how to find your life purpose: a method that works
You can be anything they said. Sure, but sooner or later you have to choose a path, a goal, a career or a life purpose – doesn’t matter what you call it and this decision is one of the hardest puzzles in life. Choosing whatever you like feels liberating at first, but if we go deeper, it is easy to see how the huge number of possible choices can strangle one’s decision making process.
The unbearable lightness of being
So where should I go – I kept on asking. I’ve already finished studying, I should know better. I should be happy for the unnumbered options I have, but I felt insecure instead. What if I choose wrong? What if I picked the wrong school in the first place? What if I don’t know what I really like? And by like I mean I-would-be-happy-for-doing-this-for-the-rest-of-my-life kind of liking.
Does this sound familiar? We’ve all been there. So now I decided to share the method that helped me a lot. You just have to get know the real you better and for this you only need to answer four questions honestly. And by honestly I mean you have to let go all your judgment and every expectation (yours or others). Take your time and let the real answers find their way.
Part 1: The last speech
Let’s imagine we’re on your funeral. (I know it’s creepy but stay put.) What should be said about you?
“Her art inspired a lot of us. She will be remembered forever.”
“Nobody could cook quite like him.”
“He was a wonderful person, a loving husband and a perfect dad.”
“I want to live my life like she did: a minimalist and nature-lover goddess.”
“I wish I spent more time with him, he read everything and knew about everything.”
“She had the most splendid career, was a role model for her generation.”
This way it’s so much easier to see what really matters in your life and what you do only because it is expected from you. Write down a few sentences you actually would be proud of hearing and than go on to the next question.
Part 2 and 3: A child’s fantasy
Remember your childhood dreams? They say a lot about your personality and preferences.
As children we see the world and our future selves from a different perspective. We are not bound by the will of others, we don’t care about financial stability, and being acknowledged by society is not one of the most important tasks we wish to accomplish.
In this section you are about to examine two questions: What were your dream jobs as a child? And what features did they have in common?
I tell mine so you’ll get the idea more easily behind this section. As for me I wanted to be a florist, an actress and a writer. (Yes, all at the same time.) What is similar in between them? Creativity, independence and the urge to create or express something.
Now write down your childhood’s most significant dream jobs and search for some common ground. You can look on the structure (maybe you wanted something steady or something which gave you freedom, is it a job where you are alone or work in a team, etc.), or on what personality traits you have to have (see my example).
Let’s move a step forward again.
Part 4: Flow
What were you doing the last time when the rest of the world seemed to have disappeared? When you got so involved in the given task that you didn’t feel hunger or tiredness? When did you experience flow as a child and as an adult?
It doesn’t have to be something fancy or magnificent or noble. It can be anything, like playing on the computer or listening to music. When you have it, you just have to look deep inside and find what really fascinates you in that activity.
For example I just loved to play The Sims (secretly of course, it wasn’t that cool back than). I enjoyed creating a whole new world of imagination where I can control the storyline
and the swimming pool’s construction: with or without ladder.
And your life purpose is…
… something (un)expected?
Now you just have to merge all your answers: read them all and try to see the whole picture. Where do all the answers point to? What are the similar features in all of them? Now try to look for a job or role where your chosen features are present. In the beginning it may not be the Holy Grail, but think about it: you have a crucial information about yourself in your hands which now you can use. These four questions helped me to identify my own desires, now it’s easier to tell them apart from other people’s expectations (which I tended to misinterpret as my own).
No matter which path you choose, one thing is certain: you will have to practice a lot. Hard work is your best friend, so do something for your goal every day, practice whenever you can – like I’m doing it right now, writing this post. Now go and find your life purpose! 🙂
Huge thanks to the Wait But Why blog, their article on taming the mammoth inspired me a lot!