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Last Updated on December 23, 2021

How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person

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How to Find Purpose in Life and Make Yourself a Better Person

Some mornings, you may feel that there’s something deeper you could be a part of. You feel the pull towards something, but you can’t exactly pin it down—it eludes you and frustrates you. You’re not really sure how to find purpose in life.

You might have heard stories from writers or musicians who have felt their calling their entire lives; the Mozarts of the world who have pursued their passions from the moment they were out of the womb. Deep down you wish you had this “knowing” to pull you forward.

Frankly, you do: all it takes is a little digging to uncover the truth when you start asking how to find my purpose.

Think of uncovering your passion like the work of a master sculptor, slowly chipping away the stone to reveal the masterpiece underneath. Your life’s purpose is this masterpiece, simply lurking beneath the surface, waiting to be released.

Successful people know that the fastest way to learn how to find your purpose is through the art of introspection: diving into the deeper essence of who you are to pull out the pieces to assemble the purpose puzzle.

Think of your life’s purpose as a golden thread; for some, that thread comes in the form of a certain career or profession, while for others it looks like a way of being or expression.

Here are some of the simple steps you’ll need to learn how to find purpose in life.

Why Do You Want To Find Purpose in Life

Ultimately, you’re trying to improve your life and live your purpose. You want more zest, more flavor, more fullness. In the strictest sense, you want to become a better person.

You want to wake up in the morning excited, jumping out of bed with a thirst for life that you haven’t felt since you were a child.

Your purpose can be the driving force behind this. If you feel lost, your sense of purpose can be your connection to something larger, something that will allow you to truly make a difference[1].

    Still, your “why” might be different. Before we even leave the solid ground, you need this as your anchor, just in case things get a little foggy. To find it, just answer this question:

    Why do you want to find your purpose in life?

    Write down or remember whatever comes up. It might be some of the above reasons, or it might be something entirely different. Whatever it is, hold it close.

    The Importance of Finding Your Purpose

    Have you ever woken up in a dark room with no source of light at all? Did you manage to do anything worthwhile? That’s how living a life without a clear purpose is.

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    The majority of people live their lives in this manner. You need to find your purpose to have a meaningful life. Here is the importance of finding your purpose and how it can help you improve the quality of your life:

    1. 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.

    2. Having a Purpose Makes Life Meaningful

    Your purpose is the reason you get up every morning. Life without a clear purpose can get boring and unsatisfying. Once you find and understand your purpose, your life will never be the same again.

    You’ll start attracting the things that you’ve always wanted into your life. You’ll have health, wealth, and peace of mind. Remember, everything starts from within. Your outer world is a clear reflection of your inner world.

    A purposeless life will always manifest fear, worry, and poverty. Since you want to live a meaningful life, pay attention to your thinking patterns and set aside a few minutes every day to find and clarify your purpose.

    3. Having a Purpose-driven Life Will Enable You to Understand Yourself on a Deeper Level

    We all think that we know ourselves. But only a few understand themselves on a deeper level. Knowing yourself will help you gain confidence and improve the quality of your life.

    As you work towards your true purpose, you’ll realize your outstanding characteristics and hidden talents. In this process, you’ll acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses.

    By accepting yourself the way you are and doing everything in your power to improve yourself, you’ll attract adventure and confidence into your life.

    4. You’ll Challenge Your Limiting Beliefs

    Purpose always arises from a deep desire for a specific situation. And in most cases, who you aspire to become may be so far from the life that you are living right now.

    Due to this, you’ll find yourself questioning if your purpose can materialize in your life with all the resources and skills that you lack right now. The purpose is so powerful because it challenges you in a good way.

    It will help you develop or improve your skills and find the resources that you need. Reframing your limiting beliefs is all you need to do to transform your life. As we said earlier, your outer world is a reflection of your inner world. Therefore, you need to discover your purpose.

    What You’ll Need to Find Your Purpose

    Before any great quest (physical or mental), you want to make sure your tools and supplies are in working order. For this quest the tools are simple: You’ll need a pen and piece of paper, a working memory, and the drive to uncover what you set out to find.

    Before we go, there are a few things you’ll need to embrace beforehand. Think of these items as the underlying code of conduct for your quest.

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    1. I welcome the hard work and tiresome effort it will take to unearth my life’s great work.
    2. I know how to find my purpose might not be directly obvious, but I will put in the time to find it.
    3. I believe finding my purpose is entirely possible.
    4. I know that finding my life’s purpose may lead to some big (positive) changes.
    5. I know that finding my life’s purpose will leave me with the power to shape my own destiny.

    Once you’ve let the above affirmations settle, you’re ready to set sail. Your tools are sharpened, and your mind is prepped as you’re thinking how to find my purpose.

