If only we knew when we were going to die. Ask anyone who has had a near-death experience and he or she will tell you, that it has forever altered their perspective and changed their attitude towards life. Most of them have used it as an opportunity to re-evaluate how they spend their time.
“We exist on this earth for some undetermined period of time. During that time we do things. Some of these things are important. Some of them are unimportant. And those important things give our lives meaning and happiness. The unimportant ones basically just kill time.”
“Discovering one’s purpose in life essentially boils down to finding those one or two things that are bigger than yourself… It’s not about some great achievement, but merely finding a way to spend your limited amount of time well.”
“The truth is, purpose isn’t something we just decide. It’s something we discover. More than that, it’s something we develop…Like a path that unfolds as you tread it, my purpose simply became what I was doing every single day.”
For 10 years, Jordan Harbinger has been interviewing successful people on his show and sharing their wisdom with others.
“How did I know to do it? I didn’t ‘know’ anything. I was just doing what I loved most, and living the process of becoming better and better at it.”
Jordan asked his friend, Richard, at what stage of his life he knew his purpose was to be a writer.
“I don’t know if I ever realized it. I never really decided that in my head.”
“So how did you find out?” Jordan asked.
“I wrote,” Richard replied.
If you are struggling to find meaning and purpose in your life, be kind to yourself by setting aside some time exclusively for you. Ask yourself what you really want. Look for clues. Try to recall what you loved doing as a child. Close your eyes for a minute and imagine what your life would be like if it were perfect. Then write a list of your most joyful experiences. Know your values, your needs and strengths. Be willing to be flexible. Take responsibility for your life and cultivate confidence and courage. Embrace uncertainty. Listen attentively to your inner voice.
Explore ways in which you could help others. Interact with positive people and have stimulating conversations. Spend time on a new hobby or learn a new skill. Practise and learn from your mistakes. Notice what you are willing to tolerate. It is only by actively participating in life, that we are able to discover our passion. Look for patterns. What comes naturally and easily to you? Listen to the feedback you receive from others, especially when you receive a compliment.
Once we know what our life purpose is, it acts as a powerful source of motivation. To add depth and meaning to our lives, it would be helpful to reflect on how we would like to be remembered. If we choose to go mindlessly through the motions of each day on autopilot, then a response to this poignant question wouldn’t really matter. But if we’d like to make a difference in the lives of others and in the world around us, then it opens up an opportunity to leave our mark, to build a legacy, by doing things differently.
Some will still choose complacency, by sticking to their usual routine of flopping on the couch and being easily distracted. Others will continue to be driven by a sense of urgency to do what’s important, not only because it makes a difference, but also because it gives their lives meaning and purpose.
“It’s only by imagining your non-existence that you can get a sense of what is most important about your existence.”
What is Your Purpose, the Golden Thread running through your life, guiding you along the way?