Finding Your Purpose in Life
I believe that everyone’s end goal in life is the same — “ to find happiness” or
“to be happy”.
In order to feel more fulfilled and find the path to sustainable happiness, we
follow our passions and purpose. But what is your purpose in life? I believe this
is the question we ask over and over within ourselves.
There are three ways in which you can achieve this;
• What you have
• What you do
• Who you are
1. What You Have
As you need to live, certain basic needs need to be fulfilled first and foremost
before you can find purposes from other things in life. Starting from food and
shelter, money is the mean to buying the most basic things that you can’t live
Sometimes though self-esteem is derived from material possessions. The
purpose in life is then to become wealthy, to have beautiful things, and to be
able to afford luxury. When your purpose in life is to based on what you have,
your happiness comes from the outside in, rather than inside out.
I have learned that this could be a tiring process. Once you have reached your
purpose in life in material attainment, you find yourself struggling to stay
happy. It is not sustainable. Surely comfort feels great, but it is mostly a state of
2. What You Do
Throughout our life, we fit into different roles . Each comes with different
responsibilities — from the role of a child, to a sibling, a student, a friend, an
employee, a boss, a lover, and a parent; from the role of a student to an
employee, a manager, a director — the list goes on and on.
And if you haven’t noticed….
At each stage of our life, we define our purpose in life
based on the role we have, in which its responsibilities
define how fulfilled we feel at the time.
Our ability to fulfil the role we partake the best we can becomes our purpose.
Our inability to fulfil as such becomes our failure. These role-based purposes in
life that change over time as we go through different stages in life affect how
we feel — how happy we feel.
• A child feels happy when a parent praises them — “Well done, son. I’m so
proud of you.”
• A student feels happy when they get a high score in their favourite
• An employee feels happy when they’ve have done a great job for the
company and that the boss loves it.
• A parent feels happy knowing that the family is well fed and well taken
• A sales manager feels happy when the team is doing a great job and has
reached the target.
As we can see here, it is quite almost impossible to fulfil all of these different
facets in life at the same time.
The secret to finding joy and happiness through one’s
purpose in life is to have “What You Do” and “Who You
3. Who You Are
This comes down to the foundation of your being — your personality traits,
your strengths and weaknesses, your core value, your perspective of the world,
and your beliefs.
When your purpose in life is based on who you are … and who you are and
what you do align, your happiness comes from inside out, rather outside in.
This leads to a feeling of contentment.
A feeling of rich and emotionally fulfilled accomplishment
is what you’d feel when you succeed in what you do —
when what you do aligns with who you are.
Sometimes it is hard to discover and understand who we are.
There are several ways in which you can start discovering your core values
and your natural talents.
• Look at your past experiences and the situations you’ve been in. When
having to pick between two critical decisions in life, which path did I go
with? The path your gut instinct tells you to choose normally reflect
your core values.
• Look at the people you dislike. Why do you dislike someone? What is it
about him or her that you don’t like? What behaviours of theirs that you
don’t like? Is it their work ethics? Is it their perspective of the world, their
attitudes, or their beliefs?
• Look at the people you like and admire. Why do you like someone?
What is it about him or her that you like or admire? Is it their work ethic,
their attitudes, their perspective of the world, and their beliefs? Is it their
way of life? Is it their ambition, their aspiration, the way they work, or the
way they think? Is it what they’ve done in the world the “reason” behind
why they do what they do?
• What did you love doing as a child? What were your childhood
hobbies? Were you good at drawing, painting, writing, musical
instruments, sports? When you role-played as a kid, what roles did you
like playing as? A lot of the time, these relate to your natural talents —
when you’re unrestricted by societal norm and let run free by the dream
and imagination of a child.
• What do you love doing in general? Do you find joy in making sure
things are organised? Do you like freedom? Do you hate or love
schedule? Do you like talking to people you don’t know? Do you have or
prefer to learn something that is methodological and systematic or
abstract and conceptual? How do you describe the way you see and the
way you think?
Your gut instinct is your best friend in this. Trust your gut instinct.
And if you’re stuck in discovering who you are, ask people around you — your
close friends, your boss, your close colleagues, your partner, etc to describe you.
And if you’re not happy with who you are, because you’re too pessimistic, lazy,
unorganised, or selfish. Then maybe your purpose in life becomes your
aspiration. Your immediate goal is to first become who you want to be.
Bit by bit. One by one. Nothing is more satisfying than knowing that another
month or year has gone by and we have become a better person. We are more
in control of ourselves and our attitudes. We are able to find our passion, turn
it into ‘what we do’ for a living, and marry it up with ‘who we are’.
That is a purpose & passion driven life.