    If you’re someone who procrastinates, just getting started may be difficult. If that’s the case, check out Lifehack’s free guide: End Distraction And Find Your Focus. It will help you focus your attention on the next steps, which will ultimately lead you to your purpose.

    A Step-By-Step Guide to Start Finding Your Purpose

    1. Facing Your Inner Dialogue

    When you first begin to dive into your thoughts and desires, there will be initial resistance, a pervading fear of the unknown[2].

    The first inner dragon you might face will likely be your internal beliefs. They might try to stop you in your tracks or tell you you’re crazy for trying to find your purpose in the first place. They might say harsh things, like “You don’t deserve to have a purpose” or “You’ll never find what you’re looking for.”

    To combat your inner dialogue, you have to first realize it’s happening. When you start to actually pay attention to the thoughts as they’re spiraling, they lose their power. They get their power by operating below the surface, so when you shine a spotlight of awareness upon them, they lose their control over you.

    Once you’re familiar with these inner dragons, it will be easier to slay them.

    Next, you’ll have to take action to correct your inner dialogue if you really want to learn how to find purpose in life.

    Try this on for size: When you’ve come across a belief that is threatening to stop your journey, take a breath, look it square in the eye, and then act anyway.

    This will teach you to develop your courage muscle, and this heart-centered courage will give you something to lean on throughout your uncertain quest. This will ultimately improve your mental health overall.

    2. Discover 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 figuring 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. [3]

    3. Questions for the Great Dig

    Now that you know why you’re doing this and how to overcome any hurdle, you’re ready for the challenges you’ll inevitably face. Your preparation is done, so now it’s time to look at what your soul is trying to tell you.

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    You can check out this TED Talk by Noeline Kirabo to learn about some questions that will help you discover your passion and purpose:

    Now, get ready to dive deep. Keep in mind that we’re going to analyze common threads in your life and the deep desires you currently have to give you a one-two punch when learning how to find purpose in life.

    Step 1: The Soul-Baring Questions

    • If you had all the money in the world, how would you spend your time?
    • What would your perfect day look like? Describe every detail.
    • What activities set your soul on fire?

    Don’t be afraid to dive deep with these questions, and write down whatever comes to mind.

    Make sure you create some space to ponder these questions. Nothing is too outlandish, so do your best to turn off your mental filter. The best answers will come when you can turn off your self-judgment.

    Once you have these answers in hand, we’re going to take a little stroll back into your memory to dig up some more answers and learn how to find purpose in life.

    When you’re a child, your life experience is more freeing, playful, and alive. Your whims direct your life, and you’re more plugged into a deeper current. At this stage in your life, the outside world hasn’t shaped your dreams yet, and you have direct access to your passions and purpose.

    We all had things we loved to do as kids but ended up giving them up for the sake of practicality. What we’re going to do here is take a stroll through your memory banks and try to gain some glimpses of this childhood wisdom.

    Step 2: Connect With Your Inner Child

    • What brought you immense joy as a kid?
    • What were you doing when you lost track of time?
    • What did your parents have to drag you away from?
    • What did you love deep-down before the world told you to get practical?

    Once again, keep your mind in an open place when finding your purpose. If you’re having trouble, it may help to look at a picture of yourself when you were younger or grab an old stuffed animal or another item that sends you back into the memory banks.

    4. Weaving Your Golden Thread

    Now that you’ve pulled yourself away from social media long enough to brave the depths of your thoughts, you’re ready to do the hard work of learning how to find purpose in life and define yours. The last stretch of the journey is to string all the bits of randomness together and find the common themes.

    Your job now is to take a hard look at all your answers and see if you can pull out any common ideas that are in both lists.

    Maybe you’ve wanted to be a writer since you were a child, and committing words to a page every day really sets your soul on fire. There’s a good chance that writing may be involved in your life’s purpose.

    Maybe you’ve always been fascinated by the stars and the cosmos, and you’ve always had a deep connection to spending time outdoors. You could combine this into an excursion where you lead groups of people into the wild to stargaze and contemplate their place in the universe.

    Let your creativity reign as you’re working on finding your purpose, and don’t fret if you can’t make a connection right away. Sometimes, it helps to sleep on it and let your subconscious work on the solution for you. Learning the proper way to set goals also helps tremendously.

    You can also check out this Lifehack Fast Track Class for a little extra push as you work on learning how to find your purpose:

    If you’ve done the work, then you’re on your way to finding your life’s purpose. When it’s there, you’ll feel it deep down in your bones.

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    5. Develop a Crystal-Clear Vision of the Life You Desire

    As you define your true priorities, you can start developing a vision for the life you desire

    What you believe about yourself–and what you believe is possible for yourself–affects how you show up every day to achieve your biggest goal.

