Having a purpose is a fundamental element of a fulfilling life. Purpose gives meaning to life and gives us a real sense of identity. Purpose is also one of the essentials of success in life. It is the starting point of achievement. The two most important days in life are the day you were born and the day you discover the reason why – Mark Twain.
Many of us look for meaning in our lives as we seek to determine who we are and what we stand for. Every life has a purpose: we each have a calling in life and we search for our purpose to give us direction and to be our North Star. Knowing our purpose means that we will be far more fulfilled, happier, and inspired.
The U2 song title, I Still Haven’t Found What I am Looking For, resonates with many people who continue to search for meaning and purpose in life. Often we can be on the wrong path and often it can take some considerable time to eventually discover our real purpose. We can be blinded by ambition or by unreasonable and unattainable dreams, and life may need to teach us lessons about the real meaning of life.
Some people find purpose in meaningful relationships or by assisting and empowering others. Some may also find purpose in their careers or in their communities or by following a topic or issue for which they have real passion. Knowing your real purpose gives your life stability and enhances your sense of wellbeing.
In our working lives, we are best when we are fulfilled, when we feel that we add value, and make a difference. This is especially true when our personal values are broadly compatible with those of the organisation for which we work. When we work with others, we are part of something bigger which gives shared meaning to what we do. We are motivated, engaged, and fulfilled. We have a real purpose.
Sometimes, we can allow our careers to consume us to an extent that we achieve all meaning and purpose from what we do at work rather than from who we are as real people. We may even take our identity from our job title. Who we are is what we are. Indeed, when meeting new people we are often asked what we do for a living and this accentuates the sense of identity derived from our careers. Upon retirement, however, those of us who align our purpose too much with our careers may hit a crisis point in our lives, because without our working careers life may have far less meaning and far less purpose.
The ending of working careers for those whose identity and purpose were too closely linked to their careers can result in them feeling obsolete and irrelevant. They may feel that they have lost their sense of purpose. Many will have prepared for this profound life change by reinventing themselves with a new purpose, new direction, or even a new career. For those unprepared for such a life change, the challenge will be significantly greater. For all, it will be about finding a new pathway in life that has real meaning, and real purpose, and which continues to promote a passion for life. Happy are those whose purpose have found them – Buddha.
At every stage in our lives, we need to live with purpose. We may find ourselves transitioning to a new reality as we reinvent ourselves and reorientate our direction where we have discovered new purpose and meaning. The one constant in life is change, so we may occasionally need to readjust to a new reality. By maintaining a positive attitude and flexible mindset we can change tack, as required, by clarifying our purpose and setting new goals. Whatever our age or situation we can keep purpose in our lives by maintaining clear focus with a positive can-do attitude.
It is often said that we will always be good at what we like doing. At every stage in life, we should exploit our interests or pursue those interests in which we are passionate. We are all put on earth to be something, to fulfill a purpose. We need to define what we want in life and explore how we can enhance our own lives and the lives of others. When we define or redefine purpose in life we should set goals aligned to our purpose as these give direction and meaning. Living purposefully is important for us all. Where there is no purpose, life can be unfulfilled, and little is achieved. The person without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder – Thomas Carlyle.
Living purposefully is therefore important at every stage of our lives. With a clear sense of purpose, we will live the lives we are meant to live. We will feel fulfilled, inspired and a lot happier. And if you find it difficult to discover your real purpose in life then you could act on the following advice: Giving so that others may be helped is a purpose in life that we should all embrace – Byron Pulsifer.
(Feature photo by Allie Smith on Unsplash).