Sages and famous people down the centuries have also defined and explained purpose in their own words; Frederick Buechner called it ‘The place where your deep gladness meets the world’s needs’, Albert Schweitzer said ‘“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others’.
Online dictionaries define purpose in many ways; including the reason why a certain thing or person was created, an intended or desired result, doing something with determination and many others.
Finally, one of the religious texts tells us that ‘ where there is no vision, the people perish’ which is usually interpreted to mean that having no goals or purpose in life is a sure way to an early grave because you will make wrong choices that result in your wasting your life and possibly even suffering physical consequences from bad decisions.
Fortunately, as another famous person said, ‘it is never too late to be what you might have been’, and you can make the decision today to start living a life of purpose that has a positive impact on the life of others. Below are 5 steps you can take to find your life purpose and ensure that you use your unique gifts and talents to contribute to society.
1. Find out what excites you
If you truly want to find your purpose, you will need to do some deep soul searching in order to discover which aspects of life really excite you and find the things that you would choose to do even if you were not going to earn any money from them.
You can find your interests by looking at the types of books you always purchase, the television programs you are most interested in and especially, the type of websites you visit and bookmark most often.
You could also ask your friends and family to pinpoint the subject matter you discuss the most. The facts from this investigation should reveal what it is you are most interested in and excited about and help you to develop a plan of action to see how you can integrate your interests into activities that bring your closer to your purpose.
For instance, if one of your interests is gardening, and you think your life purpose might be creating beautiful gardens where people might come and commune with nature or heal tired and stressful minds, you can begin to take classes in garden and landscape design to bring you closer to this goal.
2. Think about what you would like to be remembered for
Like it or not, the days are numbered for all of us. One day in the near or far future, your time will be up and it is up to you to decide whether the few or many years you live on this earth count for something, or whether you will be just another person that passed through the earth with little positive impact.
3. Take Action
Once you have discovered your life purpose, it is time to put the metal to the pedal and begin taking part in activities that will bring you closer to accomplishing your goals.
For instance, if you have determined that your purpose is to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged people in third world countries, you could go back to school to study economic, volunteer to work in a poverty eradication program in a poor country, or begin to contribute money monthly to charities that work in this area.
Discovering your purpose is the best way to ensure that your life counts for something because it allows you to use your unique gifts to make a difference in the lives of others. In addition, your talents may lead you to work in a career that you truly enjoy so that you will feel that you not only made a contribution to society at the end of your life, but possibly had the time of your life in the process.
Once you have settled in your mind the kind of contribution you wish to make, you can then harness your talents and energies to take part in activities that will make a difference in your community and even the world at large.
4. Discover your talents
Your talents are the skills and intrinsic giftings you have that separate you from others. Although talents have wrongly been thought of as the sole preserve of child prodigies and scientific geniuses, they are present in each and every person worldwide.
Your talent can be anything that you do well and even better than other people. Whether it is your ability to crochet beautiful accessories in record time, your ear for music, your penchant for working out complex mathematical formulas, or even the ability to put basic food ingredients together in a way that makes people think you learned your skills at a top gastronomical school, every person has something to offer.
Your talents will help you to discover your purpose by showing you what your exact skill is and by helping you to determine the best settings and situations that you would like to apply these abilities.
5. Live your own, personal dreams
Sometimes the process of discovering your purpose is hampered by societal expectations, your parents’ plans for you, and even your own desire to follow the paths your friends and peers are travelling.
However, a thorough soul search, preferably in a quiet place away from well meaning people may be just what you need to discover that you do not really want to be a Wall Street investment professional, but instead prefer to teach junior high and vice versa.
Whatever the case, in order to discover your true purpose, you will need to listen to your inner voice and only consider the voices of others if they are in line with what you wish to achieve with your life.