DO WE TRULY NEED A PURPOSE?
The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for,” Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
It feels as though everywhere we look in recent years, we are told that we must find our purpose, our reason for living, that unique way in which we can make a difference in the world.
For some people, this search for purpose is a positive experience, but for others, the quest for purpose can lead to stress and self-doubt, as we wonder – is our purpose worthy enough? How do we even know what it is?
The positives of purpose
Having a clear purpose in life can help provide focus to become the best version of ourselves. It can provide direction and help drive our decisions and desires. A true purpose is an embodiment of our inner values and helps us define what we want from life.
The negatives of purpose
Although purpose shouldn’t be about achieving goals – but about living life with intention – it can be difficult to separate the two. Because of this, it’s hard not to judge ourselves if we feel we haven't achieved the purpose we have given ourselves.
Having a purpose can also feel as though we are locked into a particular direction in life. We grow and change every day, which means surely our purpose can too?
What is purpose?
It’s important to remember that purpose is relative and one person’s purpose means no less than another's.
Purpose can be a lot of things, including:
- To raise caring, balanced, well-rounded children
- To bring positivity to those around us
- To always be true to ourselves
- To devote our lives to a cause we believe in
- To inspire and educate others about a passion we have
Often we are told that having a true purpose means we must focus our lives on it – we must dedicate our career to it, or our time through volunteering or raising awareness.
But purpose doesn’t have to be that prescriptive. Not everyone can change the world, and changing the world for yourself and for those around you is just as important.
Imagine a world where people’s purpose is simply to always choose positivity. Or to be kind and open with one another?
The most difficult thing with purpose is that we often follow what we feel we should do, not what we actually want to do. Be true to yourself.
How to live a life of purpose
If you decide that setting a life purpose is for you, there are three main areas to focus on.
Purpose is not about ticking off items on a to-do list or creating lofty goals. It’s about making decisions in a purposeful manner and following a set of guiding principles. It’s about setting intentions and living these through actions.
It can be difficult not to be distracted by new and shiny things in life. There are so many choices, so many options, so many things to become passionate about, so many areas to give attention. Set priorities and remember that you cannot do everything. Feel good about what you do and don’t waste precious energy stressing about what you can’t do.
If you feel that your purpose is bringing you down rather than raising you up, focus on why you chose it in the first place. Focus on the values that drove you here. But also be open to listening to your heart and knowing that it’s okay for your purpose to change. Evaluate often.
Do you have a purpose in life?