life purpose

In the grand tapestry of life, there exists a profound question that resonates within each of us: What is our purpose? Why are we here? The pursuit of life purpose is a universal quest that transcends cultural, societal, and individual boundaries. It is a journey of self-discovery, a search for meaning and fulfillment that provides a compass for navigating the vast complexities of existence.

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What is Life Purpose?

The concept of life purpose encompasses the establishment of a comprehensive framework of aspirations – as well as a sense of direction for one’s existence. These aspirations serve as the primary impetus that propels us out of bed each morning – a guiding light that informs our choices and actions, thereby infusing life with meaning.

Often times, we envision our ideal life as a harmonious blend of career success, a loving family, and an extensive social network. However, even when all these factors are seemingly fulfilled, many people still experience a lingering sense of incompleteness – an intangible void that suggests they have yet to discover and fulfill their life’s objectives.

Why is Finding Life Purpose Important?

Living your life to the fullest becomes possible when you know your life purpose.

Jack Canfield & Peter Chee

Discovering life purpose is paramount to achieving a state of contentment and happiness. We become aware of the reason behind everything we do – that we are actively contributing to society in certain ways. This knowledge brings about sense of satisfaction and connection with those around you, making life happier and more meaningful.

In 2010, a study published in the journal Applied Psychology found that people who live with purpose and have a sense of meaning in what they do generally enjoy a longer life expectancy. Another related research has also suggested a strong correlation between finding life purpose and better well being – including but not limited to:

  • Lesser risk of stroke and heart attack.
  • Improved sleep quality.
  • Reduced risk of of dementia/ disabilities.
  • etc.

In 2016, according to the Journal of Research and Personality, the results of another study revealed that people who find purpose in their work generally earn more than those who do not.

Read more: How to Earn Your Life – A Journey of Purpose & Fulfillment

finding life purpose

The significance of discovering life purpose

Each Person’s Life Purpose is Unique to Themselves

For some people, their life goal might be to find a job that is meaningful and satisfying. For others, responsibility with family members/ relatives may come first before others. On the other hand, some are able to realize meaning in life via their spirituality or religious beliefs.

As you may see here, nobody has the same life purpose. Even if you have (seemingly) determined what your ultimate goal is, that one is completely changeable – and will (definitely) change throughout your life, as new priorities and shifts in personal perception arise.

Research by Hill et al (2010) classifies human life purpose into 4 main groups:

  • Prosocial: defined as the desire to help others and influence the social structure.
  • Creative: characterized by an affinity for arts and a constant thirst for new, original things.
  • Financial: involving goals related to earning and success in management.
  • Personal recognition: a deep, burning desire to be recognized and respected by others.

When Should One Reflect on Their Life Purpose?

The idea of finding life purpose may arise at any juncture throughout our existence – particularly during moments of transition or crisis, such as career shifts, educational pursuits, or personal losses.

We can think of human life as a vast and intricate house, comprised of numerous rooms. As we progress through different phases, the confines of our current “room” can become constricting. It is during these times that we find ourselves yearning to expand our living space and explore new avenues.

Venturing into other “rooms” presents us with fresh opportunities, ushering in a shift in our life’s purpose. Concurrently, this process fosters profound transformations on physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual planes, occasionally leading to a period of apparent “chaos” – when we come up with new questions for ourselves.

Herein lies the secret to a fulfilling life: constantly questioning our existence.

Throughout each stage of our lives, we are faced with distinctive inquiries and come across new prospects, all of which offer us the chance to evolve and forge our own extraordinary path.

Life purpose quote by John C Maxwell

Finding Life Purpose – “Easier Said Than Done”

So, what exactly is my purpose in life?

To truly answer this question, one must delve deep into their innermost desires and aspirations. In most instances, the initial response might involve familiar things such as:

  • Success.
  • Being cherished.
  • Making a positive impact on others’ lives.
  • Happiness.
  • Wealth.
  • etc.

At this juncture, some of us may claim, “I want all of them!”. Without pausing to reflect further, we immediately think of a plan to become an influential figure, brimming with success and opulence, capable of leaving an indelible mark on the world.

