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Last Updated on December 9, 2020

What Is the Purpose of Life and What Should You Live for?

What Is the Purpose of Life and What Should You Live for?

What is the purpose of life?

I want to answer the question by sharing a story about my friend, John.

My best friend John suddenly passed away a few weeks ago. John was a person who lived a purposeful life that was centered on his commitment and love for his family and serving others.

John did not seek out his purpose in life. He didn’t read personal development books on how to find your life purpose, and he never asked the question “What should I live for?” He just knew what gave him joy and that was to serve his family and the people who were in his life.

John was that person that Ralph Emerson was referring to in his quote:

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”

John was a man who showed compassion and kindness and who lived a full life with purpose and commitment. He was not a famous man who had achieved world recognition for his amazing feats. He was simply a good person.

Not all of us are like John who just knew what his purpose in life was and just did it. Some of us need guidance as to how we can start this journey.

In society today, knowing your purpose of life and what you should live for has become the major criteria for measuring how happy your life is. There is a lot of pressure to know your purpose in life, because if you don’t know, then the chances of you living a fulfilling and happy life are nil. This, however, simply isn’t true.

Ralph Waldo Emerson states in his quote that our purpose in life has nothing to do with pursuing happiness but more to do with how well we lived our lives. That is the secret recipe to living a happy and fulfilling life.

So, how do you attain purpose in life? Here are 3 very simple steps to follow in order to attain purpose and fulfilment.

1. Disconnect From Social Media

With social media, we are relentlessly exposed to thousands of people who present a life where they seem to be living incredibly fulfilled and successful lives with purpose.

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It seems to be for many people that figuring out your life purpose today is complicated and a drawn out process that can take forever. This is, in fact, not true at all.

On social media, you only see the fabulous and fun parts of peoples lives; you do not see their true life that can be as challenging and as complicated as yours. No one escapes the realities of life, and it can be harmful to your mental health to believe that they do[1].

If you are comparing your quality of life and your ability to achieve happiness with those people on social media, then you need to stop. If you’re thinking about what is the purpose of life, you need to find your own measures of success as to what a fulfilled happy life means.

Social media will not give you what you are seeking when it comes to finding what it is that will bring joy to your life.

When you are consistently experiencing joy in your life, you are living a purposeful life. Using other people’s experiences of joy on social media is not best way for you to determine your life purpose.

You can learn more about why a social media detox is good for you here.

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2. Ask 3 Key Questions to Define Your Purpose

To start your journey to answering, “What’s the purpose of life?” ask yourself these 3 big questions:

  • What is the legacy that I want to leave behind?
  • What will people say about me when I leave the world?
  • What difference have I made to other people’s lives?

The answers to these 3 questions will help you determine your purpose in life.

Once you have defined these answers, the next step is for you to take action and consistently demonstrate those qualities you believe are important for you to live a life with purpose and joy.

3. Focus on the Specific Actions That Bring You Joy

“You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do” —Patrick Ness

Discovering your purpose in life and what you should live for is the same for everyone in the world. Everyone has the opportunity to live life to the fullest. It is not complex, difficult, or out of your reach.

Acts of kindness, generosity, gratitude, and love are the core actions of living a life with purpose. If you focus on these actions on a daily basis, you will be living your life with purpose. It is at this point that the feelings of happiness fill your life.

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The more you do for others, the happier you will be.

A Word of Warning

While it’s important to consider what is the purpose of life, it’s also important to remember that you won’t find meaning in everything you do every day. When you are living your kind of life with purpose, it does not mean that you will transform into living the life of an angel.

Remember your reality—you will still have your faults, make huge mistakes, fail, and have to navigate your way through the challenges that life throws at you.

However, living a life with purpose and commitment builds your resilience and enables you to deal with life challenges from a place of strength and certainty.

Your power of choice is the only thing that you have that enables you to live a life with purpose and joy. My friend John knew how to use his power of choice to the fullest. He chose to live a life with purpose, and he knew what he had to do to bring joy into his life and to those people he loved.

The journey to knowing your life purpose and living it is within your reach. You are the only person who can do it, and you have control over how you want to live your life.

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More Tips About Finding Meaning in Life

Featured photo credit: Veronica García via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Kathryn Sandford

Career Resilience Coach passionate about supporting others to grow and thrive in a complex world.

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Last Updated on July 21, 2021

20 Invaluable Things Money Can’t Buy

20 Invaluable Things Money Can’t Buy

George Lorimer contends,

“It’s good to have money and all the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things money can’t buy.”

In reality, everyone likes money. It has enough power to determine happy or sad moments for some people. This happens partially because money can trigger your emotions. However, there are many invaluable things money can’t buy.

Money will allow you to experience the luxury of things like a Tesla, an estate, or first-class tickets to anywhere in the world. But, money cannot buy you everything. There are aspects of your life, yourself, relationships, and encounters that forever will be priceless.

So, what are 20 invaluable things money can’t buy?

1. Love

You must have seen this one coming because of how much it is preached throughout life.

Love is a genuine action with beautiful emotions that develops between people who know each other to an extent.

People fall in “love” for different reasons. Love is unconditional and keeps people in connection with each other.

