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Last Updated on January 28, 2021

How to Find a Sense of Purpose to Live a Full Life

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How to Find a Sense of Purpose to Live a Full Life

A satisfactory life is a “full” life. To achieve a full life, you need to have the right sense of purpose. There’s no “one purpose fits all.” You have to first understand the true meaning of having a sense of purpose, its importance, and the way to find it.

What Is a Sense of Purpose?

A sense of purpose is whatever you believe in. It is your driving force, your motivation, and your guiding light to work towards a life that you think will satisfy you.

Your life’s purpose is very closely linked to your sense of purpose. The only difference is that you only have one purpose in your life. But a sense of purpose is different for all aspects of life. Although, they are all aligned.

Your sense of purpose is what pushes you to achieve your goals. It is completely personal to your lifestyle and preferences. It is what keeps you on the right track in all aspects of life. So, a clear purpose will help you plan your career goals effectively. Similarly, a different sense of purpose for your relationships will encourage you to maintain your relationships accordingly.

While keeping things coherent, different purposes in different aspects of life also maintain a clear distinction among them. If you have completely different work ethics than how you plan to be with your family, your defined purposes will help you maintain the line.

Your beliefs and values play a huge role in determining your sense of purpose as well.[1] If you have clear values in the early stages of your life, you might have a clear sense of purpose at a young age. There is no age limit to when you find a purpose. Some people only get to it after most of their life has passed.

How to Find a Sense of Purpose?

To get the most out of your life and increase your potential, you need to start by finding a sense of purpose. It’s a process that is worth every minute you spend looking for it.

You need to start with a general purpose at first. This is a broader sense of direction for your life in general. A life purpose is what you need to define foremost. This will allow you to keep everything else aligned with this broad purpose for coherence in your life.

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For example, if your general life purpose is to be more at peace, you’ll work in each aspect of life to find a calm outcome. You’ll want to have good relations with your family. Career-wise, you’ll want something that promotes your mental health instead of deteriorating it. A steady source of wealth will also be a vital part of your goals and hence, it will translate to your purpose as well.

After that, you tackle all life aspects one by one. Here are the life aspects that you should go through:

  • Physical Health
  • Relationships, Family, and Social Life
  • Work and Career
  • Wealth and Money
  • Spiritual Wellness
  • Mental Strength

In each of these aspects, you need to look beyond what’s apparent. To find the true purpose in each regard, you have to look for the hidden opportunities so that you can identify your true driving force.

After that, you should invest your time and energy in this direction to reap good results. To do so, you can implement the following methods that will ease the whole journey for you.

1. Incorporate the 5 Whys

The 5 whys are a self-interrogatory technique. They play a very effective role when it comes to discovering your sense of purpose. The 5 whys ensure that whatever you end up finalizing is coherent with your intent.

With the help of the 5 whys, you can find all the answers that you’re looking for. The best part is that you’re the only one involved in the process so everything you end up finding out it 100% true to you. This is why it is a great method to use if you want to find a sense of purpose that will stick with you for life.

This technique will get you on track towards the direction where you’ll find your purpose. In fact, this is the step where you’ll do most of the work. The rest of the steps are just ways to strengthen what you’ve got in mind.

2. Listen to Yourself

Your mind is very likely to tell you your purpose on its own. All you’ve got to do is listen to yourself. One easy way to do so is to consciously shift your focus to what’s on your mind.

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Every morning when you wake up, what are the things that you think of first? Similarly, what are the thoughts that go through your mind before you go to sleep? Or when you randomly drift into a thinking spree during work?

All these thoughts are your mind’s way to communicate with you. Find what’s common in them to give yourself a direction to work in.

3. Meditate

Meditation is not only a great way to organize your thoughts, but it is also a source of encouragement for your mind to define a sense of purpose.[2]

Even a 5-minute session squeezed in your morning or evening routine is enough. It gives your mind the space it needs to get your mental processes in order. Once that is done, you’ll find it way easier to understand them. Extracting meaning out of what seemed senseless previously will be a piece of cake with the help of meditation. However, you’ll have to be consistent.

