Finding your purpose in life is about going in the direction that brings you the greatest satisfaction and joy and ultimately leads to a meaningful life. It’s a journey of self-discovery.
There sometimes seems to be a misunderstanding that a few lucky people seem to know their purpose since they’re born, and the rest just don’t. While it’s true similar people exist, they too have encountered some life obstacles and noticed little nuances that ultimately showed them the right way to go.
Nobody has a magic crystal ball to foresee their future and decide accordingly. But, what determines the success of unhappy individuals is if they believe their fate is already set. Because I can assure you there are very few things in human life that can’t be affected by our choices. And the choices you make are crucial as they can bring you closer (or further) to finding your purpose.
1. Let yourself explore
It’s a simple process, really. You just have to give yourself enough time and space to do it. We all just superficially learn what’s possible and go for the quickest and easiest results without taking the time to experiment a little bit. There’s this pressure to do what’s expected in society and your family. You know, the typical path - study, find a good job, stay there for a little bit, start a family, take a loan for a house, climb the corporate ladder…and then what? Probably mid-life crisis. I don’t want to sound harsh. It’s possible to be very happy even in this scenario but only when you first explore enough possibilities.
When you’re content where you are in life, you probably know your preferences and yourself very well. This could only happen thanks to all experiences you have had so far, positive and negative.
So, if you’re currently not so thrilled about life, it means you didn’t try enough to find a better path.
Think about it, if you do the work to try something different, instead of being stuck and waiting for things to miraculously change by themselves, you fill the blank spaces in your mind’s ladder of likes and dislikes. You add more data to the system, and in turn, it’ll give you more information on which life path to choose. This brings me to the next important thing.
2. Be willing to change
This should be your mantra. It applies not only to finding your purpose but also to other areas of life. There’s lots of self-help advice regarding this topic, including writing a list of your values, priorities and goals, and it’s undoubtedly an excellent tool to clarify your thoughts and intentions, but what you need most is action. Nobody has ever found their passion by sitting on the couch, thinking and writing about it, and then just returning to the usual routine.
It’s also possible you aren’t closer to your purpose because you were never allowed to dream, don’t know what to want, or were always told what you must do. It’s not your habit to make decisions and goals for yourself. Therefore you need to practice it along the way.
You should put yourself out there, constantly try new things, test different options and be open to changing direction when something doesn’t feel right. For example, it’s scary for many people to frequently try a new career. Fear of losing life’s stability and finances is bigger than staying in a crappy job. But what’s worse? Staying in that position quite possibly for a lifetime or taking a risk, trying a different route that’s more aligned with your values and eventually reaching greater success? Because more often than not, people who do what they love are naturally doing better in their careers and attracting better opportunities to grow.
You have only one life, and time’s moving quickly; you can’t waste it by doing what doesn’t fulfil you.
3. Ask yourself, “What do I currently like?”
Sometimes the problem is not a lack of courage or curiosity but a lack of ideas. You’re ready to pivot, but you just don’t know where. Take a close look around you. You don’t have to immediately switch the entire industry you’re in. For example, as a fresh architecture graduate, I liked finishing the project presentation more than actually creating floorplans, so I focused on that. I really enjoyed working in graphic programs, so I tried digital illustration. Ultimately, I realized graphics meant I love creativity and new ideas, which got me closer to self-realization and entrepreneurship. Do you see where I’m going? Be attentive to your thoughts and feelings and try to find connections around things that interest you.
If you like your company but wish to work more with people, you can find yourself a spot in the HR department. If you feel generally stuck, try travelling for a while if you can and see what that brings you. Look at what your friends are doing. Can you take some inspiration from them? Or better, can you join them in anything they do that you have never tried?
There are always some options. Whether you have the courage for smaller or bolder moves, all will bring new experiences.
You have to constantly move forward, or you never get closer
Now you can clearly see that one step leads to another. Your dream life won’t come to you by accident. Or maybe yes, and you’d be the happiest and luckiest person in the world. However, usually, everybody has to do the work to reach their ultimate destination and even then, you have to cherish that place, so it’ll last. So, if your first attempts to shake things up didn’t immediately bring fruit, don’t despair. You’ll be surprised what could be hiding around the corner. Keep moving forward, and you’ll soon be on the right path toward finding your purpose.