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Last Updated on December 1, 2020

How to Effectively Find Your Life’s Purpose

How to Effectively Find Your Life’s Purpose

We’re all stuck in a vicious cycle of living life without ever focusing on our life’s purpose. We’re always in search of ways to improve the quality of the few decades that we have to live in this world.

What if I told you that you’ve been looking in the wrong place this entire time?

There’s more to life than the daily grind. Yet, we’re so involved in the mainstream route of living that we forget to ever look past it.

It’s usually when people have lived their first 3 decades of life and fulfilled the usual “requirements” of their society that they begin to feel the emptiness. Well, you’ve had your education, built a career, got married, started a family, but now what? What’s the purpose of it all?

If the dilemma has hit you hard, you’ve come to the right place. Grab a glass of water, take a deep breath, and read through this article with attention.

Understanding Life’s Purpose

To understand YOUR life’s purpose, you need to first understand what life’s purpose is.

Be very clear on one thing:

Life’s purpose isn’t a clear cut given instruction manual that you’re going to find in a treasure hunt. It isn’t a universal truth that applies to everyone.

Everybody’s life has a different meaning. In fact, even one human’s life purpose evolves with time. Maybe when you’ve reached one stepping stone, it will lead you to another, and this way your goal and aim keeps changing with time.

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So, if you’re expecting to find a long explanation of what exactly you should be doing in life, you need to shift your mindset. You have to let your unconscious mind take the lead. Let it give you a push in the right direction so that you can then make conscious efforts to fulfill your purpose.

With that being said, you shouldn’t shy away from making all possible efforts to figure out why you were born into this world. It’s never too late to understand the meaning of life.

What’s even better is that you don’t have to go far to get your answers. You don’t need to read through a hundred inspirational books or listen to spiritual lectures (unless you want to).

The answer is within you.

All you have to do is answer some simple questions about yourself. Pay attention to what your mind, heart, and body are trying to communicate. This simple effort can help you find the purpose that you’re looking for.

What Makes You Look for a Life Purpose?

You didn’t just click on this post aimlessly. You were intrigued. Your interest has kept you reading this far. So you can’t say it was a coincidence or a meaningless read.

You could’ve been living your normal life reading or listening to something else. But what made you want to know more about your life’s purpose? What triggered your mind to pay attention to this issue?

On the surface, the click on this post was a random act. But that’s not actually how your mind works. Sit down and think about the trail that led you to this point.

Go through all the events, occasions, talks, thoughts, and occurrences that made you think about the meaning of life, even for a split second. You’ll have to think hard, of course, but once a trail starts developing in your head, you’ll find the connection yourself.

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Even if you think this was the first time you thought about this issue, maybe it is your mental state that encouraged you to find out more.

When you start pushing your brain to think in this direction, not only will you be able to find the required links, but you’ll also gradually start to make meaning out of these connections. This is going to serve as the biggest anchor point for you to find the final answer.

What Are You Most Passionate About?

Everybody is passionate about something in life. Find out what this thing is for you.

This isn’t hard to do at all. You just have to notice the things that you always look forward to. For example, if you’re always excited about the annual family trip, your passion can be traveling or your relationship with your family.

Pay attention to figure out why you’re passionate about these things.

What Do You Want to be Most Passionate About?

You may or may not have a passion in life already. Regardless, there is always something that you wish you could spend more time doing.

Think about what things you want to be more eager about. Your life’s purpose is hidden somewhere in these things[1].

What Drains You?

It’s time to focus on some negatives now. What you need to focus on here are the things that exhaust you physically or mentally. They don’t necessarily have to be chores or tasks that you dislike. You may enjoy them, but, as a result, you feel drained. Due to this final feeling of an extreme low, the small amount of happiness you felt doing the task is overridden.

These low-lows are not just any lows. Everyone goes through ups and downs. Either of these feelings fades with time. However, the low-lows seem to take away all your energy and motivation.

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This category can include work tasks, house chores, certain people, and pretty much anything else. Once you can put your finger on such draining parts of your life, it’s time to move far away from them. This sense of tiredness that you feel is a sign from your body, mind, and heart that this isn’t the right thing for you.

What Does Your Heart Agree to Do?

