Why is it Important to Know Your Purpose?
How often in life do you have certain clarity? How often do you know that what you are doing is going to be furthering you towards your own individual dreams and goals? For most people, the answer is close to never. We live our lives as we have been raised: to go to school, to learn what you are supposed to learn and then be rushed off to college where near everyone is unprepared to handle the responsibility of figuring out their future.
When I went to college I certainly had no clue what I was doing, other than I knew that college was supposed to be the next step in life. For the first three years, I had the typical college experience. Going out to parties, studying for my classes, getting myself positioned for medical school. Then something changed in my life. I started to ask myself why.
Why was I doing what everyone else was doing? Why was I working so hard to go to medical school when I never really knew the reason behind it? Well it came down to one thing, I had no idea what I truly wanted to do with my life. And to be honest, there are very few people who can confidently say that they have a concrete purpose in life. After a long time of reflection, reading and educating myself, I finally figured out what I wanted to do. The only thing you have to do in order discover your own path is to identify your why.
Once you have found your purpose and discovered the values that come from it, you can use that as the basis of everything you do. You can ask yourself if the actions you are currently taking are going to align you with the blueprint that you want your life to be. If the answer is ever no, then simply shift your actions to those that are value driven and work towards your purpose. This is the most effective way to live your life on your terms and in a way that will derive true happiness for yourself.
How to Discover your Why
For some of you this may be very easy. For others, finding your why could be the most difficult thing you ever do. It takes a lot of reflection and understanding of your true self to dig these out of you. It took me some time, well a lot of time to discover my own why, so I will give you the most helpful tools and steps that I can to help you find your true passions and values in life.
Ask yourself this one question.
The first thing you need to do is ask yourself this one question. This alone could be the baseline for finding out what you really want in life. If you were on your deathbed, looking back at the last 100 years of your life, what will you have wanted to accomplished? What career milestones will you have wanted to reach? What change would you have wanted to bring to the world? How do you want your friends and family to remember you? Really think on this one. If you can see 100 years into the future and discover what you will have wanted to accomplish, then you can start planning your life around these accomplishments.
Find your values and what brings you joy.
Now it is time to look into your past. Think of times that you were immensely happy. Think of times that you really felt accomplished or proud of yourself. These are likely times that you were living by your values. Times that you were truly doing something that you enjoyed. Now use these experiences and look at the principles and values that you were using when you did these things.
Where you hardworking and future minded? Were you doing something to help others? For myself, I had to spend a lot of time figuring out my why by discovering my core values in life. I discovered that I am passionate, like to help others succeed, and really strive to do something to impact the world in a positive way. These are a few of my values and they led me to find out why I am doing what I am doing.
Another technique for you do find your values is to simply write down five people you most respect. Mentors, family members, leaders, people who you think do great things. Now write down one or two reasons why you hold these people so highly in your life. When you have a list of ten things or so, you are actually looking at a list of ten values that you admire and ten values that you see in yourself. The reason that you hold those five people so highly is because it is how you see yourself and how you want to live your life.
Applying Your Why
Now you should have at least an idea of what it is that makes you do what you do. By looking into yourself and asking these kinds of questions you have discovered part of who you really are. So what do you do with this new knowledge? Well, what you have done is lay the foundation for your actions. If you know the purpose behind you, then you know the reason that you want to go out and be an adventurer, or go out and build your business, or go out and combat global issues like hunger and disease. When you know what it is that drives you, you can really venture forth and do anything.