Do you know your life’s purpose? By purpose, I do not necessarily mean your dedication to family, spouse, religion/spirituality, or job. While we can feel satisfaction, fulfillment and joy in these things that are a part of our life experience, they do not define our individuality.
So, what is it and how can we find ours?
Our purpose can be defined in two ways:
Contribution and Passion
Two separate meanings that that are relevant to each other.
To contribute is to give a gift or to play a part in something that benefits others.
A passion is to have an eager interest or enthusiastic enjoyment of an activity.
These terms combined can guide you to your purpose in life. Together, they not only define how we can enrich our own lives, giving us a unique sense of self, but also help us see what we can bring to others.
The simplest way for us to discover our life’s purpose is by identifying our passion(s). You may not think you have any personal passions, and you may be correct. Having personal passions is often viewed as selfish, being self absorbed, and this type of indulgence is often squashed early on in our lives.
I have known many people who never realized their passions their entire lives, though they often knew their talents very clearly. The reason this happens is that talents are praised and rewarded in our society for the immediate benefit they afford. But talent and passion are not the same thing.
A person may have a talent that comes naturally but have no passion for it. Often, other people in their life will tend to pressure them to continue to exercise the talent and ignore “fruitless” passions. Natural talents are the low hanging fruit – easy to grab and exploit for immediate gratification. But pressure to pursue a talent without the backing of passion can cause resentment and dissatisfaction to manifest at the core-self.
Choosing talents over passions can be a mistake in determining your life’s purpose, unless you are fortunate enough to have them exist as one and the same.
If you do not already know your passion, do not worry. Discovering passion(s) is an interesting venture in itself. Below is a list of ways you can begin to discover your potential passions (not limited to only one):
1) Pick your brain:
a. What have you enjoyed doing in the past? Art, music, volunteering, writing, acting, dancing, swimming, biking, sports, etc.
b. What activities have you thought might be interesting to try or learn?
c. Make a list of the things you would enjoy pursuing further.
2) Google it:
a. Search for hobbies/creative arts/life goals/contributing to society/exciting activities, and you will likely come across many interesting idea lists to get you thinking.
b) Save the lists and use them to build your own personal interests list.
a) Reorganize your list by preference. Put those that excite you the most closest to the top.
b) Determine which of your top three are the most attainable based on cost, time available and logistics.
Note any reasons holding you back from getting started with something on your list and determine if and how you can work around these issues.
a) Give yourself time to grow your passion. Passion for an interest may not sweep you away immediately.
b) If one does not seem to fit, don’t beat yourself up, allow yourself to try another.
a) Give yourself permission to take time for your passion.
b) Realize that we grow and change over time. Today’s passion is not necessarily forever. Move to something new when you feel the desire.
c) Revel in the enjoyment of your passions. This is an act of self-love not selfishness. Enhancing internal happiness benefits everyone around us.
d) If you choose, share your passion with others. You may inspire, teach, or bring joy to someone else.
It all comes down to one thing:
Our purpose in life is to live a life of purpose. To do this we must first nurture ourselves. Only then can we make a passionate contribution to others.
Live well friends,