Do you’ve got a sense of purpose?
I’d been after years for more than a decade and finally, I’ve made it; I think so at the moment. The goals that foster a sense of purpose are ones that can potentially change the lives of many; including yours. The Japanese formula Ikigai helped me a lot.
Indeed, a sense of purpose appears to have evolved in humans so that we can accomplish big things together — which may be why it’s linked to better physical and mental health. The purpose is adaptive, in an evolutionary sense.
It helps both individuals and the species to survive. It becomes quite difficult to find the purpose of life but with little assistance from fellow humans and introspection, you can do it. Here’re some ideas that’ll help you:
- Read: Reading joins us to people we’ll never know, across time and space. It’s one of the greatest ways to discover numerous opportunities. So, if you’re feeling a crisis of purpose in your life, go to the bookstore or library. Find books that matter to you — and they might help you to explore what matters in your own life.
- Consult a coach or healer or become one: Of course, finding purpose isn’t just an intellectual pursuit; it’s something we need to feel. That’s why it can grow out of suffering, both our own and others’. A professional life coach can be of great help. We’re all wounded and we all the capacity to heal. Sometimes, another person’s pain can lead us to the purpose.
- Cultivate a forgiving attitude, kindness, gratitude, and compassion: Certain emotions and behaviors that promote health and well-being can also foster a sense of purpose. Some basic values like forgiveness, kindness, gratitude, and compassion go a long way in finding your purpose. When you practice these values in daily life, different incidents keep happening that in turn open a lot of doors.
- Listen to what people appreciate about you: Giving thanks can help you find your purpose. But you can also find purpose in what people thank you for. Although no research directly explores how being thanked might fuel a sense of purpose, we do know that gratitude strengthens relationships — and those are often the source of our purpose, as many of these stories suggest.
- Find and build a community: If you’re having trouble remembering your purpose, take a look at the people around you. What do you’ve got in common with them? What are they trying to be? What impact in the world are they creating? Is that impact a positive one? Can you join with them in that impact? What do they need? Can you give it to them? If the answers to those questions don’t inspire you, then you might need to find a new community that may help find your purpose.
- Write: Reading can help you find your purpose — but so can writing. This is a valuable reflective process for all people, and many take it one step further, by publishing my book or blog and turning it into a tool for social change.
In a nutshell, as per the Zen teachings, it’s simply learning to get outside your bubble.
In this path, it doesn’t matter what specific actions you take or the skills you learn to make people’s lives better. What career you choose isn’t important — what matters is the bigger purpose. You can always change your career and learn new skills later, as you learn other ways to live this purpose. You’ll learn over time.
But how to get out of the trap? Here’re some ideas:
- You must see when you’re stuck in the trap. Whenever you’re angry, frustrated, irritated, fearful, anxious, procrastinating, feeling hurt, you’re in the trap. These are signs.
- When you notice that you’re in the trap, open your mind and heart. See the bigger picture. Feel what others must be feeling. Try to understand rather than condemning. See how little your concerns and fears have been.
- I wish others well. Genuinely want their happiness, just as you want your happiness. See their suffering and wish for it to end or lessen.
- See how you can help. How can you lessen the suffering of others? Sometimes it’s just by paying attention — silent and nonjudgmental listening. Other times you just need to be there, just lend a hand. You don’t need to go around solving everyone’s problems — they probably don’t want that. Just be there for them. And see if you can make people’s lives better — create something to make them smile.
Once we get out of the trap and see things with a wider view, we can start a journey along a path to our purpose.
What matters is becoming bigger than yourself. Once you do, you learn that you’ve got a purpose in life.