You’re not looking for the opposite of low-lows here. This question connects to your beliefs, values, and morals.

We’ve all been brought up with certain values that stick with us for life. Despite being deeply rooted in our lives, some of them just feel wrong.

First of all, keep in mind that it’s okay if you’ve been doing something “wrong” your entire life. What matters is that you fix it when you learn the mistake.

So, start keeping track of all the things that your heart disagrees with. Alongside that, take notice of the things that you feel are right. You can even create a list in the long run. Do some points seem to be shifting categories? Are their certain points that you feel very strongly about?

Once again, these are signs from your heart and mind that you’ll have to find the meaning of.

What Are the Things You Think About the Most?

Things that are always on your mind definitely have a purpose. Make it a habit to note down your concerns and thoughts every day so that you can look back on them to find a pattern.

If you can’t seem to put your finger on what exactly has been going through your mind, there’s a simple trick to help you here.

Open your Twitter or any other social media that you use the most. Look through what you’ve posted[2].

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Try to recall what was going through your head that made you post everything that you have. Where did you get the inspiration to write the caption that you chose? Look through the comments to remember what and how you felt regarding the response that you received.

Throwback Time

When you’re finding answers to all the aforementioned questions, don’t forget to look back on the life that you’ve lived. You’ll always find a hidden connection between your passions, low-lows, and everything else with your past.

Involve your parents and other family members to hear stories of your past to learn more about yourself. Weigh your existing feelings with your past to find out how you’ve grown emotionally.

How to Utilize This Information to Find Your Life’s Purpose

Once you’ve gathered all the information from the answers to these questions, it will all start to make sense.

Of course, the things that you’re passionate about, that your heart agrees with, and that you find a recurring pattern of are related to your life’s purpose. Similarly, the opposites are what drive you away from the path that you’re meant to be on.

You may not find crystal clear answers, and that’s completely okay. As long as your brain is triggered to think in a certain direction, an explicit answer isn’t necessary.

Just make sure to collect all the information for however many weeks or months it requires. In the end, you’ll be able to put two and two together yourself.

The Bottom Line

At the end of the day, nobody in this world can tell you what the purpose of your life is. You should never let anyone define it for you either.

Yes, it’s time-consuming and will definitely take some deep thinking. But in the end, when you feel complete and at peace with the right answers by your side, it will all be worth it!

More Tips on Finding Your Life’s Purpose

Featured photo credit: Sam Headland via unsplash.com

Reference

More by this author

Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on April 14, 2021

How to Find Your Core Values to Live a Fulfilling Life

How to Find Your Core Values to Live a Fulfilling Life

Everyone has things that are important to them. It can be getting in that morning coffee, going for a run after work, spending time with friends and family, or volunteering. The things that are important to you can give you a clue as to what your core values are in life.

This is important, as, according to The Atlantic, 7 out of 10 Americans say people’s values have been getting worse in America over the past decade.[1]

Let’s first define core values and then dive into discovering what yours are.

What Are Core Values?

Your core values are a testament to your true self because they are what matters most to you when it comes to your personal and professional life. Your values influence that little voice in your head that tells you whether or not to care about something and how you should prioritize your time.

Your values are the things that you believe are important in the way you live and work.[2] They help determine what you truly want out of life while simultaneously acting as the measuring stick you use to tell if you’re satisfied with your current situation and living in a meaningful way. Core values define who we are while helping us find our purpose.

Here are a few good examples of values:[3]

  • Reliability
  • Loyal
  • Committed
  • Teamwork
  • Caring
  • Adventurous
  • Listening
  • Diversity
  • Humility

Some of these values are instilled in you from childhood. They can be cultural or learned through watching your family and hearing their discussions about things they’re passionate about.

Perhaps now, in adulthood, you realize you’re passionate about those same things. It’s not a bad thing to share core values with those around you, but it can be detrimental to live a life that doesn’t honor those core values once you’ve identified them.

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How Core Values Affect Our Daily Decisions

We make decisions based on our values every day, but we sometimes forget about the important decisions we face, big and small, and the potential stress those choices can create.

When you can identify your values and make choices that align with them, life suddenly becomes a little easier. But when you’re running on autopilot and not allowing your values to coincide with your choices, you can find yourself becoming incredibly unhappy, and maybe you don’t know why.

