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Last Updated on October 2, 2018

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

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.

“What is my purpose in life?” You wonder.

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 about how to find purpose in life is through the art of introspection: diving into the deeper essences 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 uncovering your sense of purpose.

Why you want this in the first place?

Ultimately you’re trying to improve your life and live a meaningful life. 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.

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Your purpose can be the driving force of this. Your purpose can be your connection to something larger, something that will allow you to make your mark on the world, 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 cherish it, nothing is too far left field.

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.

  1. I welcome the hard work and tiresome effort it will take to unearth my life’s great work.
  2. I know 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 drastic (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 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, a 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 spiralling  then they lose their power. They get their evil force by operating below the scenes, so when you shine a spotlight of awareness upon them they lose their control over you.

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

Next, you have to swing your sword of action. The best way to stop these beliefs from stopping your journey before it begins is to study them. To know them inside and out, and to act in spite of them when they occur. That way you build power: true soul-baring force.

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. Just know that you’re going to act in spite.

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.

To re-cap, when a limiting belief comes your way like “I don’t deserve to know my purpose” you’ll first shine your light of awareness on the belief, look it square in the face, then take action right over it.

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. You’re preparation is done, the shore is now out of sight. All that remains is you and the seas of your soul.

Get ready to dive deep. Keep in mind that we’re going to analyze common threads in your life and the deep desires you have currently to give you a one two punch to finding your purpose.

Step one, 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.

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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.

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 you dreams yet, you have direct access to your passions and purposes.

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 two, connect with your inner child:

What brought you immense joy as a kid?

What were you doing when you lost track of time?

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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.

Write to your heart’s contenteven use crayons if you have to!

Building 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 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, reading textbooks on the subject in your spare time, 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.

Featured photo credit: Burst via unsplash.com

More by this author

Kevin Wood

Poet and Writer

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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