How To Find Your Purpose
This past year was by far the most challenging one of my life.
I had a quarter-life crisis, gave away basically everything that I owned, and re-connected with who I was as a person. Through this process I dug into a TON of self-discovery material. I went through dozens of books on finding my purpose, meditated for days on end about how I could most help others in this world, and racked up my phone bill with inspirational late night phone calls with my best friends.
Through this process I have discovered a vital theme when it comes to finding your path for your life… simplicity.
Often we know exactly what our purpose is… we are just too afraid to admit it to ourselves.
It takes ultimate courage to become what you can be. And what you can be, you must be.
It has been said that, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
So just in case you are still searching for some guiding light when it comes to finding your path or purpose in your life… here are some of the best questions that I have found on the subject.
1. What would you do if you KNEW you couldn’t fail?
This one has been tossed around and has become a bit of a cliché, but seriously, if you absolutely 100% knew that you couldn’t fail at it, what would you go after? Stop thinking about excuses and start thinking about your dreams. What makes your heart race with excitement? What makes your eyes tear up with thoughts of how epic THAT would be?
2. What goal would you chase if you knew that your parents/grandparents/family would never find out?
Many men, due to social and cultural conditioning, have a huge resistance towards chasing their dreams because that’s not what they are supposed to do. That is a dangerous word by the way. There is no hard and fast rule about what you should be doing in your life. There is no one-size-fits-fall blueprint… there is only you and your truth. The truth that no one else can touch, judge, or distract unless you let them.
At the end of your life, the only person you have to have a good relationship with is yourself. So are you going to tell your children and friends that you regret the majority of your life because you settled into conformity, or will your heart be bursting with joy because you went for what you actually wanted and achieved it? The choice is up to you.
3. What books do you read for fun?
And if you don’t read books very much, then what books/movies/forms of entertainment do you usually gravitate towards? You like these things for a reason and that says something about you.
When I first discovered this question, it really struck a chord with me. At the time (and still, today), I almost exclusively read books about psychology, social dynamics, and how to make intimate relationships thrive. So check out your book shelf/movie collection and get soul-searching.
4. If I were to offer you $5,000 to travel with me for a week through Bali, and by the end of it, I would want you to have improved my life in some way, what would you do for me?
This question is so much better than the “what would you gladly do for free?” question that people love to toss around. This question focuses on what you enjoy doing AS WORK. Work shouldn’t feel like work in the traditional sense that society accepts (aka that thing that you do that slowly sucks your soul out of your eyeballs), but passionate work that you love also shouldn’t feel like your leisure time. There’s a difference. There’s giving and taking… contribution and down time… yin and yang.
So how would you gladly improve my life if we were travel buddies? Would you build me a unique chair with your bare hands? Would you be happy to help me with my accounting? Would you want to spend time making delicious, healthy meals for us? What would make you come alive?
5. What dream did you have when you were younger (5-15 years old) that you let go of because it didn’t seem reasonable?
As we grow older, it is easy to forget where we came from. The fact of the matter is, a large percentage of our personalities and temperament are fixed by a young age. What you enjoyed doing, or dreamt of doing, when you were a younger man is still at least somewhat true for you today. Did you really enjoy doing acting in high school? You don’t have to become an actor, but maybe you really thrive being in front of people and would do well as a teacher. Do you miss the competitiveness of the team sports you played when you were in elementary school? Maybe you would kick ass in a sales job where you are constantly trying to best your own previous records.
So look inwards, look back, and then feel deeper than your thoughts. Your truth is always within you, and it’s waiting to be heard. If you have ignored your inner truth for too long, it might be a bit more quiet… just like a girlfriend that you ignore for too long, she will eventually become resentful and be less prone to speaking up. So listen hard. And just wait.
Finally, ignore all of the above, stop researching this topic… and ask yourself… “What do I know that I have to accomplish in my lifetime to be able to die feeling fulfilled?”
Good luck with your search.
Dedicated to your success,