Can my life’s purpose change? My brother knew in high school what he wanted to do with his life. However, for me, my interests were constantly evolving, and I never had any specific goals.
Your life’s purpose will likely change over the years depending on where you find yourself and what you are doing at the time. This happens partly because as we get older, we learn more about ourselves and get a better sense of what we are good at and what the world needs.
If you are like me and worried that your interests or passions are changing too much, keep reading as I will share what I’ve learnt over the years.
My Life’s Purpose Has Always Been Changing
Some people know from an early age what they want out of life, and they work towards it with focus; that was not me. My interests and passions have constantly been changing. When I first made a YouTube Channel, I made all sorts of videos, some about dreams, others about book reviews and still others about culture.
One day one of my friends sent me a message saying, “you need to focus and stick to one thing.” From a business perspective, this makes sense; how can you sell everything all at once. But from a personal perspective, especially for open-minded and curious people, it is often difficult to focus on just one thing.
If you want to make a job out of something, you need to focus; you need to pick one thing that you can get good at and chase after it.
But you might learn over the years, as I did, that our purpose can change and does change as we get more mature.
At university, I studied science and started with biochemistry; as I learned more, I discovered that I was interested in microbiology. So I switched majors, but once I was focused on bacteria, I realized that I was horrible at remembering and pronouncing Latinized names. At this point, I changed once again into general biology because I liked science but wasn’t too good at focusing on one thing.
After school, I knew that I wanted to start a business, but I had no idea about what type, so instead of going all-in on one thing, I tried out a couple of different jobs.
I never found any purpose in those jobs, but I was obsessed with dreams so that is what I focused on outside of work. At that time, dreaming was my life’s purpose; I read, made videos, and filled my journal with dreams.
That time in my life felt particularly passionless, but at least I had my dreams.
As I reevaluated my life situation, things weren’t getting any better, so I needed to change things up big time.
Out of a suggestion from my cousin, my purpose changed again. Now I was trying to figure out how to get a job teaching English in Korea.
For a year, I was having fun, reading books and getting to know different people and an entirely new culture. But once again, I felt things were standing still, and I needed to change things up again. At the time, I was trying to build a website, so once again, my purpose shifted, and I dedicated myself to being a web developer.
I was a good student and had lots of passion due to my dream of creating a tech startup. But while I had the drive, motivation and an idea, that was enough to get me through my program, but it wasn’t enough for me to create a job for myself.
This went on for years; I worked at a day job that paid my bills in exchange for the skills that I’d learnt at school. Then at night, I would work away at my websites, creating various apps and products, with some having a little bit of success.
But at the same time, I slowly realized that while I enjoyed making websites, it wasn’t what I was meant to do. Put another way, I was good enough at creating web pages to do it as a job, but I didn’t have the skills to be a CTO at a tech startup.
However, a pattern was emerging, and while I enjoyed making websites, it was often the writing of content that gave me the greatest sense of purpose. As this awareness built up, once again, I changed my purpose and decided to focus on writing.
Now, here you are, reading my work, and for the first time in a long time, I feel like I am doing the right thing and can keep focused on it.
Why Does Our Life Purpose Change?
When we think of a life purpose, we might picture some static goal that never changes, that we are constantly working towards it. But this isn’t usually the case, as our purpose changes as we go through different phases of our lives.
As a kid, you don’t know much about the world or even what your future could hold, so your purpose might focus on having fun and hanging out with friends. However, as you get older and get a job, you might realize that your level of satisfaction is a little more refined and needs focused attention.
When I was going to college and building my dream website, that was enough to keep me focused on my learning. While I was doing my school work, I’d use my free time to grind away at my project.
At the time, that was enough purpose to keep me going, but once it was all done, my sense of urgency and dedication changed.
Stepping back a little, when I was younger and without responsibilities, my life’s purpose was mainly about the things that mattered to me.
Now that I have a family, I need to be more considerate of what I am doing with my time. I might have been able to sit at the computer all weekend before I had a kid, but now I’ve got to keep my daughter busy.
This is another thing to keep in mind about a changing purpose in life; it all depends on where you find yourself and what your responsibilities are. It is natural to be occupied by what is happening around us, but as our environment changes, so do our priorities and where we want to put our time.
Don’t worry too much about changing your focus when you are young; it’s an excellent opportunity to learn about yourself and what you like.
As you get older and your time before more limited, it becomes more important to focus and prioritize as you can’t do as much as you used to.
Can I Have More Than One Life Purpose?
We all have multiple purposes in life at any given time; you might be focused on school and friends as a teenager. While as an adult, you might be focused on success with your job and building a family. These are basic examples, but the point remains, it is normal to have multiple priorities.
However, one thing to keep in mind is that it all depends on what your goal is. If you are looking to have fun and enjoy yourself, having multiple passions and purposes is alright as you don’t need too much time for any of them.
But if you are looking to create a job or become an expert, it will be a lot easier if you focus on only one thing.
The truth is, we need to be willing to adapt to our situations and take advantage of the opportunities that arise. If you are too focused on one thing, you might miss the rest of your life as it passes. Whereas, if you are focused on too many things, one of the disadvantages of being open-minded, you never make too much progress on anything.
What other people in the world are often looking for is expertise and focus, but what might be interesting to us is varied and distinct. What is important is finding a balance between the two or having a willingness to focus despite your other interests.
But don’t let any of this discourage you; you are always free to change your purpose because ultimately it is up to you to decide what you like and want to work on.
Accept That Your Purpose Will Change
Often what we need most is a willingness to accept what we are doing and where we are going. If you have the idea that you should only ever have one purpose, you will be disappointed if things change up, or more likely, you will be resistant to change.
At times it can be helpful to be stubborn; you don’t want to get pulled into things you don’t want to do.
But at the same time, sometimes being stubborn holds us back from achieving what we truly want.
I know I am often slow to adapt to new situations; at my previous job, I knew that I was unhappy and needed to change, but I didn’t do anything about it. It took finding out how much I was underpaid, asking for a raise and then getting it to realize it was time to leave. So instead of just getting a new job, I had to up my self-worth before I could move on.
Understand that your life’s purpose will constantly be adjusting based on the circumstances. Also, realize that sometimes it takes time to catch up with where our minds already are.
At the same time, don’t worry too much about your purpose; instead, focus on doing what gives you enjoyment and joy because, in time, that can turn into something bigger.
Most important of all, don’t worry, things tend to work out if you are willing to let them.
So next time you think of your purpose, ask yourself, what am I doing right now that matters? Maybe you will discover that you already have a significant purpose in your life.
If you need more help with your life’s purpose, check out 12 Questions to Help Find Purpose and Direction in Your Life.