4. Distinguish the Do’s From Don’ts

Sit down and make a list of what you want to do in life versus what you would never want to do. Be as broad or narrow as you want. Pinpoint all the details of everything you want to steer clear from. These are the things your purpose will be far in nature from. On the contrary, your sense of purpose will be closely related to the things that you are naturally inclined towards.

With a picture in mind of the dos and don’ts clarified, it will be easier for your mind to establish an idea that suits your life choices.

Case Study: A Mom Who Has Lost Her Meaning Of Life After Her Sons Have Gone To the College

Melanie is a mom of two. She loves her family. In fact she loves it so much that she actually quit her full time job and dedicated her whole life to her family. She has two lovely sons. Everything seemed to go well until her sons went to the college. She suddenly felt empty as if something was missing in life. Doubting her meaning of life, she started to feel very upset. Her husband couldn’t really understand why she became so emotional, so they argued more often and their relationship suffered. Melanie has thought about picking up her painting hobby and doing something about it. But she also felt that she was too old to do so.

Seeking for help to get unstuck, she took our Life Assessment and this was her result at that time:

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    After taking the Life Assessment, she realized that she had very low score for “Work & Career Prosperity.” It seemed that after her sons going to college, she experienced an Empty Nest Syndrome. To get unstuck from where she was, she had to rediscover her meaning for life.

    She was really eager to change her life, so after taking the Life Assessment, she took a leap of faith and enrolled for Lifehack’s Full Life Framework Course to see what she could do to live a fulffiling life.

    Through the first few sessions, Melanie realized that raising his sons was her only motivation for life over the past 20 years. This was why she doubted her meaning of life when her sons no longer needed her to take care of. She was encouraged to take up painting again to add back spark in her life. So she started to paint at home again. She even joined interest groups to meet more people who shared the same hobby as she did. Of course she still struggled when she just started to take up painting again — everything just didn’t look well on her paintaings. But with the new mindset she developed and the skillsets she learned throughout the Full Life Framework Course (and the support from her new friends), she got over the obstacles one by one.

    I’ve learned that recently, Melanie has even started to teach the kids in her neighborhood to paint! With a more energetic life and a more positive attitude, her relationship with her husband has never been this good as well.

    If you want to find out how well you’re doing with your life too, you can take our Life Assessment for free now!

    How to Strengthen Your Sense of Purpose

    If you follow these steps to find your sense of purpose, it will be strong enough to stay consistent for life. However, there is a chance that while your purpose was clear at first, you’ve been feeling lost now.

    This isn’t something to fret over. The ups and downs in life can shake your circumstances and your purpose too. You can easily re-focus your perspective on your well-defined purpose. You can also find a new purpose that suits your new circumstances.

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    If it happens to be so, don’t feel like you’ve failed in life. It is alright if you lose your emphasis during challenging times.

    Re-Evaluate Your Life

    Start with reminding yourself of the sense of purpose you were following previously. Think about it. Think of how it affected your life and decisions. This isn’t an easy thought process. It will take you days or even weeks to come to a conclusion.

    You’ll have to go through your desired achievements, short-term and long-term goals, and most importantly, your past. Evaluate all these facts of your life.

    Then, question yourself to find out if the same purpose still aligns with your life choices or not.

    If Yes

    If the answer to the question is yes, your sense of purpose is perfectly fine. All that you need is some motivation to put it into practical implementation. You need to remind yourself of all the benefits of having a clear sense of purpose.

    Everything that you achieved because of your sense of purpose, everything that you wish to achieve will serve as your source of motivation. You can also try some other motivation boosting tips to refocus your perspective.

    If No

    If you think your sense of purpose has done you no good or will no longer be of any use, you require a new sense of purpose. This is possible in case you went through major changes in life. Your sense of purpose can also get hazy if you failed to define a strong one initially.

