Discover Your Purpose in the Next 30 Minutes

This is part 6 of a 7-part series on how to discover your real purpose in life.

  1. How to Know If You are Living Your Life Purpose NOW
  2. 5 Reasons You Should Have a Life Purpose (if You Don’t Already Have One)
  3. Why Earning Money Is Not Your Real Purpose (And How To Know What Is)
  4. Two Important Things that Led Me to Discover My Real Purpose
  5. 6 Things to Consider Before Discovering Your Purpose
  6. How To Discover Your Real Life Purpose in 30 Minutes
  7. Living in Alignment with Your Purpose

Meaning of Life

“Let yourself be silently drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love.” Rumi

“Decide upon your major definite purpose in life and then organize all your activities around it.” Brian Tracy

There have been many exercises out there to discover your life purpose. Out of these exercises, I found the exercise recommended by Steve Pavlina to be the most helpful. I’ll be sharing how you can do this exercise in this article.

Set aside at least 30 minutes, with no distractions, before you start. If you feel that you are too busy to spare even 30 minutes, consider that 30 minutes is a minuscule investment for an output that will turn your whole life around. Seriously, it is from consciously taking time out to think about my life purpose that I live with clarity today. If you have time to surf/chat/watch TV/do random activities, you will have time for this. Cut the time out from there and do this activity.

Exercise #1: Consult Your Inner Self

The exercise to discover your purpose is really simple, and can be summarized in 4 easy steps.

  1. Equip yourself with a pen/paper or word processor. Do this when you’re by yourself.

  2. Answer the question: “What is my life purpose?”

  3. Write all thoughts that pop in. All of them, including miscellaneous ones. For every thought that pops in, continue asking that same question.

  4. Keep doing it until you finally reach the answer that makes you cry.

That’s it. Nothing fancy, nothing gimmicky. If you were expecting something lengthy and complicated, there really isn’t any. Discovering your life purpose isn’t a mystery because your inner self has the answer all along. It’s matter of talking to him/her directly and getting the answer from him/her, which is what we’ll be doing with this journaling exercise. Through this exercise, I discovered my purpose and so have many of my 1-1 clients and readers, and we have since lived our life on purpose.

10 Tips To Help You Get Your Answer

I’ve received many questions on this exercise. Some readers face difficulties, fears or resistances when doing it. Some get mind blocks. Some don’t get anywhere. Here are 10 tips:

  1. Write whatever comes to mind. Most participants face difficulty because they think that the first few answers must be the right one, but it can’t be further than the truth. These answers actually don’t matter; it’s about getting them out first so you can then get to the deeper answers which come from your soul
  2. Do not overthink. Don’t filter. Filtering will affect the progress. Just write down everything that comes to mind. Even if you come up with answers like ‘I want to just do nothing’ or ‘I want to laze away and sleep’, write these down and keep going. What you type here is not important; it is the final answer you reach at the end of the exercise that is your real purpose. In order to get to the final answer, you have to first get out all the irrelevant answers / thoughts. It also does not matter if your thought is a short phrase, a long sentence, repeated or seems irrelevant. The point is not to let your logical mind interfere and filter out anything.
  3. Nothingness is just a mid-point. If no thoughts are coming to mind, again repeat the question you chose. If you are thinking “I don’t know”, then write “I don’t know”. If you’re thinking nothing, then write “nothing”. Eventually something new will come up.
  4. Get past the socially conditioned flakes. If you have not experienced any clarity on your purpose in life before, you will find that your answers start off as imposed purposes. These are the flakes of social, media and environmental conditioning that are accumulated in your mind over the course of your life. Just write down them anyway because it helps to get them out of the way. Your liberating purposes will soon start popping in.
  5. Write your doubts. Some readers have told me that doubts/fears come up as they do the exercise. If so, just write those doubts/fears down. Then, ask yourself “What is my purpose?” If there are doubts that emerge, again write them down and repeat the question. Soon something new will come up.
  6. Resistance means you’re getting somewhere. Half-way through, you might get the nagging feeling to stop and do something else. Or maybe your mind is drawing up in a blank. Or maybe you feel tired. Press on; this means you’re getting somewhere.
  7. Get to the core. You might write activities and tasks, such as ‘watching television’, ‘hanging out with friends’, ‘exercising’. You might get to certain activities you are extremely passionate about, say, dancing. Get down to the root message behind that. What is it that dancing allows you to achieve that makes you love it so much? Is it because it lets you grow and become a better self? Is it because it lets you utilize your creativity? Is it because it lets you become in unison with your body and soul?
  8. The answers in the middle don’t matter at all actually. It’s about the final answer. That’ll be the answer where you hit resonance. (next step)
  9. Keep going till you hit the point of resonance. When you write, you will have answers here and there that resonate. Keep moving in the direction of emotions. Get to the answer that evokes your strongest emotions and resonates with the depth of your soul. This final answer is what you are looking for – not the ones in between. It can take as short as 30 minutes, to as long as 2 hours if need be. Just keep typing and get the answers flowing until you get there. Eventually you reach the right place, you’ll know – you’ll be at a point where you keep crying and you can’t stop, because you’ve touched the core and there is no doubt at all that this is what you want to do. When you reach emotional resonance, congratulations – You have defined your mission statement! 😀 Just refine it further until you feel everything about it is right.
  10. Use different sittings if need be. If you feel tired mid-point and you can’t continue, take a break and do it later. Don’t be frustrated if you’re not getting anywhere; this exercise will help you uncover the answer. Keep doing it at several times of the day or every day and eventually you will find the answer. It’s there inside you waiting to be uncovered.

