on this question and we may even conclude that life will come to an end, therefore what is the point of living it at all? Well, there is a good point there. We have been given a life, and inevitably it will come to an end at some point. As we go through our life we have two choices – we can either complain and remain miserable throughout the entire duration of our life or we can live these years gifted to us, happily. You may have realised that it is not exactly fun to be miserable. Have you noticed how time comes to a standstill and life seems to dance when we are happy? Everything feels just right. So right, that we wish life would remain like this forever.
When such moments unfold, you probably think to yourself: “This is exactly how life should be! This is how I should feel!” And that’s absolutely right. The point of life is to enjoy it while we are alive and be happy. Believe it or not, it is possible to lead a happy life, in almost any circumstances.
“How can we be happy and make this a meaningful life?”, you may ask. Well, this is exactly why finding your passion and purpose can be fulfilling.
4. What does purpose mean?
Purpose, specifically your life purpose, is merely something you love doing. Passion, purpose and aspirations make you feel wanted, worthwhile, meaningful and fulfilled. And when you feel complete within, the external environment matters much less. Your inner peace and joy flow unimpeded; not because you think you’ll accomplish your goal, but because you have something to look forward to. Hence, if you are wondering what you should do with your life, it is beneficial to discover your purpose, and stand for something. In this discourse about living with a Purpose, Om Swami also elaborates on finding your purpose, and steps someone can take if they are unsure about their purpose.
5. How to live?
Surprisingly, only life can teach us how to live. There is truth behind the popular saying: “Life gives us a test first and then the lesson.” The key to living life is to be flexible. Very often, our aversion to loss, of any kind, and the desire to hold on to people, emotions, wealth and objects, rigidly, become the source of our misery. If one is aware, mindful and content, they can lead a more fulfilling life. Life is lived by taking every situation as an opportunity to grow, and by being in harmony with life. Om Swami further expounds beautifully on the art of living life.
6. How do you find the purpose of life?
No one is born with a definitive purpose or a passion. Those who are committed to living happily, make a conscious attempt to discover it, cultivate it, and protect it. Many join cooking classes, while some learn salsa; many get into meditation while some go rock climbing. Once you undertake an activity, you may discover that it’s not what you wanted, and that’s fine; you won’t know until you do it. In this discourse, Om Swami explains that finding one’s purpose is rarely an eureka moment. In fact, whatever we decide to dedicate our life to becomes our purpose.
7. Why am I here?
We are here because we have success, perseverance and the desire to live ingrained in the very core of our being. How? Well, we are the product of that one sperm cell which was so determined to merge with the egg against millions of others. That’s when our greatness already began.
If we are here breathing and living on this planet, it is because Nature wants us to be here. We have something to offer to the world, and it is only a matter of choosing how we want to live.
And we are here, experiencing our current life because at some point in time, we wished for it and had a desire for this outcome. Indeed, we may find our life hard at times. Yet, most of our challenges and undesirable circumstances are simply consequences which come attached to our fulfilled desire. For instance, you may have always wanted a car, and now you have it. However, the additional costs of petrol and maintenance are inevitable inconveniences which come attached to the fulfilment of having a car.
As Om Swami shares in Heart of Success, when you do anything in life or when you make anything happen, there are five elements in play:
(1) Your approach
(2) Your Competence
(3) Your Resources
(4) Your Efforts
All five elements are required for us to make the most of our time. With destiny only the fifth element, and it means that most of our life, about 80%, is in our hands. We are here because we had and still have desires waiting to be fulfilled. So go ahead, live it up while you are here and always remember that greatness is ingrained in you.
Need help with life? The os.me hotline is here to help.
“Sometimes, all you need to pull through difficulty in life is to have someone hear you out without judging you, someone who can say some words of encouragement and motivation.”
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The os.me helpline may be exactly what you’re looking for. If you have any dilemma with regards to any aspect of life, whether that’s seeking advice about life in general, what to do next, emotional issues, your mental wellbeing, or even spiritual queries, please do not hesitate to send your query to one of the three life guides on os.me. Equipped with experience in different areas, they are readily available and always willing to help in dire situations.
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