One thing that isn’t easy is finding purpose in our lives; this is troubling because it is one of the most important things we must do.
Life is complicated and full of challenges. If we don’t feel like we have a purpose, it will be tougher to get through the hard times. Purpose makes us better by giving us a target to work towards. The challenge is sorting out what our purpose is, but that is something we can figure out.
Sometimes when we are faced with challenges, we feel discouraged and walk away. But this is not something we should do when it comes to purpose, as we are obligated to pursue it.
I’ve recently gone through some life-changing transformations, and I’d like to share what I’ve learnt, so keep reading to find out more.
Finding Purpose is Difficult, But Purpose is Important
When I think of finding purpose in life, the first thing that comes to mind is that it isn’t something we get taught. We learn the basics, reading, writing, and arithmetic at school, but we are never introduced to anything about purpose or meaning.
One way of justifying this might be to suggest that purpose is something that parents are supposed to teach their kids. You could add that these sorts of ideas often come from religion or culture, which isn’t the role of public schools to teach. But on the other hand, if parents are never taught this either, what do they have to pass on to their kids?
I’d suspect that this is part of why it is so hard to find purpose in our lives, but there are also other factors. Since I was a teenager, I’ve been an intellectual rebel; I was never into TV like the rest of my family and often spent time learning on the internet. But this doesn’t mean I was immune to the pressure that popular culture put on all of us, but maybe my outsider status helped me see things more clearly.
The predominant view in our unnatural modern life is that material success is the ultimate goal.
Now I realize that not everyone believes this or accepts it, but it is an underlying priority of the media and culture we consume. Put another way; we are encouraged to focus on what we can get outside rather than satisfying what is inside us.
Think of it this way; if every day, you are told to care about your house, car, clothes or other possessions, then you might start to think that is all that matters. I’m not saying that people shouldn’t care about material things; instead, there is lots of pressure to care only about those things. But with that pressure, we often ignore or don’t think about the other stuff that falls outside our possessions.
Bringing this together, finding purpose in life is hard because we don’t know how to do it, and we are regularly told that it isn’t all that important. The problem is that both of these assumptions are way off base because there are ways that we can discover our purpose, so it isn’t something we should ignore.
It is essential to find our purpose because it makes life more bearable.
While I can’t claim to have all the answers, I have found the Japanese concept of ikigai helpful in this search. The search for ikigai asks us to look at what we love, what we are good at, what the world needs and what people will pay for. Using those four different ideas can help us think about some of the possibilities to create purpose in our lives.
So while finding purpose and meaning in our lives can be difficult, it isn’t impossible, as there is a process that we can follow. On the other hand, you might be wondering why you should even look for purpose in your life when you didn’t know it was a thing, to begin with.
But this is my second point, finding purpose in your life is important because it makes a massive difference in so many things. Where purpose comes from is hard to say, but I think we have all at times felt like we weren’t on the right path or that things weren’t working the way they were supposed to.
That strange feeling of being off track could be a sign that purpose is missing from your life.
Life is filled with ups and downs, sometimes we face challenges that we are not prepared for, and we do our best to deal with them. At other times things are going well, or we are so busy that we don’t have time to think, so we don’t feel the need to worry about purpose. But ultimately, without reasons for doing what we are doing, we might not have the motivation to keep going.
There have been times in my life where I had lots of drive and kept working towards things, regardless of how much time it took or what I lost at its expense. And while these times were filled with what could be called work, I was delighted and willing to keep pushing along.
Also, in the past, I remember there were times when it was hard to get out of bed or even motivate myself to go to work. But since finding my purpose, I’ve not had that problem. Even if I have a busy day with my day job, I will still have time to work towards my goals and spend time with my daughter. These two meaningful purposes make it so much easier to get out of bed in the morning.
If you want to look at science, it is clear; studies have found that having a sense of purpose in life results in a significant decrease in mortality.
Having a sense of purpose is important because it will help you live longer.
When nothing is working out or the world appears to be turning to shit, we can always appreciate what we are doing if we feel like we are working towards something and living with purpose.
The Science of Why It’s Important to Find Purpose in Your Life
As I suggested before, finding purpose in your life is important because it helps you live longer; for clarity’s sake, let’s explain that more. This study looked at older people (over 50) and had them fill out a questionnaire that could scale their sense of well-being. A higher score was associated with a greater understanding or sense of life’s purpose.
In the end, the results found that people with a higher sense of life purpose had a significantly lower level of all-cause mortality. This means that those with a great sense of purpose were less likely to die over the time that the people were followed. The study tried to control various factors; however, it is difficult to explain precisely why these outcomes happened.
Another study looked at a similar question and found similar results; they concluded that having a high sense of purpose in life reduced death and conditions like heart disease. But again, they were not sure why this would be happening and suggested further study.
My intuition here would be that having a sense of purpose is crucial because it helps you keep busy and be active.