    Final Thoughts

    Having a sense of purpose is a fool-proof way to a fully satisfactory life. It leads to ease in prioritization, strengthens morals and values, aligns all your life goals, and helps you stay focused. The clarity in life is only possible if you have your sense of purpose sorted.

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    So, get on with the process right away. You’ll have a sorted life in no time once you’re done with defining your purposes in all aspects of life!

    More About Finding Your Sense of Purpose

    Featured photo credit: Ilya Shishikhin via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Beyond Blue: Sense of Purpose
    [2] Intentional Insights: Meditating on Purpose

    More by this author

    Leon Ho

    Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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    Last Updated on September 16, 2021

    How to Quit Your Unfulfilling Job and Lead Your Dream Career

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    How to Quit Your Unfulfilling Job and Lead Your Dream Career

    Doesn’t matter whether it’s a 9 to 5 job or you work in shifts; is it a satisfactory job?

    Ain’t you tired of the monotony or should I ask:

    Did you ever feel like quitting your unfulfilling job or changing your unfulfilling career?

    Realizing your materialistic needs is important but do you love your means to earn bread?

    Too many questions… I’m sure you want to answer none.

    But don’t worry, most people are on the same leaky boat!

    Wondering what’s wrong?

    As a teenager, you dream; you aspire. You are exuberant enough to chase those crazy dreams.

    But as you grow older, the zeal seems to fade away. That drop-down in intensity level sets a foundation for a compromise.

    You don’t persist with even one dream.

    What’s worse, you give different names to your choice to back out. You blame people and situations as per your convenience.

    Alas! those vivid dreams lose to your sub-conscious mind.

    But before you get disheartened, here’s an interesting fact:

    The real Col. Sanders was an entrepreneur who didn’t become a professional chef until he was 40, didn’t franchise Kentucky Fried Chicken until he was 62, and didn’t become an icon until after he sold his company at 75.[1]

    So yes, though it’s tough to quit your tiring job; it’s easier than you think.

    And when you have realized your existing job is not leading to happiness, it’s time to change!

    Desperate for super easy solutions?

    Here’s a list of 19 simple actionable steps to quit your unfulfilling job and follow your aspiring career:

    1. Step out of Your Comfort Zone

    One big reason you are compromising today is your repulsion to challenge the boundaries of your comfort zone. You don’t want to raise the bar.

    You move on subconsciously making emotional adjustments and self-harming sacrifices.

    Not anymore; it’s time to challenge it!

    The clock is ticking and you need to flow with time. That is how you welcome the new. It is one of the major steps in breaking the monotony of an unsatisfactory job.

    Not sure about stepping out of your comfort zone still? Read this article: Is It Really Better to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone?

    2. Get Rid of the Memories from Your Existing Job

    Most of the times, it is your past which doesn’t allow you to liberate yourself in the present. Your memories from the current job are dominant over your memories you want to create.

    Come on! You are stronger than you think. You need to detach yourself from those sweet-sour memories. Only then, you could take a big leap towards self-realization.

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    Here’s the deal:

    A beautiful future awaits you where every moment is so blissful you’ll not recall the past to trigger a memory.

    Learn how to let go of the past: 7 Ways To Let Go Of The Past And Live A Happy Life

    3. Listen to Your Gut

    The problem is everyone has access to the locker of your right-wrong beliefs, but not you. You listen to everyone and lose your conscious decision.

    Why don’t you back yourself?

    If you don’t love what you are doing and you want to quit your unfulfilling job, QUIT.

    Why do you restrict yourself?

    Only you have the answers to your uncertainties. Stop seeking answers from others. Ask yourself receptively. You’ll unlock all the mysteries about yourself.

    Here’s some advice for you: How to Listen to Your Inner Voice

    4. Get Excited to Fail

    Sounds silly? It’s not:

    Success is an elusive mask covering many lifeless faces of failures.

