Find Life's Purpose
"The purpose of life is a life of purpose." ~ Robert Byrn
Do you know your life’s purpose?
Do you know the aim of your life?
Do you know what are you born to do?
Do you know what you should be doing?
If one does not have any clear definitive answers to above questions then the first step for any living being is to find the purpose of life, before doing anything else. Every day waking up, rushing to work, going through the chores and sleeping is like spinning the wheels, either not going anywhere or even if the movement is there, not knowing where you are going. And you will definitely agree that it does not make sense to go on like this. The situation is life-wasting, meaningless and hopeless. Once you realize that what you are doing is not what you should be doing or what you really want to do, you might panic and to get out of the rut quicker, you might like to press accelerator harder. It is further idiotic to increase the speed when you do not where exactly you are going as this will not only move you further away from your desired destination but also worsen the situation of ever reaching your goal due to the wastage of your finite time, energies and resources.
What is the solution?
The solution is to at the earliest possible zero-in and decide your target destination and to find the right direction to reach there. The key to this solution is to know as much of your self as possible. We need to know who we actually are, what we are made of, what we love, what are we passionate about, what we like as well as what we do not like and what we are not good at. Meditation helps. One of the goal of practising Meditation itself is to be able to clearly see and ultimately find the true self-purpose without any ambiguities or doubts. That happens because through meditation we really connect to real core of us.
Let us clearly define and understand what purpose is and how to find it.
What is a purpose?
Purpose is what makes one alive and not just exist. Purpose makes the morning brighter with a smile on our face, inspires to get us out of bed with the plan of the day, engages our heart and mind during the whole working day, fills us at the end of the day with feeling of satisfaction and fulfilment, and finally rewards us with a peaceful happy deep rejuvenating sleep, a celebration of the meaningful, constructive, creative, progressive and productive fully-lived-day.
Purpose can also be defined, understood and easily remembered by following acronym:
Passion: Identifying your true passion and dedicating your life to it.
Union: When your heart, mind, body & soul works in unity & harmony towards same direction.
Realization: Realization that you are actually doing what you are made for.
Potential: Knowing and achieving your true maximum potential.
Original: Your unique creative original contribution to society which is your real legacy.
Satisfaction: Satisfaction of meaningful living and thus feeling of fulfilment.
Enlightenment: Absolute firm clarity of thoughts, actions, being & living with no confusions.
How do you really find your purpose?
Finding purpose is a combination of Process of Selection (POS) and Process of Elimination (POE). Process of selection is what really ultimately finds you your purpose. Process of elimination helps in reducing the clutter of options and choices, and thus brings much needed clarity and focus in the selection process. If you have multiple interests then you will end up having few choices instead of one single item. Iterate to restrict them to maximum of 3 and then prioritize them in the right order by being totally honest, self-aware, mindful and clear-headed.
Process of Selection (POS):
Below are essential characteristics which must hold true to qualify your interest, liking, desire or passion as purpose. Pick the activity which has the most number of the ingredients if not all.
- Choice: Something you will do or pick if you have only one thing to do, single choice to make, only one activity to pick. You make a selection for the right reasons of fulfilment rather than economic gains, social acceptance, career, job, money or security.
- Most-liked: Something which you like the best to do. Something which ignites your passion. Something which makes you feel excited. Something which makes you feel home.
- Love: Something which is a work of love for you and it doesn’t matter whether that gets converted into money or not. Something which you don’t do just for money. Something which you will do even without getting paid or insignificantly compensated compared to the time and efforts put in.
- Internally-driven: Something which is not driven by external influences such as what others think, say or want. The selection is completely originated from internal, right from your own heart.
- Absorbing: Something which makes you loose the sense of time. Something which occupies you, engages your mind and immerses your soul. Where you go into the zones full of creativity, thoughts, and new ideas.
- Time: Something which you can work long hours without feeling fatigued, stressed, overwhelmed, and without urges for frequent breaks. You can give as much time to the activity as possible provided you don’t have to do the other things.
- Self-sufficient: Something which you don’t need to and don’t have to compete with anyone. Something which is enough by itself and you make that happen without any dependencies. You do it alone even if nobody helps, supports or teams up with you.
- Self-motivated: Something which you do, even if nobody asks you to do. Even if nobody is watching. Something which you do completely willingly. Something which you keep doing and most-likely improving in-spite of criticism, discouragement or rejections.
- Natural: Something which comes naturally to you where you do not need to force your self. Something which flows through and out of you without any conscious thoughts and efforts. Something which is easier for you to do as compared to other things. The same thing might or might not be so much easier to others.
