Whether you are at school or at college, or have been drifting around for a few years not knowing what to do with your future, there comes a time when you will need to find a purpose in life. Maybe you’ve completed your studies and have found a great job. Perhaps you’re an older person, who is perfectly satisfied with life. You have your own business, a wonderful family, and a bunch of really special friends.
So you’re happy; but what is your purpose in life right now?
The thing is that many of us don’t in fact have a purpose in life. We simply exist, following a given path that we have accepted as our own. That doesn’t mean you will necessarily be bored or unhappy, or even poor, you just won’t be motivated to improve your life or to do anything particularly purposeful.
Having a purpose in life is, quite simply, having a goal, or goals that you aim to achieve in some sort of timeframe. To quote Napoleon Hill, author of the mind-blowing Think and Grow Rich (first published in 1937), and one of the world’s first hugely successful motivational speakers:
“A goal is a dream with a deadline”.
Examples of goals – which become ones purpose in life – include:
- achieving a specific qualification,
- entering a certain career,
- achieving a particular position within your job,
- starting and succeeding in your own business,
- finding a life partner,
- having a family and being happy,
- earning sufficient money to be comfortable and ensure your children are well educated,
- owning your own home,
- decorating your house beautifully without professional help,
- creating a herb and vegetable garden so that you improve your self sufficiency stakes,
- travelling to other continents,
- being a nicer person than you are right now,
- helping others improve their lives.
There are millions of possibilities.
Just remember that having a purpose in life is more than a bucket list of things you want to do in your life. To have a purpose in life means taking a direction towards a specific destination that you have chosen, and then continuing to follow it until you achieve your goal.
If you’ve achieved everything that YOU want, perhaps it’s time for you to focus on others. Do something for those who have less than you have.
Here’s a lesson: For media mogul and legendary talk show host Oprah Winfrey, goals primarily meant money. Having been born into a life of poverty and abused as a child, she decided she would be a millionaire by the time she was 32. Having achieved this goal, she told the world in 1987 that her purpose in life was now to become the richest black woman in the USA. She achieved this too and was worth more than $1.4-billion by 2006. And she’s achieved a whole lot more, giving back to communities and less fortunate people all over the world – because she can.
Finding a Purpose in Life
If you’ve never considered what your purpose in life will be, it will help to consider yourself in a multi-faceted manner.
- How are you physically? Are you fit and healthy? Is there something you want to do that involves physical training? Physical goals might range from improving your sex life with kegel exercises to running a competitive marathon.
- How is your mental being? I’m not asking if you’re sane or crazy, but rather whether you are stressed or mentally drained. It is very important that you are able to concentrate and focus on your goals if you are to succeed.
- How do you rate emotionally? Here’s where we’re talking about happiness and our relationships with others. You won’t be able to avoid sadness and other so-called negative emotions, but if need be, you can improve your communication skills and concentrate on improving relationships at home, at work and in your social circle.
- How do you rate spiritually? Even if you aren’t a religious person, your spiritual being is important because it includes everything that relates to your soul (or inner being) rather than your mind or body. Are you at peace with yourself? While one spiritual goal might be to attend church regularly, another might be to go to yoga and learn to meditate.
The ideal is to combine your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual goals with any other goals you might have. So if, like Oprah, you want to be wealthy, be sure to balance this purpose in life with the other more personal goals that will ensure you are also rich in mind and spirit.
Why it is Important to have a Purpose in Life
It may not have occurred to you, but if you don’t have a purpose in life, what’s the point? On the other hand, if you do, and it is a significant and challenging goal, there is no doubt that your life will improve. After all, to be a well-rounded person, it is important to be happy and content.
Sadly, this is not the norm. I read somewhere that only about three percent of Americans set personal goals and then work on them. That’s a scary thought! Of course many more consider what they’d like to do, and a large percentage of these set bucket lists which they vaguely try to fulfill. But that is not having a true purpose in life.
Finding and Setting Goals
To find a purpose in life, you need to analyze yourself and your current achievements. You need to look inside and identify what you like about yourself and your life, and then see how you can improve. But remember, that to set a goal in life, you really need to WANT to achieve it. You need to identify what you want to do, otherwise your goal will already be destined to failure. As the leading life strategists and motivational speakers will tell you, anything you really want and believe in, you CAN achieve. Furthermore, you don’t have to limit your goals; the bigger and better your purpose in life is, and the more you want to achieve it, the more likely you are to do so.
But setting goals is not enough. Once you have identified what your purpose in life is – for now – you need to work out how you’re going to achieve it.
True goals need plans to achieve them, and once you have your plan, you have to work at it to make it happen. Furthermore, because goals are aims, you need the motivation to get there! It is not enough to simply believe that something will happen. YOU have to make it happen.
Just one word of caution: we often have to do things we dislike or would rather not do to achieve our goals and purpose in life. Furthermore with success comes failure, so inevitably you’ll need to overcome disappointments and shortcomings, and soldier on.
How to Achieve your Goals
To put it simply: whatever your purpose in life, you will achieve it one step at a time. It might take you months to get there; it might take you years. But even before you start, you first need to trace the path that you believe will take you to your goal.
If you can’t see this path clearly, find a mentor, or even just a willing friend you can rely on. Don’t ever be afraid to ask other for advice and assistance. And always go the extra mile to help others. Remember the old adage: “What goes around comes around”.
In your quest towards a new purpose in life, you may need to learn new skills. You may also have to muster finances to make each step possible. You may even need to bring other people on board to help you.
In many ways a plan to achieve certain goals is like a business plan. You draw it up as a guideline, and then you review the plan regularly, to see what you have achieved and how you may need to adapt. Be open to opportunity and constantly visualize yourself having achieved your purpose in life.
Take one step at a time, and you will eventually get there. And when you do, be sure to set new goals…
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