On top of this, if you feel optimistic about what you are doing with your time, you will likely have less stress, which is a considerable risk factor for death.
Yet another study found that not having a positive sense of well-being or purpose significantly increased the risk of depression. This study also followed older people in their 50s for ten years and checked their well-being and mental health using surveys. Once again, the researchers found that having a positive outlook is beneficial to our mental health.
One thing to keep in mind is that we don’t know for sure why these outcomes are associated with this sense of well-being, but they are connected. While we can’t say for sure why, it is vital to seek out and work towards purpose as much as possible, even if you aren’t sure how much control we have over our fates.
Other Reasons Why It’s Important to Find Purpose in Your Life
Another reason why having a purpose in life is important is that it gives you something to work towards. You might be able to sustain focus for a while without a goal, but long-term dedication requires a concrete plan.
I know from my own experience that not having a goal makes it difficult to stay motivated.
On top of this, when you have a goal you are working towards, you know what helps and doesn’t help you get where you want to go. If you have something to get done that is important to you, it will be easier to say no to activities that waste your time. If I want to get an article completed today, I know not to waste an hour watching videos on YouTube.
Knowing that you have something you want to get done gives you a reason to keep doing it. In the past, I kept a blog but would only write in it when I had the motivation, which wasn’t all that often. However, when I planned out a book and committed myself to working on it every day until it was done, I had no choice but to keep going.
And finally, having a purpose in life or goal is vital because it helps you get things done. I’d always dreamed of being an author, but I never did much to make it a reality. Once I committed to finishing a book, it was just a matter of following the process and getting it done. As a result of this commitment and dedication, I’ve written a few books now.
One last thing to keep in mind is that sometimes we look at success as fame and fortune, and while those things are lovely, they aren’t necessarily what makes us happy.
I’d love to quit my job and work full time at my writing, but as it stands, simply getting the words out is enough to keep me happy. Making lots of money doing this would be great, but it is also satisfying to finish what you’ve started and to have worked through challenging problems.
It’s Difficult to Find Your Lifes Purpose
While I’ve talked a lot about why having a purpose is essential, it is now time to talk about why it isn’t easy to find purpose. As I’ve mentioned earlier, we don’t get much training on finding purpose, and we don’t necessarily know it is something that we should seek. But there are also other reasons why it is so hard to find, let’s talk about some of them.
One thing that I’ve noticed about some people that I know is that they seek acceptance and justification from the outside world.
I’ve always been someone who thinks a lot and listens to my mind, but this isn’t so common from my experience. When I talk to people in my family about some of the things that bother me, they don’t necessarily understand because they have heard otherwise on the news.
This isn’t to say that we should ignore what is going on in the outside world, but instead that it is important to train ourselves to listen to the voice inside our heads. It might not always be correct, but at least getting used to the idea of trusting your intuition will make it easier to capture opportunities if they arise.
Another factor that makes it hard to find purpose in life is the lack of awareness of the possibilities.
When I was a kid, I wanted to be a fireman, not because I knew anything about being a fireman, but rather it was one of the few jobs I knew existed. A lot of what we accept as a possibility comes from our understanding or awareness of what is possible. If you don’t know your options, it is challenging to decide what the best thing to do is.
Not knowing all the options isn’t always the problem, especially when our purpose isn’t something that someone else has done. I know that I’ve heard of people who have made blogging a job, but that isn’t exactly what I’m trying to do with my life. I like to write and get my ideas out, but I’m not sure how that fits into what I understand as the sorts of possibilities out there.
In other words, getting purpose out of writing doesn’t mean you have to be anything in particular. Instead of trying to fit into an existing model, realize that there are lots of options out there that might not be exactly what you’ve been primed to expect.
All of this reminds me of a quote from Seneca, who said, “It is not because things are difficult that we do not dare, it is because we do not dare that they are difficult.”
It is difficult to find purpose in our lives because we don’t often try to find it.
I’m not trying to blame anyone here; life is sometimes so busy we don’t have time to think. But if we don’t take time to think, we will never find the important things that we need in our lives. Finding purpose in your life is something that you need to be committed to, but at the same time, it can’t consume you. Being open-minded helps you find new possibilities, but you still need to be willing to give them a chance and follow through with what drives you.
For many years, I struggled to find meaning and purpose in what I was doing, making life suck. But once I committed to realizing my dream, it because easier to stick with it. I might have given up or moved on in the past, but today I have been able to stick with it.
In some ways, it seems that I might be more mature now, or simply the time has come, but whatever the reason, it feels good to commit and work towards something that matters. And that seems to be what purpose in life is all about.
If you are having trouble finding meaning in your life, you might find value in my book called How To Be Amazing, A Manifesto. The book covers 42 ways to add meaning to your life or find meaning in what you are already doing. If you found this article interesting, you will probably enjoy the book, so click the link above.