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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

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Kathryn Sandford

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

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Last Updated on January 14, 2021

I Hate My Life: 10 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Hating Life

I Hate My Life: 10 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Hating Life

Hating life is a bit of a misnomer it seems: in the media, in education, in every aspect of our lives, we’re shown visions of a perfect world, one where everyone is happy and life is a decades-long dream. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

Life can and is hard and tough and painful at times. I have first-hand experience of this: Years ago, I was a recent university graduate, unemployed and aimless. All of this was having a knock-on effect on my social and mental wellbeing—I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t seeing my friends as often. I was snappy to family members and I could barely drag myself out of bed in the morning…

That doesn’t mean it can’t change.

Life goes through ebbs and flows all the time and the key to getting through it all without cutting off your social circle and eating your local grocery store out of Ben & Jerry’s, is to cultivate some techniques and methods of going through life with some stability and grace. It’s not a guarantee against life’s hardships but, take the steps you want to use and you won’t hate life.

If you want to stop hating your life and start falling in love with it, take these steps:

1. Get Plenty of Sleep

Seriously, you’re obviously going to be grouchy and more inclined towards the more miserable side, if you’re not getting your recommended seven or more hours of sleep a night.

Start checking in how much you sleep and then start making steps to go to bed earlier and sleep for longer. It might cure every problem but at least you’ll be well-rested and less likely to nap throughout the day. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, try these 10 Best Natural Sleep Aids to Help You Feel Rested

2. Eat Healthily

I have had a real issue with eating healthily for years and it wasn’t until I was hospitalised a few years ago (for a condition unrelated to my eating for the sake of disclosure), that I really started to look at what I ate and how I viewed my body.

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I’m absolutely an advocate of body positivity and loving your body at any size and while I haven’t lost any huge amount of weight, eating a hell of a lot healthier improved my mood and made me feel better.

In short, it’s absolutely okay to have a pizza and a soda as a treat, but just have something healthier tomorrow.

Here’re some inspirations for you: How to Find a Healthy Eating Plan That Actually Works for You

3. Write It All Down

Sometimes the best thing you can do is let it all out. Keeping things that are making you hate life all bottled up is neither helpful to getting out of that cycle nor healthy for your overall wellbeing.

Grab yourself a notebook, a journal, a diary, a bit of paper, whatever, and just start writing down how you feel. As soon as you’ve done that, start thinking about what you could do in theory to stop this from happening or to stop you from feeling like this.

4. Get Some Fresh Air

It’s underrated and we all take it for granted, but really, getting out of your home and going for a walk can be really beneficial. It gets you outside in the (hopefully) sunshine and getting to see the whole of life as you walk around can be really grounding and calming.

Believe me, if you’re stuck inside mulling over on the bad things of your life, grab a pair of sneakers and go for a walk. Plus, it’s free. Can’t say better than that, can you?

5. Get Some Exercise

This is practically a Part II of the previous step, but as someone who used to look at the gym as something people did when they were feeling particularly masochistic, I can actually say I enjoy it now.

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You don’t even have to subscribe to a fancy gym—go for a run around the block with your headphones in or lift some heavy boxes to build up muscle tone.

Bonus: Doing all that heavy lifting of boxes or incorporating exercise into chores will make your house cleaner and look even more awesome, as well as making you look and feel better.

6. Treat Yourself

Hating your life can be exhausting, and I mean that literally. It drains the energy from you until all you want to do is lie in bed with a pint of ice cream and the last five seasons of a TV show on Netflix.

Therefore, a good thing to keep your spirits up can be to treat yourself.

Life is too short, after all, to deny yourself some treats. Go see that movie that looks awesome in the cinema, grab a gelato with a friend, paint your nails, whatever makes you happy, do it. You deserve it.

Here’re more ideas to inspire you: 30 Ways To Treat Yourself No Matter What

7. Cut out Those Negative Triggers

Chances are that if you hate life, something is setting off those triggers in your head. Until you’re able to deal with them without turning all misanthropic, the best thing might be just to get rid of all of those negative triggers.

If you’re suffering from what AllGroanUp refer to as “Obsessive Comparison Disorder” (i.e. obsessively checking out the lifestyles of all your “successful” friends), then stop using Facebook and Twitter as much.

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Social media can be a fantastic way to connect, but it can be also be a toxic environment for neuroses and comparisons to breed.

Trust me, I know. If it sets you off, cut it out.

Here’s How to Quit Social Media for a Happier and More Focused Life.

8. Dance

Yes you can dance. No, really, you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re not some breakdancing dynamo or ballroom extraordinaire, everyone can dance. It’s programmed into the human race, the ultimate expression of emotion.

Dance like no one’s watching, dance like you don’t care. Tap your feet, sway your hips, go as mad or as wild as you want to to your favourite songs. Nothing quite shakes the cobwebs off than losing yourself in rhythm and dance to a song you love.

9. Get Organized

A great way to start moving forward and looking at what you can change in your life to make it better, is to get organized.

Spend a weekend going through your home and clearing the unnecessary stuff out of it. Get rid of the stuff you don’t need or don’t want anymore and start to give everything a space.

It doesn’t have to look like it’s stepped off the pages of Good Housekeeping, but clearing a lot of space and making sure that your home has a bit of harmony can do wonders for your mental wellbeing.

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10. Pay It Forward

Life is a mystery and it can be a minefield to get through. Sometimes you stumble, sometimes you fall. The important part is to pick yourself back up and keep walking forward.

Paying it forward is simply helping others. Charity is something that is often thrown around as an accessory to human behavior—how many celebrities have you read about who have done something heinous, but are defended by the phrase “but [they] do charity work”?

Go volunteer! If you think you’re at breaking point, go help other people.

People in the world out there will be going through the same things that you are going through; and while you might not run into someone who’s going through the exact same circumstances, you will be helping people who need help.

Helping out a soup kitchen, or at a church bake sale, or at a homeless shelter or wherever needs help, can make a huge difference to the lives of those individuals involved. And believe me, it’ll do a hell of a lot for your state of mind .

A great idol of mine, Audrey Hepburn, once stated that we have two hands: one for helping ourselves, and one for helping others. That’s a fantastic sentiment and one I think will help people who hate their live.

If you go and help other people, you’re having such a positive ripple effect on the world that some of it will come back to you one way or another, and it will get better.

More Positive Vibes to Motivate You

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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