Money may earn you attraction and attention, but love? Not at all.

2. True Friends

Everyone likes to have money because there’s almost no way to survive if we didn’t have a cent or two. And it’s only normal for people to associate themselves with people who are making efforts to make the money.

But sometimes, people are only attracted to what you have and what you can give; not who you are.

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It works just like love. When your money runs low, true friends should remain.

3. Family

We all know that family consists of a father, mother, and children, so let’s consider the individual elements.

A father is only a father as a result of the relationship between him and his child. Can money buy a relationship?

The same concept applies to the mother and child and if a relationship with a father cannot be bought, then neither can one with a mother nor child be bought.

Even if it’s an extended family, you still have to have a relationship with someone who connects you to the other person. It’s not rocket science.

4. Wisdom

Someone defined wisdom as “the mother of knowledge,” and how does one acquire knowledge? He or she receives it from experience.

So, if you cannot buy experience, then you cannot buy knowledge. And if you cannot buy both, then wisdom is definitely out of your league. You have to study, meet people and just experience life to earn it.

5. Happiness

In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt,

“Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.”

    Mrs. Roosevelt even acknowledges things money can’t buy. She emphasizes that money can’t buy happiness.

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    Despite all the money a person may have in the bank, he or she still may not have the happiness that we all crave and deserve. Money cannot afford happiness.

    6. Health

    Money can help us afford the best health care services, but health itself? Not exactly.

    We’ve seen millionaires and billionaires lose their lives to a range of diseases that all their money put together could not cure.

    The Dalai Lama said,

    “What surprises me most is ‘man’ because he sacrifices his health to make money then he sacrifices his money to recuperate his health.”

      So, besides the fact that it doesn’t buy us health, sometimes the pursuit of it takes good health away from us.

      7. Long life

      During birthdays, we wish people a long, prosperous and healthy life. Money would be the best gift to send to loved ones to buy these things.

      But since you can’t, you wish these individuals the best life has to offer. You may also give them fun and loving experiences without money.

      8. Time

      The universe has been impartial enough to give us all 24 hours to do whatever we want to. But nobody, with all his or her wealth, has been able to purchase an extra hour, not even a second.

      9. Respect

      They say it is reciprocal. In other words, you can only get respect when you give respect and the last time we checked, there was no money for respect.

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      So if you can’t give something in any currency, then you can’t receive it in any currency either.

      10. Character

      Character is the sum of a person’s attitude. Attitude has to do with the way you behave and although money can influence a person’s character, it cannot buy a good one.

      11. Confidence

      Any “confidence” built on money really isn’t confidence. It’s a shade of pride and usually ends in sheer show-off. That, dear friend, is not confidence. Confidence is a quality you build with time.

      12. Beauty

      There are countless beauty products in the market and all of them cost money. These beauty products can only enhance beauty by covering up blemishes and some go as far as altering some features of the body.

      But none has been able to change the natural beauty of anybody. If you consider surgery, then you are still altering the natural features, not changing it. You can’t buy good looks from your mother’s womb. It’s just not possible.

      13. Sense of Humor

      Some individuals are born with the gift to make others laugh. Most of the comedians around became wealthy as a result of their sense of humor.

      The humor did not come after the money. Nobody became funny overnight because of a swell in their bank account.

      14. Trust

      Why do you trust people? Because they’ve proved themselves to be trustworthy by character. Their character earned them that trust.

      15. Talent

      Talent is a natural skill that has to be discovered and honed. Just like beauty and every other thing that comes naturally, talent cannot be purchased.

      16. Purpose

      People attend conferences and seminars to help them discover their purpose in life. These conferences may be free or paid but the money did not buy them the purpose.

      They already had the purpose way before realizing that they needed to find it. Lots of poor people discovered their purpose and leveraged it to become rich. This goes on to illustrate that money can come as a result of finding purpose but it cannot get you the purpose.

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      17. Satisfaction

      If there’s one thing that money can never buy, it is satisfaction. Even if money finds a way to get any of the other items on this list, it can never afford satisfaction. Money increases our desire for more money. The more the money, the more the hunger.

      18. Empathy

      Never have we ever heard of a man who bought the ability to empathize and never would we ever because empathy is a feeling. Feelings cannot be bought.

      19. Peace

      Why do people employ sophisticated security systems? Because they want to have peace when they go to bed but even with all of that, peace has never been received in exchange for money. It comes as a result of a clear conscience and a good heart.

      Ironically, money may bring enemies which would end up disrupting your peace.

      20. A Good Name

      A proverb says “a good name is better than silver.” This is like comparing two different things: a name and silver (which could be referred to as money).

      What is a “name?” It is a form of identity and how is it received? Your way of life and character helps people to receive you.

      Conclusion

        Overall, these things are invaluable and confidently show that money can’t buy everything.

        While this is the case, money is necessary, so don’t quit your job just because it can’t buy you happiness. And do spend your money and time wisely.

        Also, go out of your way to make people happy. Their money can’t provide this needed emotion. Do not lose or mismanage your health trying to get money.

        More About Happiness

        Featured photo credit: Yingchou Han via unsplash.com

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