Q: How would I know if I got the answer?

See #9 above. When you get to the answer, you’ll know. You’ll feel a strong burst of emotional energy that overwhelms you. Many readers burst out crying; some have tears streaming down their face; some were so happy that they were crying, laughing and grinning all at the same time. It’s that powerful. I cried too when I got to my answer doing the exercise back in 2006. I felt extremely touched, humbled, and grateful when I received the answer. And then when I did it after a few days (just to verify that it’s the right one), the same thing happened.

If you don’t know whether it’s the answer or not, it’s most probably not the deepest answer you can get it. Dig further. Separately, do it at separate sittings, without attaching yourself with this answer. If it’s truly the answer, it’ll come up again.

My Experience

When I did this exercise 2 years ago to discover my purpose, my first set of answers were social-conditioning junk, like earning money, becoming slim and pretty, becoming successful, etc. They started to disappear as I progressed through the exercise.

The first signs of my purpose started popping at #20 and I finally arrived at a full answer that fully resonated with me at #80. Some of you might take longer or shorter. For me, I was doing a lot of introspection on my life and flushing out mental waste for the few days before I did the exercise, so it helped facilitate the exercise.

Possible Results You Get

Here are some possible outcomes from this exercise:

  1. The answer truly connects with your heart and soul. For some, you might be so overwhelmed emotionally that you cry. (I did; many readers subsequently told me the same thing. They felt so emotional that tears were just streaming. For some they were both so ecstatic and touched that they were crying and laughing/smiling/grinning at the same time.)
  2. Your answer is a “pop” or an “a-ha!” and connects on some level
  3. You might get an answer that’s like “uhhh… okay. What does this mean?”
  4. You might not get any answer that connects at all

When you reach #1, you’ll know. If so, proceed on to the next step.

If you got #2, then continue on with the exercise. There are layers deeper that can still be uncovered.

If it’s #3 and #4, you have not gotten the real answer yet. Take a break and try this exercise tomorrow when you are fresh. Follow the instructions above and keep probing and questioning beyond what the answers you are getting. Your mind is like an ocean, and the answer lies at the depth at the ocean. All these answers are the water we are scooping out in order to get the resonating answer at the end.

Note that whether you get to #1 depends on the following:

a) Your breadth and depth of life experiences up till this point

The more contexts you have been exposed, the more likely you would have come into contact with what really stirs up your soul on the inside. As I have shared in my personal life story on how I came to discover my purpose, it was the active pursuit of growth and exposure to different contextual stimulants that allowed me to eventually realize what I truly want to do in life.

If you were unable to generate something tangible from looking within yourself, try looking toward the world on the outside – what have you not explored or seen? Go wild and open yourself to the widest latitude of contexts possible.

The more situations you expose yourself to, the higher the chance of finding what really sets you off on the inside. This is the same as the concept of heuristics – it refers to the process of continuously searching to find the optimal solution to a problem. In a matter of time, the process of trial and error will eventually lead you to your real purpose which clicks within you.

b) Your consciousness level

Green Field

The level of your consciousness is represented by your knowingness of yourself and the world. This is extremely important because it sets the stage for defining your purpose. If you have a warped understanding of reality, you will have a warped purpose. Read Map of Consciousness for more about consciousness and the 17 different levels.