    In case you don’t know, if Thomas Edison hadn’t failed, he might not have become America’s most well-known and prolific innovator.[2] And there are even more examples like this: 10 Famous Failures to Success Stories That Will Inspire You to Carry On

    The pursuit of your dream career is full of struggles and failures. And unless you are ready to fail many times, you are ineligible to succeed.

    Only if you settle with your current job which is unsatisfying will you be a real failure. The excitement to fail on the other side is unmatched. Worth a shot!

    5. Disallow Social Environment to Control You

    If there were no cameras, every soul would tell an interesting story.[3]

    I’m sorry but your social environment is bullying you. You have become a puppet to people.

    People define your journeys and destinations, and you are losing big time.

    Wake up call!

    Cut the chord with your social environment which is not only polluting your personal but also your professional environment: Managing Your Social Network Addiction

    6. Do Not over Analyze, Execute

    Intelligent people are particularly prone to the overthinking that can cause analysis paralysis and lead to a failure to make decisions or take action.[4]

    Yes, you are intelligent but you need to be smarter! Never allow your intelligence to become a hindrance in quitting your unfulfilling job.

    Thinking and planning are important aspects of a visionary, but never allow overthinking to take a toll on the execution.

    Take small steps rather than thinking about giant leaps. Divide your goal into small targets; make sure you achieve them.

    Here’s how: Less Thinking, More Doing: Develop the Action Habit Today

    7. Make Your Family a Part of Your Dream

    If you are fortunate enough to live with your family, you owe responsibilities towards them. After all, they are your father, mother, siblings, life-partner.

    Maybe your dream career is something they haven’t heard about, but relax. Don’t expect magic overnight!

    Be courageous enough to make them understand why you want to quit your unsatisfactory job.

    You may fail big time but don’t lose hope. This is the absolute test of your endurance.

    When you convince them, you don’t have to search for a support system in your failures. And a few applauds from them in your small wins keep you up and running.

    8. Spend Time with Like-Minded People

    To challenge the now and dive into the new, I’m afraid you’ll not find many people standing by your side.

    But that’s fine!

    Keep a close watch on people with whom you spend your precious time.

    What you need to ask yourself:

    Are these people your motivators or the ones who constantly try to put you down?

    When you get an answer, trust it and go with the flow. You may lose people but you’ll discover yourself.

    9. Prioritize Inner Happiness over Monetary Happiness

    Possibly, there’s a big fat cheque between your unsatisfactory job and your aspiration. The choice is difficult!

    You’ll agree money is not everything but the first thing to be happy. But if your job is not reviving and is killing your happiness, what are you waiting for?

    Maybe your dream career isn’t as materialistically rich as your current job, but assuredly, it’ll make you spiritually content.

    You have found out what will make you happy, so just go out there and get it: How to Get Motivated and Be Happy Every Day When You Wake Up

    10. Learn to Say No

    ‘No’ is just a two-letter word, ever measured its intensity?

    It is loud enough to make you a warrior. However, we don’t use it often.

    Being on the receiving end of a no can be brutal, but saying yes to everything isn’t going to make up for that.[5]

    Learn this art to quit your unfulfilling job! Not only with others but use it often with yourself. Any denial or a small sacrifice for your own good is a gateway to self-love. It boosts your self-esteem to disallow the negative influences to entice you. You find reasons to listen to yourself.

    Leo Babauta has some suggestions on this: The Gentle Art of Saying No

    11. Accompany Yourself in Your Alone Time

    You encounter many moments in your daily life when there is no one around. What do you do in that alone time?

    Either you retreat to the past or you drive to the future. What you don’t realize is your present requires an introspection.

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    This ignorance is making you incomplete. Neither you are self-aware nor there is a clarity in your thought process.

    The secret is when you spend alone time with yourself, your dream becomes your mission, and the inroads make way for beautiful roads. Your journey doesn’t need a navigator. And your questions have answers.

