For many, the ability to live life to the fullest hinges on the ability to find and carry out a purpose. Life becomes more meaningful for many individuals when they discover a purpose in life!
While finding a purpose and fulfilling it shouldn’t be the defining feature of your life, there’s no denying that successfully determining that purpose can be motivational and helpful to you. But that’s easier said than done! To help you out, here are four ways to find your purpose in life.
1. ASK YOURSELF HARD QUESTIONS
Finding a purpose often requires that you truly know yourself on a deeper level. One of the best ways to kick start this is by asking yourself difficult questions and trying to find answers to them. The most soul-searching questions are the ones that few people ever get around to correctly answering, and they’re also the ones that will reveal the most about your purpose. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
· WHAT MOTIVATES ME AND GIVES ME ENERGY?
Passions and desires can be very intrinsically motivational, pushing you to new heights and filling you with energy to perform them. While you need more than pure motivation to stick to your goals, having that motivation and drive from the get-go is a sign of passion and is certainly a leg-up. Think about what things give you energy and motivation – they might be your purpose calling to you.
· WHAT DOES MY INNER CHILD WANT?
Kids are often much more frank and positive about their dreams. They’ll say the craziest things and proudly proclaim the strangest ambitions. While you probably can’t fulfill the more fantastical parts of such childhood dreams, the inner child in you still holds onto those ideas. Try and get in touch with your inner child and ask what they want. Do they want to help people? Perform onstage? Have a hundred friends? How can you fulfill the spirit of these desires? If you’re having trouble, you can ask yourself what things you loved most as a kid and what your ambitions were when you were younger.
· WHO DO I WANT TO BE?
Think about all the people who inspire you and who you’ve looked up to in your life. Think about how you want other people to perceive you and who you want to be to those around you. And, most importantly, think about the person you want to be for yourself. Your purpose may center around these desires!
· WHEN I’M OLD AND GRAY, WHAT DO I WANT TO LOOK BACK ON?
Imagine yourself in your old, retired age. What would you like that future version of you to be proud of? What do you want them to be able to look back on and reminisce? Now, how can you get there? This trick is known as “backward planning” when you start by envisioning your goal and work your way backward to see what steps you have to take. Studies show that this is a great, positive way to follow through with objectives and plan accurately for the desired achievement.
· WHO DO I WANT TO HELP, AND HOW?
Many people find that helping others is a great purpose in life, but it can be a little broad to simply put it that way. Narrow the scope by asking who you specifically want to help, and then ask how you wish to do so. Spending some time volunteering and performing altruistic tasks may help you figure this out, and it’ll even increase your wellbeing, according to research. Not sure if your main goals in life center around helping others? That’s totally valid, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t someone you want to help – just that the person you want to help most is yourself. It would help if you still asked how you want to help yourself in the process.
· IF I COULD DO ANYTHING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
It’s good to keep your thoughts and ideas realistic, but when you need to do a task as momentous as finding a purpose, there’s no harm in dreaming big. Ask yourself: if you could craft the perfect day, what would it be? If money was no object, what would you do? If you got to wake up tomorrow as a completely new person, who would you wake up as? These broad and dramatic questions can help bring to light your passions and the things you genuinely want to do.
2. STEP OUTSIDE YOUR PERSPECTIVES
It’s tough to find a purpose in life when you’re limited by your small area of perspective. The reality is that many people struggle to find a goal because they never expand their horizons far enough to see what will click with them. Don’t let that happen to you!
To find your purpose in life, you need to leave your narrow perspective and seek other paradigms. While you don’t have to agree with every new viewpoint you encounter, you can certainly learn from them and shape your lens through new experiences. Here are some ways to step outside your perspective so you can find your purpose in life:
· TRY NEW THINGS
It can be scary stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying new things in life. But you’re capable of doing it! You don’t need to overwhelm yourself with multiple huge things all at once – do something new every week or so, even if it’s as simple as eating at a new place or listening to a new genre of music. You can “ramp up” the “difficulty” of the challenge of the new things you try as your comfort zone naturally expands.