    Get clear about the life you desire and work on believing it’s possible to achieve it.

    For instance, if you want to become a successful author, you’ll need to figure out the topics that interest you and develop your writing skills. All your goals need to follow the SMART criterion.

    6. Define Your True Priorities And Eliminate False Objectives

    To live an extraordinary life, you need to live your life. The majority of people across the world live their lives according to the expectations of others. They build their habits and schedules around what their friends, families, and society want for them.

    It takes confidence to live your life according to your priorities. This is especially true if your priorities are different from your loved ones. You need to figure out what matters to you most and the false objectives that you are currently working towards.

    7. Create a Plan to Achieve Your Vision

    Create a specific plan and give yourself deadlines to achieve it. Use SMART goal to outline your plan: How to Use SMART Goal to Become Highly Successful in Life

    Hope is not a strategy. You’ll need a plan!.

    8. Figure Out What Drains You

    You need to think about the things that exhaust you mentally or physically. They don’t have to be activities or tasks that you dislike. Once you can point out these tasks, it’s time to stop doing them.

    You should consider delegating or eliminating them from your to-do list. Tiredness is a clear sign from your mind, body, and heart that the activity is not good for you.

    It’s important to run YOUR race, live YOUR life, focus on what matters to YOU, and build your life around YOUR vision.

    The Bottom Line

    Learning how to find your purpose in life is a lifelong journey, but once your purpose has been discovered, you’ll find that your life opens itself up in ways you never thought possible.

    You will experience new depths of opportunity, and your eyes will be opened to all the possibilities around you. Finding your purpose is all about turning toward your thoughts and jumping in.

    More on How to Find Your Purpose

    Featured photo credit: Katerina Kerdi via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1] Western Oregon University: Finding Purpose
    [2] Journal of Anxiety Disorders: Fear of the unknown: One fear to rule them all?
    [3] The Telegraph: Eight Ways to Find the True Passion in Life That Has Eluded You

    More by this author

    Kevin Wood

    Kevin Wood is a passionate writer who shares mental and spiritual advice on Lifehack.

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    Last Updated on January 14, 2022

    Where Am I Going? How to Put Your Life in Context

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    Where Am I Going? How to Put Your Life in Context

    Are you wondering…

    Where am I going in life? Where am I supposed to be going in life?

    And to answer your questions, here’s what the great writer and thinker, Christopher Morley famously wrote:

    There are three ingredients to the good life – learning, earning and yearning.

    Where Am I Going? Is It the Right Direction in Life?

    There are many times in life where one does not know what comes next or where to go in life. The realization that you are lost and don’t know where to go, or that you don’t like where you are going often comes as an epiphany.

    Most people describe this as being in a rut. It’s like you have everything you want and still so much is missing. You could have everything in the world but something about your life still doesn’t feel right.

    Signs That You Need to Change Direction in Life

    It is important to identify when you are unhappy with your life and want to change where you are going. Some of the most common signs of needing a change in life are as follows:

    1. You feel unhappy with your life and often reminiscence about the choices you made.
    2. You feel as if you are forced to go against your morals and intuition at work or home.
    3. The situation that you find yourself in currently is causing you a lot of stress.
    4. There is a fear or dread of the future and the consequences of your life decisions that have been causing you anxiety.
    5. You feel like you had to give up on your passions and interests just to make it in this world.
    6. The future that you are currently envisioning seems nothing like what practically lies ahead.
    7. You find yourself surrounded by unhappy people who often think you’re too idealistic.
    8. You often look forward to having a ‘good day’ even when nothing is particularly wrong with the days right now.

    If you feel like most of these signs apply to you, then it’s time to re-evaluate where you are headed in life and how you want to change that.

    The 3 Key Phases of Life

    Before learning how to choose the right direction for yourself, first try to understand the 3 key phases of life:

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    The Learning Phase

    The Learning phase typically stretches from the age of five into the early twenties and its over-riding characteristic is freedom.

    Your thinking is unfettered, you are chock-full of dreams and aspirations and (happily) someone else is footing the bills. It’s not a cliché to say that schooldays, for many of us, really were the happiest days of our lives.

    Contrast it with adult life – no one expects very much of you, and other than passing a few exams along the way and you can just swing along, having a great old time …

    The Earning Phase

    The next phase is the Earning years; the period from leaving formal education (at 20-something) to retirement (at 50-something or 60-something). Welcome to the grown-up world, welcome to the tax net.

    The overriding concern in this Earning phase is the security (I spell that word as follows: $ecurity because, for many people, this phase tends to be all about generating sufficient income to pay the monthly bills.)

