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Why People Who Have a Life Purpose Have Higher Self-Esteem

Why People Who Have a Life Purpose Have Higher Self-Esteem

Think back to a time when you felt the most lost. More likely than not, you were at a cross-roads, completely unsure of where to turn. Without a sense of direction, you feel stagnant; useless. “What am I even doing here?” You may ask yourself. “And where do I go from here?” No doubt this can be one of the most unsettling sensations that we can hope to experience. This is why those who have an established sense of purpose tend to have higher self-esteem.

As human beings, we desire a sense of purpose.

Some of us are incredibly fortunate in the fact that we discover the purpose of our life’s work very early on. It seems that some people are practically born shredding riffs on a guitar, or deciphering the most complicated of algorithms. But for the rest of us, it’s a bit of a guessing game until we finally find that something that just “clicks.” Until then, we may feel lost or a little bit useless.

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Your purpose does not always have to be your passion.

Sometimes, it’s better off that way. Some lucky people are able to transform their passion into their livelihood,[1] and are able to maintain the aspects that they love about it. But for many that isn’t the case. It can destroy your perception of your passion and make you abandon your pursuit. But you can still build your career on something that you are passionate about, and there is a difference. That difference being that your personal welfare does not hang so vulnerably in the balance.

How to know that you are pursuing your “life’s work”:

  1. It feels more like a hobby than work.
  2. You work is an extension of your beliefs and values.
  3. You are willing to suffer for your work, and use setbacks as motivation.
  4. You lose yourself in the work, often losing sense of time.
  5. You are able to maintain a work/life balance without feeling drained.
  6. The concept of work is never daunting; you look forward to it.
  7. The people closest to you will notice your contentment.
  8. No matter how exhausted you are, you look forward to continuing your work.

Can we exist without a purpose?

Well, technically, yes. But whenever we perform any sort of act, there is an intention behind it. Even if the act is just breathing, the intention is to live. Your purpose does not have to be a lucrative facet. In fact, it could be just the opposite of that. Some people make it a point to be as disconnected and off of the grid as humanly possibly, living a life that is 100% self-sustainable. The end game is not fortune or recognition, it’s complete independence. Now some people have franchised this way of life, generating income based off of their “off the grid blogs” (do I sense a major paradox here?). Just in that one instance, you have two completely different intentions, stemmed from similar life’s-work.

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The point that I’m trying to make here is that…

We all have a purpose. Whether or not that purpose is highly recognized by others is completely irrelevant.

In one of my previous articles, I explored the ideology Stoicism; which is the ancient Greek foundation for a kick-ass work ethic. They believed that no human was complete without their sense of purpose; and once that purpose is discovered; solace is only achieved when you sacrifice yourself to it entirely.

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Finding your sense of purpose.

Many of you may still be thinking that you have no idea what your sense of purpose is. And that’s not your fault. There are many outside influences that have hindered your passions and sense of self. Not to worry. I have a few suggestions that can set you on the path to find yourself:

Take a sabbatical.

Get off of the track that you’ve been on. It’s taking you nowhere and never will until you see the broader picture. Step outside of your comfort zone to really get a sense of who you are. By following the guidelines set forth for you, you are living out someone else’s ideals.

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You need to completely separate yourself from that to discover who you really are. Going on a solo trip might sound terrifying, but it is the best thing anyone could possibly do for themselves. If that is financially out of the picture, then force yourself to do something you would “never” do. Like going out one night on your own; to the movies or a bar or a restaurant. Doing things on your own is empowering in itself.

Revisit your childhood ambitions.

What did you want to be when you “grew up?” (When does that actually happen? I’m still waiting.) Do any of those dreams still resonate with you? Maybe you wanted to be a vet, but the idea of operating on any sort of body is terrifying and nauseating. But you love animals! Check out a local animal sanctuary and volunteer your time. You could just find your calling. And if not, you are that much closer!

Take note as you are trying new things.

Does the idea of taking the plunge to fully pursue this new outlet inspiring? Or is it draining? If you feel yourself withdrawing early on, you need to ask yourself a few things. Are you withdrawing because it is not important enough to you to sacrifice your time and efforts? Are you withdrawing because you are afraid of failure? Or are you afraid of success, because if it works out then you have to make the choice of complete devotion?

Featured photo credit: Stocksnap via stocksnap.io

Reference

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Jenn Beach

Traveling vagabond, writer, & plant-based food enthusiast.

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Published on October 30, 2020

11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

11 Essential Philosophy Books That Will Open Your Mind

There are numerous ways to build your mindset, but none are as profound as reading philosophy books. Through these books, some of the greatest minds around ask questions and delve deep into thought.

While there isn’t always a clear and distinct answer to the many questions of philosophy, the entire field is a gateway to a higher sense of self. It gets you to think about all manner of things.

Below, we cover some of the essential philosophy books that are best for those who are just starting or looking to expand their mind.

How To Choose a Good Philosophy Book

Before getting to this list, we’ve researched ideal philosophy books to help you expand your mind.

We’ve found that the best philosophy books excel in the following criteria:

  • Complexity – Philosophy isn’t a subject that you can’t dive into immediately and understand everything. The books that we selected are great for people making the first leap.
  • Viewpoint – With philosophy, in particular, the author’s views are more important than in your standard book. We want to ensure the viewpoints and thoughts being discussed still hold up to this day.
  • Open-mindedness – Philosophy is all about asking perplexing questions and unraveling the answer. You might not reach a conclusion in the end, but these books are designed to get you to think.
  • Culture – The last criterion is culture. A lot of these books come from early philosophers from centuries ago or possibly from recent years. These philosophy books should paint a picture of the culture.