Such ambitions are undeniably admirable, aren’t they?

Now, envisage this scenario: fast forward 10 years into the future, and you have indeed attained it all -success, riches, and fame. You stand as the esteemed proprietor of a renowned multinational enterprise, admired by people worldwide as the epitome of achievement.

You have accomplished every objective set a decade ago. However, amidst this triumphant tableau, a crucial question arises – Are you truly happy?

To your surprise, you may realize that, in pursuit of your aspirations, you have had to make substantial sacrifices – including:

  • The missed opportunity to find and experience the love of your life.
  • A scarcity of quality time spent with your family.
  • A dearth of social interactions with cherished friends.
  • An absence of a blissful, harmonious family life.
  • etc.

It then dawns upon you – while the goals you initially set were not inherently flawed, they were not your true life purposes. At this juncture, you may discover that what you really want all this time – is simply to cultivate a loving and joyful family.

You see, that is the reason why we must soon strive to find our life purpose and unravel the true essence of our existence – right now!

what is my life purpose

The challenges of unraveling one’s life purpose

What is My Real Life Purpose?

Have you ever pondered the profound question: What is my true purpose in life?

The essence of existence lies in recognizing the unique “gifts” bestowed upon us – our appearance, cognitive faculties, reasoning abilities, communication skills, and more – and leveraging them to make meaningful contributions to the world.

Whether this impact is universally acknowledged is of little importance; what truly matters is that our actions ignite greater joy in the lives of those around us.

The formula for living a purposeful life can be succinctly expressed as G + P + V = P (Gifts + Passions + Values = Purpose).

Richard Leider – Renowned author in the field of Coaching and Mentoring

The equation for life purpose

Obstacles on the Path to Discovering One’s Life Purpose

Numerous factors may impede our journey towards uncovering our true life purpose. Often, we find ourselves ensconced in the comfort of our present circumstances, resistant to change.

Some individuals may appear to have it all – wealth, a loving family, a comfortable home; as a result, they may mistakenly convince themselves that they have already achieved their life goals. Alternatively, the relentless demands of our daily lives can consume all of our time, leaving little room for introspection.

Collectively, two pivotal factors stand out as prominent barriers that hinder many from pursuing their ideals:

  1. Certainty

We all have an need for stability. Our daily routines provide a sense of mental equilibrium, enabling us to navigate life within the confines of our comfort zones. By seeking certainty, we shield ourselves from feelings of anxiety and vulnerability, both mentally and physically.

However, the price we pay for this sense of certainty is the forfeiture of growth opportunities. Our desire for security often leads us to confine ourselves within unsatisfying jobs and unhealthy relationships, effectively barricading our path to discovering life purpose.

  1. Personal prejudice

Preconceived notions and self-limiting beliefs – such as the conviction that we are not worthy of happiness, or that failure is inevitable – give rise to a fear of stepping outside our comfort zones. These biases engender self-destructive behaviors, inhibiting us from embracing the boundless possibilities life has to offer.

It is only when we wholeheartedly believe in the infinite potential that life holds – that we can cultivate the faith necessary to embark on a journey of self-discovery and purpose.

Read more: Choosing Your Life – The Art of Purposeful Living

Questions to Help Unveil Your Passion and Purpose in Life

Harnessing the power of self-inquiry is an invaluable tool on the quest to discover one’s passion and purpose in life. Whether you find yourself yearning for your ideal vocation, contemplating a career transition, or simply desiring to avoid a lifetime of regret and “what ifs,” embarking on an exploration of self through thoughtful questioning is paramount.

Below are 7 pivotal questions to ignite a profound understanding of yourself and your life goals.

questions to help find life purpose

  1. What frogs am I willing to eat?

No meal is free.

There is nothing as a free ride in life – every endeavor demands a certain investment. The question is: What sacrifices are you willing to make? What compromises are you ready to embrace?

The single most crucial factor that determines our ability to persevere and achieve long-term goals lies in our capacity to confront and conquer difficulties along the way.

If you harbor dreams of starting your own business – but are afraid to face failure, your chances of success are limited.

Aspiring to be a professional artist, yet unwilling to endure countless rejections? Then you are bound to be defeated before you even commence.