Discovering your core values don’t help with huge aspects alone; they impact seemingly small things, too. Think back to that new phone you bought that you didn’t really need. You decided that spending money wisely was not valuable to you, but is that truly how you feel?

Now it’s the end of the month and bills are due. Perhaps it would be really helpful to have that money back, so it has created stress. That disconnect stems from living a life that doesn’t correlate with your core values.

When you begin to make those choices that seem small at the time knowing what you find valuable, you begin to feel less stress in other aspects of your life. This has a snowball effect that leads to better choices and prolonged stress-free existence. And the best part is, there’s no hard work needed, just some introspection and self-awareness.

And if simply sitting alone for a few minutes could impact the rest of your life positively, wouldn’t it be worth it? After all, knowing your values helps you make important decisions, like accepting a job, starting a business, or making a big change.

How Do We Find Our Personal Values?

Core values are important to us. By figuring out the things that matter to us most, we can lead a better life.

To get started finding your core values, you can check out Lifehack’s Free Life Assessment, which can help point you to what you believe to be important in life.

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Then, you can try the following two ways to find your personal core values.

Start With Your Morals

Knowing your core values can certainly sync up with your morals, which you likely already have a good handle on. After all, your values have a direct impact on your standards of behavior.

Think about it: if it is morally important to you to arrive at your workplace and focus on nothing but work on company time, it will also be true that being an honest and efficient employee is a value you carry to every job you occupy.

If you’re the kind of partner who puts their phone away when on a date, this probably means you are a morally loyal person and want to ensure your partner knows you value time with them.

This is a strong indication that, as a core value, you put relationships first and work hard to show people you care. You could easily list respect and commitment on your list of core values.

Analyze Your Own Experiences

For instance, think back to a time you were the happiest.

Can you name the thing that caused you to feel happiness? Was the fulfillment you felt due to other people, and if so, who were they?

Think about when you were proud of yourself, and why you felt that pride. Your own experiences can shine a great light on what you hold important.

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Don’t be afraid to look ahead and analyze where you want to challenge the status quo. What values do you want to exemplify to your children?

If you want others to value it, it’s valuable to you.

What Should I Do With My Core Values?

Just sit down and make a list of what comes to mind, and let yourself explore those core value words. There is no set limit on how many values you can have, so allow yourself to list as many as you can.

1. Prioritize Your Values

If you wind up with 20 words, consider crossing out those that barely made the list and prioritize your values.

Personal development blogger Steve Pavlina suggests identifying the top value, then the second-highest value, and so on until you’ve rebuilt the list in order of priority from the top to the bottom.[4]

As you’re trying to prioritize the values, have this question at the back of your mind:

If I have to choose from these, which one goes first, and which one can I live without?

Some of the words may easily float to the top, whereas others might stump you. Allow that to happen, and accept that it aids in teaching you who you are.

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2. Look to Your Values Every Day

Once you’ve determined what your core values are, it’s vital to look to them every day. We all face challenging situations and decisions, and it’s important to know your core values in those instances, as they will help guide you when the best choice isn’t the most obvious one.

Let your core values be valuable to you. Everyone is on their own path, and no one can tell you what your core values are but you.

3. Don’t Be Afraid to Rework Your List in the Future

When you realize your values and begin to live by them, you may find that not all of them are as important as you believed.

Rework your list when the time comes. You’re allowed to consciously change your values as you grow and evolve as a person. In fact, it will be entirely necessary throughout your life.

Final Thoughts

You are not your values. You are the thinker of your thoughts, but you are not the thoughts themselves. Your personal values are your current compass, but they aren’t the real you.

Remember, your important values should aid in creating your best life, and your most authentic self.

You make the rules, so be patient with yourself and dedicate the time to discovering your core values. You’ll be amazed at the things you can accomplish.

More on Discovering Your Personal Values

Featured photo credit: Bewakoof.com Official via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] The Atlantic: 21 Charts That Explain American Values Today
[2] MindTools: What Are Your Values?
[3] ContentSparks: Big List of Core Value Words
[4] Steve Pavlina: Living Your Values Part 1

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