1. Meditations

    One that you’ll find on many of these types of lists is Meditations and for good reason. It’s the only document of its kind to ever be made. The book focuses on the private thoughts of the world’s most powerful man who advises himself revolving around making good on his responsibilities and the obligations of his position.

    We know enough about Marcus Aurelius to know that he was trained in stoic philosophy and practiced every night on a series of spirituality exercises. These exercises were designed to make him humble, patient, empathetic, generous, and strong in the face of whatever problem he had to face off. And he faced plenty of problems since he was basically the emperor of roughly a third of the planet.

    All of that is poured into this book, and you are bound to remember a line or more that will be applicable in your life. It’s a philosophy book staple.

    Buy Meditations here.

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    2. Letters From a Stoic

      Similar to Marcus Aurelius, Seneca was another powerful man in Rome. He was a brilliant writer at the time and was the kind of guy to give great advice to his most trusted friends. Fortunately, much of his advice comes in letters, and those letters happen to be in this book. The letters themselves provided advice on dealing with grief, wealth, poverty, success, failure, education, and more.

      While Seneca was a stoic, he has a more practical approach and has borrowed from other schools of thought for his advice. As he said when he was alive, “I don’t care about the author if the line is good.” Similar to Meditations, there are several brilliant lines and advice that are still relevant to this day.

      Buy “Letters From a Stoic” here.

      3. Nicomachean Ethics

        Aristotle was a famous Greek philosopher at the time with profound knowledge. He’s named after a form of logic as well called Aristotelian logic. Through this book, Aristotle writes about the root of all Aristotelian ethics. In other words, this book contains the moral ideas that form a base for pretty much all of western civilization.

        Buy “Nicomachean Ethics” here.

        4. Beyond Good & Evil

          Friedrich Nietzsche played a big role in the philosophical world. He was one of the leading philosophers of the existential movement, and it all came through this particular book. He is a brilliant mind. However, the issue with a lot of his work is that it’s all written in German.

          Fortunately, this book is one of the slightly more accessible ones since it’s translated. Within the book, he breaks down the paradoxes of conventional understandings of morality. By doing this, he sets the stage for a lot of the 20th-century thought process that followed.

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          Buy “Beyond Good & Evil” here.

          5. Meditations on First Philosophy

            In Meditations on First Philosophy, René Descartes breaks his book down into six meditations. The book takes a journalistic style that is structured much like a six-day course of meditation. On day one, he gives instructions on discarding all belief in things that are not guaranteed. After that, he tries to establish what can be known for sure. Similar to Meditations, this is a staple and influential philosophical text that you can pick up.

            Buy “Meditations on First Philosophy” here.

            6. Ethics

              Written by Benedict de Spinoza, this came at a time during the Age of Enlightenment. Enlightenment was a movement that dominated the world of ideas in Europe during the 17th and 18th centuries and with that, many schools of thought emerged and were presented through books.

              Out of the many influential philosophy books published back then, Ethics dominated during this period as it discussed the basis of rationalism. Even though we’ve developed further beyond that, Ethics can introduce new ways of thinking from this particular school of thought.

              Buy “Ethics” here.

              7. Critique of Pure Reason

                Immanuel Kant is another great philosopher who brought together two of history’s biggest opposing schools of thought into a single book. Those schools being rational thought and empirical experiential knowledge—knowledge gained through experience.

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                In Critique of Pure Reason, Kant explores human reason and then works to establish its illusions and get down to core constituents. Overall, you can learn more about human behavior and thought processes and thus, open your mind more to how you think and process everything around you.

                Buy “Critique of Pure Reason” here.

                8. On the Genealogy of Morals

                  Another piece of work from Nietzsche that is accessible to us is On the Genealogy of Morals. According to Nietzsche, the purpose of this book is to call attention to his previous writings. That said, it does more than that so you don’t need to worry so much about reading his other books.

                  In this book, he expands on the cryptic aphorisms that he brings up in Beyond Good and Evil and offers a discussion or morality in a work that is more accessible than a lot of his previous work.

                  Buy “On the Genealogy of Morals” here.

                  9. Everything Is F*cked

                    The only book on this list that’s been written in the past few years, this book by Mark Manson aims to explain why we all need hope while also accepting that hope can often lead us to ruin too.

                    While many of the books on this list are all practical, this one is the most realistic one since not even the greatest of philosophical minds could predict things like technology, Twitter, and how our political world has shaped.

                    Manson delivers a profound book that taps into the minds of our ancestral philosophers, such as Plato, Nietzsche, and Tom Waits, and digs deep into various topics and how all of it is connected—religion and politics, our relationship with money, entertainment, and the internet.

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                    Overall, this book serves as a challenge to all of us—a challenge to be more honest with ourselves and connect with the world in a way we’ve never tried before.

                    Buy “Everything Is F*cked” here.

                    10. Reasons and Persons

                      One of the most challenging philosophy books to read on this list, Reasons and Persons will send you on quite the trip. Through a lot of painstaking logic, Derek Parfit shows us some unique perspectives on self-interest, personhood, and whether our actions are good or evil.

                      Considered by many to be an important psychological text around the 20th century, the arguments made about those topics will open your mind to a brand new way of thinking.

                      Buy “Reasons and Persons” here.

                      11. The Republic of Plato

                        Written by Plato himself, this book is the origin of political science and offers a brilliant critique of government. As you would expect, the critique is still important today. If you’re looking to understand the inner thoughts of Plato, this is one of the best books around.

                        Buy “The Republic of Plato” here.

                        Final Thoughts

                        Philosophy books take a while to digest as they provide profound knowledge and leave you with many questions. With many of these philosophy books, you need to take your time with them, and you might have to read through them a few times as well. And with every read, your mind will only expand.

                        More Books to Open Your Mind

                        Featured photo credit: Laura Chouette via unsplash.com

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