I hit a wall some time back and asked myself the question. I looked around and wanted to know how people get up in the morning and get going. Are they simply going through the motions or do they know what they want.
To take a leaf of Yoda, if you wanna find your purpose, you need to start by knowing your unique values, strengths, and passions. Understanding will allow you to better position yourself and generally ensure that you have that spring in your step. Here goes.
1. Make your motivations intrinsic.
When it comes up finding purpose in life, society sets us up for failure because it motivates us with extrinsic incentives like fame, wealth, and beauty. Chasing these things are flashy and fun for a short time but ultimately unfulfilling. They’re like drinking salt-water when you’re thirsty.
To remove those “low low” feelings, focus on intrinsic incentives like relationships, contribution, and personal growth. Create a life around them and you’ll be super On Purpose.
“Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.” – Barack Obama
2. Live in integrity with your values.
If you want to stop asking yourself “what is the purpose of life”, you’re gonna need to know what you stand for. I’ve found that the best way to know what you stand for is to get clarity on what it is that you value. What’s important to you? What do you give a shit about? If you were running for the toilet and had no time to think, could you tell me what your top five values are without stopping and soiling yourself?
To help find your values, question things. Try stuff out. Experiment. Do the opposite of what you were told. Step outside of the box. CRACK YOUR COMFORT ZONE! And then *reflect on what’s important to you.* Once you know what’s important to you and the more that you act in accordance with those values, the better you’re gonna feel about yourself.
“If you want to be faithful to someone, start by being faithful to yourself.” – Paulo Coelho
3. Become comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.
Our lives are limited within the confines of our “comfort zone.” When we get out of our comfort zone and become uncomfortable, WE WIN LIFE! The cool thing about comfort zones is that when we step outta them, they grow! That’s right — by being momentarily uncomfortable, we own our fear, and in the future, the things that scared us aren’t so intimidating anymore. If you want to find your purpose, you’re probably going to have to do things that you’ve never done before — and in order to do them, you’re going to need to get outside of your comfort zone.
Feel that discomfort, and despite its presence, go do what you need to do. The more you do that, the less uncomfortable you’ll feel in the future. Make it a game to become comfortable being uncomfortable and you’ll be finding meaning in life much sooner.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela
4. Embark on the Hero’s Journey.
This “Hero’s Journey” is the common thread amongst all great characters (and stories) in life. Your soul is calling to you. It’s tryna tell you that you have a unique path that only you can take. Your mind can rationalize all sorts of award-winning reasons why you shouldn’t take the untraveled trail. But to deny that call from your soul is to deny yourself the life that you deserve to live. It’s the difference between being fully ALIVE and cruising aimlessly on auto-pilot all your life.
In order to create an extraordinary life, you’re going to need to walk away from what you know. You’re going to have to face your fears, improve your conditioning, and create your own unique path. You’re going to feel scared, excited, and alive!
5. Combine your strengths with your passions.
People who are Living On Purpose are continuously using their strengths while doing work that matters to them on a daily basis. Science is suggesting that instead of focusing on your weaknesses, cultivate the crap outta your strengths. This is what will make you extraordinary. Then use your strengths to do things that make you excited and watch a sense of confidence and fulfillment appear within you (and if you mix service to other people in the mix, your purpose will appear before you know it!).
“I do not believe that you should devote overly much effort to correcting your weaknesses. Rather, I believe that the highest success in living and the deepest emotional satisfaction comes from building and using your signature strengths.” – Martin Seligman
6. Avoid the trap of validation.
As a baby, we need love. So from a young age we create images of ourselves, pretending to be what we think other people want us to be. Then we project these images onto our relationships and try our best to actually be the images. But of course, we can’t ever completely conform to someone else’s vision. And this is how inner conflict originates. When people start to feel a discrepancy between the image they’re projecting, and their authentic selves, MAJOR conflict arises within them.
n order to find and live your purpose, you’re gonna need to become indifferent of other people’s opinions of you. This goes for both the good and the bad opinions of other people — they can both be used as forms of validation if unchecked. Here’s a counter-intuitive tidbit of wisdom: The less you look for other people’s approval, the more of it they’ll give to you.
Live long and prosper.