If you’re like most people, you might not have figured out what you’re supposed to do with your life. What is your purpose?
What is a life purpose anyway? For our purposes, we’re going to define it as something that you love to do that also has a great impact on the world. It’s that sweet spot where you’re having a great time and doing something wonderful for as many people as possible.
Most of us leave our lives up to chance. We slide into a profession that we don’t hate and stay there or in a similar situation until we’re ready to retire. Living your purpose usually requires taking action with the intention of finding it.
There are several ways you can attempt to discover the purpose of your life:
- Describe your ideal day. Project yourself several years into the future and imagine that your life is essentially perfect. What would your life look like? Are you working? What type of work are you doing? What do you do all day? Who is in your life? Now that you know what the end looks like, what can you do today to take the first step in that direction?
- Try austerity: solitude and fasting. Go camping in a remote place or go on a silent retreat. Get alone with nature, and some bare necessities. Use the time not to loaf and sleep (although some rest may be needed) but to become centered, to meditate and journal your thoughts. Sometimes just being cut off from all the “noise” will allow you to hear your inner voice more clearly. Fasting can also take many forms, such as certain foods, media/internet/t.v., or not speaking to anyone and just being alone in a quiet place for a time. Sometimes answers become clear just by cutting away the excess, the unnecessary, the many distractions of life.
- Volunteer. Find an organization in your community that interests you. Doing something worthwhile can be a good way to discover your purpose. Find a place of service in your local church. Become involved at your child’s school or a local charity or political organization. Let your hidden gifts come to light without the need for monetary compensation. What do you do just for the joy of doing? Are you an artist? A musician? An organizer? Do you love taking groups on excursions or preparing meals for people? Plug into what brings you joy to give.
- Assume you can do the impossible. When anything is possible, what would you do? Take action to bring your dreams to life.
- Write. Perhaps the most effective way to discover your life’s purpose is to spend an hour writing. At the top of your paper write, “My life’s purpose.” Now spend the next 60 minutes writing whatever pops into your mind. When you find something that stirs strong positive feelings within you, you’re probably on the right track.
- Do the New Now. We all have at least one activity we’ve been putting off until a more convenient time. Doing something new exposes you to new ideas and thoughts. Now is the time to jump in and get started. You might be surprised what you discover. It doesn’t have to be a huge commitment, but even small steps forward will bring momentum.
- Do something that terrifies you. Skydiving? Public speaking? You might find your life’s purpose during the process of conquering this fear. This can be challenging and it might take some time, but get started today.
- Spend a day being totally inspired. From the time you wake up until the time you go to bed, attempt to spend every moment inspired. Purchase a book you have been wanting to read. Or buy a new CD to enjoy. Spend an afternoon at a museum or the zoo. Sip coffee and journal at an historic hotel or gardens. Get out of your normal routine and branch out. End the day with an inspirational movie to watch. Whatever you can do to maintain an inspired mental state. You’ll believe you can do anything. What would you do?
- Ask yourself what you would do if you had $10 million. How would you spend your time? What would your life look like? Can you figure out a way to make a living doing one of the activities you would be willing to do for free if you had the time? Keep trying the above tips until you’ve found something that really excites you.
When you find your purpose, there will be no doubt. Avoid spending all of your life thinking and planning. Get busy doing. Get busy living. Finding purpose in your life will make life exciting and meaningful!