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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
More Tips About Finding Meaning in Life
- How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up
- How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person
- How to Live a Meaningful Life: 10 Inspiring Ideas to Find Meaning
Featured photo credit: Veronica García via unsplash.com
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