    Reality bites. This can require sublimating the dreams of youth as a life of routine takes over. Few in the Earning years question the choices they have made because, typically, this questioning process can be quite disconcerting – oddly, I find this is particularly true of people who are less than happy with their working lives.

    Routine generation of wealth becomes paramount and you get swept along with the current. This is fine if you made sound choices in your late teens and early twenties with regard to your career. But if you didn’t … for routine, read ‘RUT’.

    Which brings us to Morley’s Yearning phase – from ceasing your full-time occupation until … well, ceasing.

    The Yearning Phase

    What is yearning? Unfortunately, yearning is not the same as simple hankering, wanting or desire. The dictionary definition of yearning is:

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    “A feeling of intense longing for something lost, absent or unattainable.”

    A bit gloomy. So for many people, the Yearning years are about looking back over a life not quite fulfilled and saying ‘I wish, I wish. If only … if only …’

    With the wisdom of years comes regret for the road not taken, the too-conservative choices made.

    Studies conducted in the geriatric population and on terminally ill people consistently demonstrate that regrets in human beings arise as a result of decisions not taken. The wise old owls that I have talked to over the years all speak with one voice on this.

    It is better to look back and think, ‘I wish I hadn’t …’ rather than wistfully saying, ‘I wish I had …’

    Think about where you are…

    As you think about your career, your life, and your plans for the future, you are, at the very least, going to have to contemplate some uncomfortable choices about yourself, your personal style and your level of happiness.

    I make no apologies for this – that’s just life. But I contend that it is better to take the time and spend the effort now to improve the choices that you make for later, rather than to have those choices made for you at a time that may not suit you.

    Some people get these choices unerringly right and they do so early in their lives. Others come to a realization of the right path much later in life. Ray Kroc changed his whole approach to his McDonald’s business in his early 50s. [1] Colonel Sanders didn’t start his KFC franchising efforts until he was in his early 60s.[2] And the list can go on.

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    It’s never too early and it’s never too late – but you have to think about it.

    How to Choose the Right Path

    Do you know at what phase of life are you now? Once you understand where you are now, the next step is to find the direction you want to move to.

    You have the motivation and direction to take your life where you need it to be, you just need to get up and do it. The best time for change is now, and if you procrastinate any further you might miss out on a great opportunity.

    To live a meaningful life, it is important to pick a direction that brings both peace and success. Here are some things to take into consideration when choosing a new direction in life:

    1. Chose What Your Inner Child Would Want

    It is very important to acknowledge the needs and opinions of our ‘inner child’. That’s because we often have real happiness at this age and develop passions that last us a lifetime. To calibrate your direction in life, think of what the younger you would feel about your current situation and what would they want to do.

    2. Think About The Things You Want To Change

    Make a list of the things in your current life that you are dissatisfied with and want to change. Then think of the alternative options you have to give yourself a life where you find happiness and fulfillment by avoiding these things. This will help you understand what must be done to feel good in life.

    3. Find Inspiration to Follow

    Everyone has an idea of what they want in life and finding inspiration isn’t hard in this day and age. Just think about those you admire and see as role models and try to follow in their footsteps. As they have already reached a place you associate to be a goal, you will find it easier to navigate your way through life to reach that destination as well.

    4. Be Clear on What You Don’t Want To Be

    To find out where you want to be headed in life, try finding out where you don’t want to end up. This would help identify situations and placed you would try and avoid at all costs. It keeps you on the right track because if you minimize the wrong paths, then choosing the right one becomes much easier.

    5. Learn to Enjoy Where You Are

    There is no such thing as a perfect life. What you need to learn, is to work hard and to find things to be happy and grateful for.

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    Live in the moment, appreciate the things you have. Only this way you will see clearly the meaning of your life.

    6. Commit to Getting or Staying Healthy

    Nothing is more important than your mental, spiritual and physical health.

    Getting your life on the right path isn’t something you can achieve in a day. But, with hard work and dedication, you will get there!

    7. Help Others

    By helping others you will increase your sense of purpose and improve self-esteem.

    There are many ways to do this. Volunteer in your community, mentor young people, or just help neighbors.

    You will be surprised by the feeling you will have after.

    Start Making the Change Today

    After reading all this, you are surely ready to change the direction of your life. Start by making a change today instead of just thinking about it. Every difficult journey starts with a single step, and this is the sign to take yours. Once you make one change, the rest follow suit and soon your life will be exactly how you want it to be.

    Need more help to get out of the rut? Take a look at these articles:

    Featured photo credit: Johannes Plenio via unsplash.com

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    Reference

    [1] Britannica: Ray Kroc
    [2] Biography: Colonel Sanders

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