If your goal is to become an exceptional entrepreneur – and yet cannot tolerate the demands of an 80-hour workweek, then your aspirations may be nothing more than wishful thinking.

Finding purpose in life often necessitates making sacrifices. What unpleasant experiences might you encounter? Can you devote sleepless nights to coding? Can you postpone marriage for a decade? Can you endure repeated ridicule until your dreams materialize?

The secret to the triumph of accomplished individuals lies in their willingness to embrace challenges. The things you love and are willing to do, while others shy away, will become your distinct competitive advantage.

  1. What childhood passions have I lost?

Throughout our journey from childhood to adulthood, we often find ourselves detached from the passions we once held dear. It is the weight of societal expectations and the pursuit of a stable career that extinguishes the fires of our youthful enthusiasm.

Over time, we are taught to engage in only activities that offer tangible benefits, adhering to a commercial mindset that leaves us feeling adrift and unable to define our life’s purpose.

When we were young, some of us might have harbored a hobby of crafting stories. We would eagerly spend hours alone in our rooms, penning tales of aliens, superheroes, and the intricacies of our relationships with friends and family. Our motivation did not stem from a desire for recognition or the need to impress our parents or teachers – but from the simple joy it brought us.

However, as time passed, many of us allowed this beloved pastime to fade away, often without understanding why.

We possess a tendency to let go of what we once loved as children. The pressures imposed by society and our professional lives smother the flames of passion within us.

We are conditioned to believe that we should only pursue activities that offer personal gain. This transactional mindset engenders a sense of confusion and stagnation, leaving many individuals feeling lost in the labyrinth of life.

Now, imagine engaging in a conversation with your younger self.

“Why don’t you write anymore?”

“Because I lack talent. Nobody reads what I write, and writing doesn’t bring me any monetary reward.”

As children, did we ever concern ourselves with such matters?

Did we worry about the number of hits, views, likes, or shares our articles received, or the extent of public appreciation they garnered?

Certainly not. Our only preoccupation back then was the sheer joy of expressing our ideas on the page. That was all that mattered.

It is time to revisit the innocent spirit of our childhood and reclaim the passions that once brought us unadulterated happiness. Let us cast aside the shackles of societal expectations and reconnect with the intrinsic joy of pursuing our true interests.

If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you don’t have to be pushed. The vision pulls you.

Steve Jobs

  1. What can make me forget to eat and sleep?

Let’s cast our mind back and reflect on those times – when we were captivated to the extent of forgetting about eating and sleeping. Take a moment to consider the underlying cognitive patterns behind these activities.

Surely, each of us has at least once felt so deeply engrossed in something – that the concept of time fades into oblivion.

In his youth, Isaac Newton frequently required his mother’s reminders to prevent him from skipping meals – as he would become completely absorbed in his work, losing track of the passing hours.

Many of us are plagued with unhealthy passions – video games serve as a notable example. Nowadays, countless young people spend their entire days engrossed in gaming, neglecting important tasks such as studying, tidying, or engaging in meaningful social interactions.

However, it is crucial to recognize that the allure of video games may not necessarily align with your true life purpose, despite your enjoyment of playing them. Your passion may lie in the desire to excel in something, constantly striving for personal growth.

The game’s elements – graphics, storyline – hold appeal, but they are not what truly captivates you. Instead, it is the competition with other players and the yearning to enhance your skills day by day that fuels your diligent efforts.

Imagine channeling that passion and progressive spirit toward personal development and business pursuits; your life would undoubtedly embark on a new trajectory.

Your personal narrative may differ from the example mentioned above. Your driving force may be a passion for science fiction, teaching, or tackling technical challenges.

Regardless of the specific passion, do not solely focus on the activities that keep you awake at night. Delve deeper into the cognitive principles that underlie these pursuits, extracting valuable insights that can be applied to other facets of life.

finding passion and life purpose

  1. What is stopping me from pursuing my goals?

Stay hungry, stay foolish.

Steve Jobs

The fear of embarrassment is one we must let go of while striving to attain self-visualization. Feeling foolish is an integral part of the journey towards discovering your life’s purpose. The more trepidation an important life decision evokes within you, the more imperative it becomes to confront and address it.

