Self Improvement Skills

How To Find Your Purpose (Finding Meaning)



Find purpose, means will follow.

- Mahatma Gandhi


He who has a why to live can bear almost any how.

- Socrates


1. The most important thing about finding your purpose in life is to 'get out of your personal bubble'.

Get out of your land of 'me' and enter the world of 'we'.


The land of 'Me/I' is a muddy poll of circular ripples of wants, frustrations, and easy irritations. Get out. Now.


2. You will know your purpose once you know the things you think are important (to you, to this world).


You will know what's important when you know what your values are for this life.


When people say, 'What should I do with my life?' or 'What is my life purpose?' what they’re actually asking is: 'What can I do with my time that is important?'

- Mark Manson


3. All important things in life involve sacrifice.


- You can't swim like Micheal Phelps and write like Hemingway, at least never at one go.


- You can't want to become the next tech startup hero and be afraid of risks.


4. Finding your purpose doesn't work like fast food.


It requires batch after batch of action and learning (what they call 'trial and error'), until you have found your calling.


5. Finding your purpose thus also means you being comfortable with failure.

So many people have talked about the value of failure in life, that this writer can't seem to add any new stuff here.


To put our faith in tangible goals would seem to be, at best, unwise. So we do not strive to be firemen, we do not strive to be bankers, nor policemen, nor doctors. WE STRIVE TO BE OURSELVES.

...we must make the goal conform to the individual, rather than make the individual conform to the goal.

- Hunter S. Thompson


6. You alone can't save the world, but you must do your bit.

And bit by bit...


7. If you only had a year to live

What would you do?


Live every day as if it is your last.

- Steve Jobs


8. You are looking back at your life at age 75.

What is your legacy/obituary going to be like?


What are the things you didn't/couldn't do. And we are not talking about some 'bucket list' here.


Did you do anything for this world?


The top five regrets of the dying

- I wish I'd had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

- I wish I hadn't worked so hard.

- I wish I'd had the courage to express my feelings.

- I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

- I wish that I had let myself be happier.


(Source: Bronnie Ware, The Guardian - Bronnie Ware is an Australian nurse who spent several years working in palliative care, caring for patients in the last 12 weeks of their lives.)


9. Don't think what others will think.


What you should not do, I think, is worry about the opinion of anyone beyond your friends. You shouldn’t worry about prestige. Prestige is the opinion of the rest of the world. Prestige is just fossilized inspiration.

- Paul Graham (2006)


10. Set your boundaries


The most important thing a creative per­son can learn professionally is where to draw the red line that separates what you are willing to do, and what you are not.

- Hugh Mcloed


11. Finding a purpose is not about doing stuff that makes you happy.


To repeat, it is about doing what's important.


12. Find a maven: In any period where you feel directionless, wavering, stuck with one foot in two different worlds – find your future self. He or she should be old – and preferably really old. You don’t want a 40-year-old if you are 20; you want someone in his or her 80s, 90s, or a centenarian if you can find one. You need your future self to have the truly long view, as well as the detachment that comes from a very long life.


(Source: Karl Pillemer, Who talked to 2000+ elderly people talking about their regrets)


13. Craft a 'Personal Mission Statement'.


This is optional.


This writer is still not sure what to put it in here.


When you Google for 'personal mission statement', you will come across tons of advice telling you to list the things that make you happy, your values and so on.


Or, you take this simple approach suggested by Jeff Goins:


What do I love?

What am I good at?

What does the world need?


(Source: 'The Art of Work', Jeff Goins)


This is your life. Do what you love, and do it often. If you don’t like something, change it. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you don’t have enough time, stop watching TV. If you are looking for the love of your life, stop; they will be waiting for you when you start doing things you love.

- The Holstee Manifesto


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