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.
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.
The fastest way to learn how to find purpose in life 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.
Let’s use the analogy of an epic quest across the ocean to take you on your journey of finding purpose in life:
Why Do You Want This?
Ultimately you’re trying to improve your life and live with meaning. 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.
Still, your “why” might be different. Before we even leave 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 Tools for Your Journey
Before any great adventure, 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. That’s it—you’re ready to set off.
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 journey.
- I welcome the hard work and tiresome effort it will take to unearth my life’s great work.
- I know my purpose might not be directly obvious, but I will put in the time to find it.
- I believe finding my purpose is entirely possible.
- I know that finding my life’s purpose may lead to some drastic (positive) changes.
- 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 free your ship from the dock and set sail. Your tools are sharpened, and your mind is prepped: congratulations! You’ve come farther than most people ever do.
Slaying the Inner Dragons
When you first set sail into uncharted waters, there will be an initial resistance, a pervading fear of the unknown. If you feel this, great: you’re human.
The first 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.”
What you have to know is that this inner dialogue isn’t true—it’s more afraid than you are. Its main goal is to keep you comfortable.
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 evil force 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 have to swing your sword of action.
Try this on for size: When you’ve come across a belief that is threatening to stop your journey, take a breath and look it square in the eye, then act anyway. You’ll know what actions to take after the next section, so hold tight.
This will teach you to develop your courage muscle, and its heart-centered courage will give you something to lean on throughout your uncertain quest. This will ultimately improve your mental health overall.
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 turbulent seas. Your preparation is done, the shore is now out of sight. All that remains is you and the seas of your soul.
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?
- What do you love to do?
These should be enough to get you going. 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-judgement.
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 in to a deeper current. At this stage in your life, the outside world hasn’t shaped your dreams yet. 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. 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 other item that sends you back into the memory banks.
Weaving Your Golden Thread
Now that you’ve braved the epic seas, the other shoreline is in sight. The last stretch of the journey is to string all the bits of randomness together and find the common themes. The digging is done—great work.
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, 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.
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.
More on How to Find Purpose in Life
- How to Live a Meaningful Life: 10 Inspiring Ideas to Find Meaning
- What Is the Purpose of Life and What Should You Live For?
- 13 Ways Living with Purpose Makes You Happier and More Fulfilled
Featured photo credit: Burst via unsplash.com
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