Every talent begins with a humble start. No one excels in any endeavor right from the beginning. If you avoid engaging in activities that might dent your self-esteem, you will inevitably hinder your ability to achieve significant accomplishments.

Take a moment to reflect: Is there something you currently yearn to do or dream about – but haven’t taken action on yet?

Undoubtedly, there is a reason for this hesitation. So, what lies at the core of this inhibition?

If your response stems from the fear of others’ judgment, then you are unjustly inflicting mental anguish upon yourself.

If your rationale is something like, “I can’t invest in a business because I need to prioritize spending time with my children,” or “Indulging in games all day may impact my appreciation for music”, then there is no problem at all.

Yet, if your excuse is rooted in sentiments, like “My parents disapprove of it,” “My friends will ridicule me,” or “Failure will expose me as a fool,” it is likely that you are indeed evading your true life’s purpose.

In truth, it is the significance you attach to it that generates fear within you – not the opinions of your mother or the potential gossip of your friends.

Remarkable achievements are, by their very nature, unique and unconventional. To reach such heights, we must defy the allure of conformity, which can be an intimidating prospect.

Release the fear of humiliation. Embracing moments of feeling foolish is an integral part of the journey towards uncovering your life’s purpose. The more apprehensive you feel when faced with an impactful life decision, the more imperative it becomes to confront and address it head-on.

  1. How am I going to make a difference in this world?

To lead a content and purposeful life, we must align ourselves with values that extend beyond personal joy or gratification.

In today’s world, numerous challenges loom large: a struggling education system, an underdeveloped economy, domestic violence, the dire need for mental health care, pervasive corruption, and a host of social injustices. Identify an issue that resonates deeply with you – and dedicate yourself wholeheartedly to addressing it.

While you may not be capable of single-handedly resolving all of the world’s problems, your contributions and efforts can undoubtedly make a significant impact. It is the profound feeling of being a catalyst for change that serves as the most vital catalyst for happiness and fulfillment.

  1. Where would I go – if I had to leave my house the whole day?

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.

J. R. R. Tolkien

Discovering passion and purpose in life is an exhilarating process of exploration. It is only through firsthand experience that we truly grasp how we feel about a particular activity.

Procrastination often poses as the greatest adversary on the quest to unearth our life goals. We find ourselves caught up in mundane tasks, seeking distractions, and ultimately preventing any meaningful breakthroughs.

What many fail to recognize is that passion is NOT the cause – but the outcome of action.

Embarking on a journey to find our life’s purpose requires experimentation. None of us can accurately gauge our feelings toward an activity – until we actively engage in it.

Now, envision a scenario where you are forced to leave the house for the entirety of the day, except for when you sleep. What would you choose to do in such a situation?

Certainly, aimlessly browsing Facebook at a coffee shop would no longer hold appeal – since it is a routine already embedded in your daily life.

Imagine a world devoid of the Internet, video games, and television – where social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram had yet to shape people’s lives.

Given this context, where would you spend your time, and what activities would consume your day until bedtime? Would you join a dance class, immerse yourself in a book club, pursue higher education, or perhaps invent a groundbreaking irrigation system that could save the lives of countless children in rural areas?

Consider the options available and contemplate how you would allocate your time. Which endeavor would you prioritize above all others?

With the same 24 hours allotted to each of us, we are confronted with a pivotal question:

“What is the most significant contribution we can make with the limited time we possess?”

  1. What would I do – if I had only one year left to live?

Death, despite its uncomfortable nature, serves as a potent catalyst for comprehending the true value of existence. It is only through contemplation of our mortality that we gain insight into what truly matters in life while dismissing the superfluous and inconsequential.

Many of us shy away from discussing death. Yet, it is precisely when we confront this concept that we recognize the imperative of focusing on the essence of our existence and disregarding trivial distractions that waste our precious time.

Reflection upon death unveils profound realizations about your daily actions:

  • What lasting legacy do I desire to leave behind?
  • What impressions will I make upon others – once I am gone?
  • What ideals and virtues do I aspire to have inscribed upon my tombstones?
  • How can I take immediate steps towards manifesting these aspirations?
  • etc.