    Use your alone time to do some self reflection: How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life

    12. Feel Fortunate for the Blessing

    When most of us are fighting for the necessities of survival; you discovered your dream.

    Where most of the people don’t get solitude time, you know what makes you blissful.

    Yes… you are fortunate! How could you dump this wonderful opportunity?

    There are many people who might replace you in your unfulfilling job. But make sure no one replaces you in the work you do the best.

    13. Never Lie to Yourself

    Confidence is imperative but if there is no transparency in your thought process, only confidence is a big disaster.

    Self-acceptance is supreme in pursuance of your dream career.

    You need to acknowledge your current standing and future goals.

    You need to be brutally honest to yourself. Only then, there’s a clarity in your thought process.

    Don’t blindly run towards your dream’s realization; walk on your aspiration-driven path consciously.

    14. Become an Inspiration for Others

    Amidst your uncertainties, someone is closely watching your actions and reactions.

    Maybe your close friend or your younger sibling, there’s someone relating to you. They are curious about your next move.

    But what do they seek from you? They silently urge you to take one brave move to open the floodgate.

    Only you can break the shackles of their boring monotony. Because when you execute, they feel happy and liberated like you.

    You become their unsung hero!

    15. Realize Your Current Job Is Saturating You

    Your current job is unsatisfactory. It cannot get worse. It is tiring and boring, it doesn’t release serotonin anymore.

    And you know it!

    You even know your exploration begins only when you quit your current job. What else can motivate?

    Always remember:

    You may do well in your existing job but you will create wonders on the other side. Go all in!

    16. Segregate Your Dream into a Passionate Movement

    You have a dream career in mind. But to follow it, you are not resilient to do what it takes to reach there.

    You lose hope quickly!

    Look:

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    Neither dreaming is enough nor quitting your existing job is easy.

    Only your passionate will is powerful enough to withstand the test of time. Let that fire burn inside you until your dream coincides with reality.

    17. Pen down the Possible Positives

    It’s super easy! But you are probably wondering:

    How could such a small step be beneficial in quitting my unsatisfactory job?

    Yes, it’s a small step but immensely powerful.

    When you list down how quitting your unfulfilling job is a boon, trusting your decision becomes easier.

    Any apprehensions at any point flush out when you recall those jotted positives of leading a dream career.

    18. Break the Rules

    There is no thumb rule or a particular mantra for success. It’s good to have idols. There’s no harm in following them. But what’s wrong is you compare your journey with them.

    What you don’t realize is that you may share the same goal but the approach has to be different.

    Never kill your originality trying to become like them.

    Define your own journey. Never set a rule or a predefined path for success. Break-free!

    19. Presume the Worst-Case Situation

    Try to question yourself:

    What will happen if you quit your unfulfilling job to lead to your dream career?

    Is it your financial stability or an emotional dependency you are losing on? Whatever it is, imagining the worst-case scenario enables you to loosen up.

    It provokes a nothing-to-lose attitude where there is no fear of anyone and anything. You move forward wholeheartedly with authority and devotion.

    Your self-motivation is at cloud nine; you don’t fear the consequences anymore.

    I hope any of these actionable techniques revive the feel you were about to lose.

    Final Thoughts

    You are a blessed soul who knows a couple of things more than most of the people:

    Your current job is unfulfilling, and that you have a career-oriented dream.

    But knowing about these isn’t enough!

    Set yourself free as an individual and dive into the competition where your only competitor is you.

    Life is too short to regret! Now when you have tasted the feeling of your chips being down, you deserve the magical feel to be on the other side of the table.

    Always remember:

    You are wrong only till the time you are struggling. But if you keep moving and taking those hard punches, one day you’ll realize your dream. With you, people realize everything about you were (and are) right!

    More Useful Career Advice

    Featured photo credit: Leonardo Yip via unsplash.com

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    Reference

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