photo credit- captured by my amazing friend Gigi Damle, Red Reef Beach, Florida
Determining what our purpose is in life can be one of the hardest questions that we as humans must try to answer. In this article we will be going through a step by step process, exploring your feelings and options, and by the end, you should have a fairly solid tool you can immediately employ in your life, to help give it a meaningful direction!
There are three steps to the process of discovering the purpose of your life:
- Understanding the principle of choice
- Creating your “underlying principle”
- Aligning your life with this underlying principle
Understanding The Principle of Choice
Norman Vincent Peale has this to say about the power of choice. “The greatest power we have is the power of choice. It is an actual fact, that if you have been groping under unhappiness, you can choose to be joyous, instead. And, by effort, lift yourself into joy. If you tend to be fearful, you can overcome that misery by choosing to have courage. The whole trend and the quality of anyone’s life is determined by the choices that are made”.
“Choosing” is the most important activity of your mind, because by making a choice, you are proclaiming your desires to your subconscious mind. Once the subconscious mind gets to know your desires, it is going to do anything to manifest them in your life. The choices you make in your life become your goal. And, if you are sincere in pursuing them, there is no reason why you should not accomplish them.
Indecision, on the other hand, not only creates frustration and anxiety, but can also confuse the subconscious mind about what you want. But it is important that the choices you make are made by you, in accordance with your true desires, purposes and aptitude. A lot of us let others make choices for us or make our choices according to what we think is ‘correct’, even if that means that we go against our wishes. What is right for someone else may not be right for you, and the way to know this is listening to what your heart says.
So, to begin with, make a list of things which interest you; things which you have always enjoyed, which make you feel better, which inspire you to surge ahead, no matter what obstacles you face. Do you like doing something creative, or something artistic? Do you enjoy nature? Do you like the sea? Do you enjoy helping others? Do you get pleasure out of making a difference in other people’s lives?
Whatever it is that interests you, write it down and answer these questions:
- What thing do you love to do?
- What is it that you love in this thing and why?
- How could you do this for money, and make a living out of it?
Creating Your Underlying Principle
The next step is to examine the list you just made and find out if there is any recurring theme. Maybe, it is the contribution that keeps coming up, or an effect to seek or give love, or helping your parents cope with old age. Whatever it is, try to identify the central theme of the things you love to do, and try to put it in a short and precise statement. This will become your ‘Mission Statement’. It may even be a quote by a famous person, or a philosophy that has influenced you. Of course, as you grow personally, this statement could evolve, but its soul will remain the same. Now, write down your Mission Statement.
Aligning Your LIFE With Your Underlying Principle
The final step in this journey is to map your path to your ultimate purpose and to begin implementing changes that help to align your daily life with your underlying purpose. By making these little changes in your lifestyle, you will start to be able to begin living this principle out each and every day. It might take a few days, but by becoming aware and intentional of this underlying principle of your life, you will certainly start to feel the difference in your enthusiasm for life as a whole. If you realize that you love being amidst nature, plan out your holiday accordingly. Maybe an outing with your children could be enough to recoup your energy. If you discover that you enjoy helping those in need, start to look for opportunities to volunteer in your community. On the other hand, you might even want to change your job, or start a new business that is more in line with your mission. So there you have it! By following along with the steps outlined above, you will be on your way to finding and living out your purpose by living “on purpose”. And, as you go through this process, just remember, “You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.” – Steve Maraboli