· TALK TO NEW PEOPLE
The people around you have unique opinions, experiences, and journeys that can provide a fascinating insight into humanity and the world around you. You can listen to all sorts of different occasions if you encourage yourself to strike up conversations with strangers now and then. You may discover something new that sparks your interest!
· ASK FOR AND LISTEN TO FEEDBACK
When you’ve talked to many people, you’ll find a fair few who you can look up to and value the thoughts of, and a lot of them may have found a purpose that you think maybe yours. Ask those people for feedback on your journey, tips to improve, and their stories. You’ll receive a fair bit of criticism and will be able to learn a lot from constructive feedback. Though not all criticism you receive will be ones that suit your needs, you’ll still find a lot that will help you!
3. MAKE SPACE FOR YOURSELF
To find your purpose, you must have space to spread your wings and grow. Without space, you won’t be able to experiment and learn so you can grow into the meaning that you’ve found in life.
People often assume that a purpose comes easily, but although it tends to feel more natural than other endeavors, that doesn’t mean no effort is involved. You’ll still need to grow into that purpose and will have to face challenges and moments of doubt. That’s why this space is so important!
Of course, the term “making space” can refer to many different things – and all of them may be equally important in finding your life’s purpose. Here are some ways to make that space so you can seek that meaning in your life:
· TAKE TIME FOR YOU
Self-care is an integral part of overall wellbeing, and studies sing praises of its many benefits for mental and physical health. Taking time to take care of yourself will help you flourish from a well-being standpoint, and it will also aid in your ability to seek your purpose. When you’re tired and burned out, it’s hard to find things that call to you. You need to have the energy, positive thinking, and motivation necessary to recognize your passions and the things that interest you, and you can’t do that if you haven’t been looking after yourself.
· FIND A COMMUNITY
Support systems of positive people are essential when you’re looking for meaning in life. Being surrounded by negative nancies or people who don’t understand your passions enough to support them in any way can drag you down. Surrounding yourself with a kind, supportive system of people – whether through your friends, colleagues, or a particular group for people who have similar goals to you – can help you to find a space where you fit in. In this space, you can give and receive ideas, help, and encouragement!
· BE FLEXIBLE
Life has a funny way of bringing you to places that you may not have expected. Learning to be flexible with your idea of a purpose in life is essential to going with the flow and accepting the chaos and ever-changing nature of existence. Sometimes, your purpose may be different than you initially thought, and that’s okay! Being too inflexible to adapt can get you stuck in a false purpose that you only like the idea, not the execution of.
4. THINK POSITIVELY
Positive thinking and good thought patterns can be helpful as you seek your purpose in life. Sometimes, it can take a while for that purpose to show up, and in the meantime, you have to continue to enjoy your life as it is. You’ll even find that the more positive thinking you use, your purpose may find you more quickly! Here are some tips for using positive thoughts to find your life’s purpose:
· ACCEPT YOURSELF
You have unique strengths, flaws, quirks, and traits that make you a one-of-a-kind, fantastic human being. While it’s good to improve yourself, it’s also important to accept the person you are. Self-acceptance will allow you to find your purpose in life more easily because you’re in tune with and proud of the person you are!
· HAVE AN ABUNDANCE MINDSET
An abundance mindset means appreciating the here and now, being grateful for what you have, and taking your time in life because you know that success isn’t a race. This method of thinking can have positive effects on the way you view your purpose and your overall journey, as you will be more focused on what you can do now as opposed to where you may end up.
Related: 7 Traits of an Abundance Mindset
· DO WHAT YOU LOVE
Your purpose likely lies in the things that you enjoy. Don’t deprive yourself of the things you love, even if they’re “impractical” in the working world. Keep doing the things that light a fire in your belly, and you’ll be happier and more likely to find a purpose.
FINAL THOUGHTS ON SOME WAYS TO FIND YOUR PURPOSE IN LIFE
Finding a purpose in life can be difficult, but much of it has to do with taking your time. Get to know yourself, explore your interests, foster new perspectives, make new friends, and take good care of yourself, and you’ll find your purpose – or, more likely, it will come and find you!