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Published on July 20, 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 August 6, 2020

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

6 Reasons Why You Should Think Before You Speak

We’ve all done it. That moment when a series of words slithers from your mouth and the instant regret manifests through blushing and profuse apologies. If you could just think before you speak! It doesn’t have to be like this, and with a bit of practice, it’s actually quite easy to prevent.

“Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.” – Napolean Hill

Are we speaking the same language?

My mum recently left me a note thanking me for looking after her dog. She’d signed it with “LOL.” In my world, this means “laugh out loud,” and in her world it means “lots of love.” My kids tell me things are “sick” when they’re good, and ”manck” when they’re bad (when I say “bad,” I don’t mean good!). It’s amazing that we manage to communicate at all.

When speaking, we tend to color our language with words and phrases that have become personal to us, things we’ve picked up from our friends, families and even memes from the internet. These colloquialisms become normal, and we expect the listener (or reader) to understand “what we mean.” If you really want the listener to understand your meaning, try to use words and phrases that they might use.

Am I being lazy?

When you’ve been in a relationship for a while, a strange metamorphosis takes place. People tend to become lazier in the way that they communicate with each other, with less thought for the feelings of their partner. There’s no malice intended; we just reach a “comfort zone” and know that our partners “know what we mean.”

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Here’s an exchange from Psychology Today to demonstrate what I mean:

Early in the relationship:

“Honey, I don’t want you to take this wrong, but I’m noticing that your hair is getting a little thin on top. I know guys are sensitive about losing their hair, but I don’t want someone else to embarrass you without your expecting it.”

When the relationship is established:

“Did you know that you’re losing a lot of hair on the back of your head? You’re combing it funny and it doesn’t help. Wear a baseball cap or something if you feel weird about it. Lots of guys get thin on top. It’s no big deal.”

It’s pretty clear which of these statements is more empathetic and more likely to be received well. Recognizing when we do this can be tricky, but with a little practice it becomes easy.

Have I actually got anything to say?

When I was a kid, my gran used to say to me that if I didn’t have anything good to say, I shouldn’t say anything at all. My gran couldn’t stand gossip, so this makes total sense, but you can take this statement a little further and modify it: “If you don’t have anything to say, then don’t say anything at all.”

A lot of the time, people speak to fill “uncomfortable silences,” or because they believe that saying something, anything, is better than staying quiet. It can even be a cause of anxiety for some people.

When somebody else is speaking, listen. Don’t wait to speak. Listen. Actually hear what that person is saying, think about it, and respond if necessary.

Am I painting an accurate picture?

One of the most common forms of miscommunication is the lack of a “referential index,” a type of generalization that fails to refer to specific nouns. As an example, look at these two simple phrases: “Can you pass me that?” and “Pass me that thing over there!”. How often have you said something similar?

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How is the listener supposed to know what you mean? The person that you’re talking to will start to fill in the gaps with something that may very well be completely different to what you mean. You’re thinking “pass me the salt,” but you get passed the pepper. This can be infuriating for the listener, and more importantly, can create a lack of understanding and ultimately produce conflict.

Before you speak, try to label people, places and objects in a way that it is easy for any listeners to understand.

What words am I using?

It’s well known that our use of nouns and verbs (or lack of them) gives an insight into where we grew up, our education, our thoughts and our feelings.

Less well known is that the use of pronouns offers a critical insight into how we emotionally code our sentences. James Pennebaker’s research in the 1990’s concluded that function words are important keys to someone’s psychological state and reveal much more than content words do.

Starting a sentence with “I think…” demonstrates self-focus rather than empathy with the speaker, whereas asking the speaker to elaborate or quantify what they’re saying clearly shows that you’re listening and have respect even if you disagree.

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Is the map really the territory?

Before speaking, we sometimes construct a scenario that makes us act in a way that isn’t necessarily reflective of the actual situation.

A while ago, John promised to help me out in a big way with a project that I was working on. After an initial meeting and some big promises, we put together a plan and set off on its execution. A week or so went by, and I tried to get a hold of John to see how things were going. After voice mails and emails with no reply and general silence, I tried again a week later and still got no response.

I was frustrated and started to get more than a bit vexed. The project obviously meant more to me than it did to him, and I started to construct all manner of crazy scenarios. I finally got through to John and immediately started a mild rant about making promises you can’t keep. He stopped me in my tracks with the news that his brother had died. If I’d have just thought before I spoke…

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