It is crucial, however, not to merely conjure cliché ideals aimed at impressing others. Feeling lost and devoid of purpose in life often arises from a lack of clarity regarding our own values – and where our true worth resides.

When we remain unaware of our core values, we inadvertently adopt the values of others, living our lives based on their priorities instead of our own. This tendency lies at the root of unhealthy relationships and personal suffering.

Discovering life’s purpose ultimately entails finding something greater than ourselves and the transient aspects of our surroundings – the values that will serve as guiding principles for our priorities and actions. It transcends a mere checklist of accomplishments – and revolves around discerning how to utilize our time wisely.

To embark upon this journey, procrastination must be cast aside, and immediate action must be taken. Allocate time to reflect not only upon your individual self but also expand your thoughts to encompass a world without your presence, envisioning a realm beyond your own existence.

By embracing the profundity of mortality, we unlock the gateway to a life imbued with purpose, authenticity, and an unwavering commitment to what truly matters.

Finding life purpose is finding yourself

The quest for life purpose

Finding Life Purpose is Finding Yourself

Discovering the purpose of life is not a passive endeavor, achieved through idle contemplation from a window’s vantage point. Rather, it requires diligent work and unwavering effort on a daily basis.

The key lies in perpetually engaging in new experiences and ventures. If one has yet to ascertain their life’s purpose, they will never be able to do it – by persistently treading the well-worn path of familiar routines.

It is crucial to recognize that life goals and occupational pursuits are not inherently synonymous. Far too many people aim to seek a job that aligns with their life goals – but only a select few genuinely find their profound purpose within their chosen vocation.

Unearthing one’s life purpose mirrors an intimate journey of self-discovery. It entails understanding who you truly are – as well as identifying the unyielding conviction that propels you forward. It empowers you to embrace a resolute stance, rendering external opinions inconsequential, as you embark on something deeply meaningful and personally significant.

Living with purpose resembles walking an individualized path, occasionally veering off the beaten track to forge your unique way forward. It is precisely the formidable nature of this quest for life’s purpose that can evoke trepidation. Doubt may permeate both external skeptics and your own introspective musings. Yet, amidst this uncertainty, an inner voice resonates, guiding you towards the veracity of your calling.

The pursuit of life’s purpose is an exhilarating odyssey, wherein others may question your choices, and fleeting moments of self-doubt may arise. Nevertheless, deep within the recesses of your being, an unwavering certainty endures, distinguishing truth from falsehood and igniting the unwavering commitment to your destined path.

Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure. 

Paulo Coelho

Finding Life Purpose Quotes

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.

Pablo Picasso

The two most important days in life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.

Mark Twain

If you can’t figure out your purpose, figure out your passion. For your passion will lead you right into your purpose.

T.D. Jakes

You were put on this earth to achieve your greatest self, to live out your purpose, and to do it courageously.

Steve Maraboli

Unveil Your Life’s Purpose with ITD’s Coaching Courses

Are you prepared to embark on a transformative quest to uncover your life purpose? Look no further than ITD World’s world-class coaching courses, meticulously designed to empower individuals to cultivate a profound understanding of self, purpose, and meaningful connections with those around them.

By enrolling in our program, participants will delve into an immersive learning experience, equipping themselves with cutting-edge knowledge and transformative techniques. These invaluable tools are specifically curated to enhance personal growth, fostering an unwavering sense of responsibility, unwavering confidence, adept emotional management, strategic goal setting, and dynamic action planning for unparalleled success.

Within the nurturing environment of our coaching courses, you will unlock the secrets to unlocking your full potential and crafting a life aligned with your authentic purpose. Our expert instructors will guide you through a comprehensive curriculum that nurtures self-reflection, encourages introspection, and provides you with practical strategies to navigate the intricate labyrinth of self-discovery.

Find out more about ITD World’s coaching & professional certification courses here!

Other resources you might be interested in:

ITD Vietnam is part of ITD World – a top ranked provider of Talent & Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, Corporate Training & Consulting services.

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