- Fulfilling: Something which makes you feel the most fulfilled. Something which brings maximum meaning-fullness in your life. Something which makes you feel creatively the most satisfied.
- Ever-lasting: Something which you will do when you will retire. Something you always want to do and will do till the very end of your life. The nature of involvement and scope of work might change where later on you might be mentoring rather than actively working hands-on, though still you have connection, affiliation and involvement with the industry.
- Stickiness: Something which you stick to and do not quit or run-away despite of challenges, barriers, problems, oppositions or external pressures. You are willing to do sacrifices. You are willing to pay the price whatever that may be.
- Legacy: Something which becomes your legacy. Something you will like to share, give or teach to next generation. Something which you want others to remember you for, once you are gone.
- Futuristic: Something in which you see progression. You see growth. Something you like to continuously build. You see yourself creating that future which is in your dreams, imagination and visualizations.
Process of Elimination (POE):
You can not have it all. And you can not do them all. For your true purpose you must be willing to do some right sacrifices. Every-one's time is limited. If the time is scattered into too many activities than one will not be able to accomplish the real purpose, as necessary input of sufficient time given will be missing. Therefore it is equally important and critical to eliminate non-true purposes out of the way. You can do elimination mentally simulating by verifying with yard-sticks below or as an extreme worst-case-scenario by actually trying the activities and reaching the first-hand experiential conclusions. Once you achieve and live your main top purpose, you can always come back to other passions as something to do out of sheer interest or any other reasons.
- Stressful: Something which stresses you. Stress builds up when we do things we do not like. How can stress exist if we are doing something which we enjoy? That is pleasant. That is happiness. That is sheer joy. Continue pursuing stressful activity results into unnecessary life-sapping depressions.
- Boring: Something which does not hold your attention for long. The activity is boring for you and the environment in which you are or doing activity is dull for you. Something which ignites no passion, creativity or even interest. You feel relieved being out of such activities and places. This is something you are doing to make the living or have no ambitions, self-esteem, dreams, talents or at least you are completely ignorant of any potential you might have, or you do not know how to find your true purpose and transform your life.
- Externally inspired: Someone else’s success is due to his or her purpose, passion, capabilities and work. That particular thing though good but still might not be your purpose. So it is futile to be just getting influenced, excited or inspired by other’s successes.
- Breaks: If you have issues with continuity, have large breaks, too many and too frequent stops then that means that the activity might not be your true purpose. If something you really like, love or passionate about then you make room for that thing, you find time and you sacrifice other activities in favor of that choice. You do not make excuses, you create ways and make things happen.
- History: Analyse history. Did anyone ever compliment your work on the chosen purpose? Did you win any awards? Did you improve on the activity over the period of time? Did you make attempts to raise your level such as reading books on the topic, going to events, seminars and attending workshops etc? Was the feedback ever positive or encouraging from anyone? For example you are a writer and nobody ever praised your writings then this negative or neutral feedback is worth considering. Only two choices from here you should make, either to stop the activity or to improve further, you must never entertain the third option of remaining the same. If you see the history is really bad with something, then your doubts can be reasonable and you might save time of your life by eliminating that activity rather than investing further time and efforts.
- Failures: If you continuously fail in something that might be a strong indication that the thing you are attempting is probably not for you. This is a little touchy sensitive criteria because culturally we are taught to keep trying, never give up till we become successful etc. Though even if we become successful, we will remain unhappy, mediocre and unfulfilled because we forced ourselves against our true nature and being. So best is to eliminate such activities after reasonable attempts, if you conclude that, the failed enterprise is not at least your true purpose and you can successfully find your real purpose, if you endeavor. If you do not find the main purpose then you can continue trying till you succeed in your chosen field and finally decide after tasting the aftermath of success whether to settle with your choice or to keep looking for your true real purpose.
- No Future: If your passion has very little or no future, then it will make sense to introduce innovation, some fresh thinking and willingness to change. For example, your current purpose is to create a social networking site. Nothing wrong in having such purpose, though in the wake of so many already existing websites, your venture will have no or little future, if it is just another such website and offers or adds nothing new.
After finding the purpose, your life gets an anchor. You are not lost anymore. Whatever you input, it goes into right place and adds overall permanent value. Nothing goes in-vain. Even if you move slower sometimes but at least you move in the right direction and you grow further. If you are not able to make much progress in the direction of your true purpose, then you might be missing some other supporting necessities. For example you might be really good in the area of Arts which is your right purpose also, though you might not be good enough in finance or marketing. You can fix such holes by finding and selecting right people, hence building your winning team.