Many feel like they are going through a bog of shadows and laconic activities due to this conundrum. It is no secret that having a solid purpose does well for our survival. It is a highly crucial need that is sometimes overlooked or fulfilled in unhealthy ways which may unfortunately lead to more dysfunctional habits. Ergo, establishing your life purpose is something worth reflecting on.
Goals Are Not the Same As Purpose
Before we dig deeper, let us differentiate goals from purpose. Though they are often understandably interchanged, we need to draw the line for a hopefully, more meaningful reverie.
Basically, you work towards a goal because of a purpose. Goals have certain parameters such as time, quantifiable results, and distinct effort. On the other hand, a purpose is much more encompassing as it is shaped by your values and principles. Unlike goals, your life purpose has no particular target. For instance, your goal which is to land that promotion is your purpose to provide well for your family. Hence, your purpose is undoubtedly vital in enjoying a well-lived existence.
The Power of Purpose
Having a purpose prevents boredom and depression. By having that mindset, you are less likely to entertain nonsensical thoughts. Furthermore, it helps you focus on something external which makes you less egocentric. Note that being self-absorbed is a huge precursor of negative emotional states such as misery and anxiety. In fact, Patrick Hill of Carleton University stated, “Our findings point to the fact that finding a direction for life, and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve can help you actually live longer, regardless of when you find your purpose. So the earlier someone comes to a direction for life, the earlier these protective effects may be able to occur” (Association for Psychological Science, 2014). Assessment from more than 6000 research participants verified that a grander purpose was an indicator of lower mortality risks. Interestingly, this inference was observed across the lifespan (younger, middle-aged, and older).
Here are some questions that can help you gain more insights about having a more meaningful existence:
1. What are the Top Three Principles of Your Life?
Since your beliefs play a major role in your purpose, having a clear view of your values can lead to a more vivid resolution as well as goals. Exploring your spiritual beliefs can be important in finding purpose.
People are interested in the afterlife and sometimes even visit mediums to try to understand death. The future is a mystery and people are curious and sometimes visit psychics to understand how life will unfold. We want to feel that connection with something outside ourselves. Purpose can come from serving a spiritual purpose and exploring these realities is important. Often the first step is reaching out in our spirit and asking for greater understanding.
2. What Makes You Have a "Flow" Experience?
What kind of activity makes you so focused that time literally flies by? Hungarian Psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi defines this motivating experience as a single-minded immersion where your emotions are positively united with your task. As this results to joy, flow has been linked with happiness (Csikszentmihalyi & Hunter, 2003). Your moments of flow can certainly guide life changing decisions such as college degrees and professions.
3. How Can You Employ Your Talents and Skills to Help Others?
Much meaning is drawn from what can we contribute to the improvement of external elements. This higher purpose is a need that causes void in a number of individuals. Knowing that your life has somehow made others’ lives better certainly fosters more connectedness, hence significance.
Association for Psychological Science. (2014). Having a sense of purpose may add years to your life. Retrieved from http://www.psychologicalscience.org/index.php/news/releases/having-a-sense-of-purpose-in-life-may-add-years-to-your-life.html
Csikszentmihalyi, M. and J. Hunter (2003). "Happiness in everyday life: the uses of experience sampling." Journal of Happiness Studies, 4, 2, pp.185-199