By properly understanding the landscape of the entire universe you are in, you will be able to more accurately identify your purpose and build it on an unshakable foundation. It’s like getting a bird eye view of a maze, where you have a higher perspective of what’s going on.

Here are some ways to increase your consciousness:

  1. Adopt a world view of your life (both time and space)
  2. Continuously challenge social constructs and beliefs
  3. Drilling into root cause vs. dealing with effects in life
  4. Meditation and Brain Dumping Exercise helps as well
  5. If you have Personal Excellence Book Volume 1, there is a bonus article inside on 15 Ways to Increase Your Consciousness which you can check out

At the end of the day, remember that there is no right or wrong answer. Seriously, there is only the answer which is the most true for you. To date, I have never had any client with the same purpose statement as another. Some of their purposes are: “To love myself and others unconditionally”, “To live my best life via being persistent and taking continuous actions on my goals”, “To do the right things right”, “To be my best and touch others’ hearts”, etc. All of you are unique individuals and thus your purpose will be totally unique to you. It is what matters to you.

Q: What if I don’t get the answer?

It’s impossible to think that you’re not getting an answer because whatever answers you get from the exercise is already a progress vs. if you didn’t do it at all. So actually, you’re taking steps forward the whole time and it’s matter of continuing forward. Note down what are your last trend of answers in each sitting, then in the next sitting, continue on from that state. Soon you’ll get to the next level, then the next, and then it’ll lead you to somewhere.

If you’re feeling tired from the exercise, do it in a different time when you’re more refreshed. Bookmark this article; it’s not going to run away, don’t worry. Re-read what’s been written in the steps and follow the 10 tips closely. The final answer is inside you all along. It’s really only a matter of time before you uncover it.

This article will also help: How To Know What You Want To Do In Life

Exercise #2: Refine Your Statement

Now that you have gotten the answer to your life purpose, now it’s about tidying/crafting it into a proper mission statement. A mission statement is a statement that states your objective of life. It’s meant to be concise and to the point, so it’s usually just a few lines long. You might have heard about companies having mission statements, and it’s really the same thing, just applied to our life. [ Read my 2009 classic: You are the CEO of your life ]

There are no hard and fast rules on how to do this, but below are some good pointers:

  1. Meaningful & to the point – 2-3 lines. Your final statement should be about 2-3 lines. Many of you in 30DLBL program shared long statements of over 3 lines, and while they convey strong power, you want to make sure your mission statement is sharp and concise (2-3 lines) so you can immediately remember them no matter where you are. If you have several lines, that’s great – work from there and pick out the key essence of what you are conveying with them. Your purpose should be long enough such that it means something to you and concise enough so it’s easy for you to remember.
  2. Action-form. It should be framed as an action, such as “To live to my highest potential and be the best I can be”, “To bring love and joy to everyone in the world”, etc. Your purpose is trigger you into action continuously.
  3. Use words that resonate. All the words used in your life purpose statement should resonate with you.
  4. Charge you up into action. How do you feel when you see your statement? Do you feel inspired? Do you feel nothing? Slightly energized? Or do you feel all charged up and ready to burst into action? Your mission statement should make you come alive when you see it. The stronger you feel, the more aligned the statement is with what you want.
  5. Direction, not destination. Just like how you can never ever reach north, your statement should be an action which is an ongoing journey.

My Life Purpose

After doing the writing exercise with my subconsciousness and consciously evaluating my purpose, I arrived at my purpose below (which I have mentioned in my article on my personal story). The purpose is two-fold:

1) “To unite the world as one single consciousness: To touch others’ lives, enable them to achieve their highest potential and live their best life.”

2) “To reach my highest level of consciousness: To achieve my highest potential and live my best life; To live consciously and freely in truth, love and power.”

Please do share with me your experience and the output you generate from this exercise – I would love to read about it.

After Defining Your Purpose

The most important thing to realize is even after defining your life mission statement, it will change in the future. Just like you evolve as a person throughout the journey, your perceptions of life’s meaning will change too.

Make sure to review your purpose statement periodically (e.g. every 3 months at the beginning, followed by 6 months, then yearly) to ensure that it resonates with who you are. It is possible that you have undergone changes or obtained new revelations in your world beliefs which makes your purpose irrelevant to you. This is just like how companies need to regularly review their mission statement to ensure that it has not been made obsolete.

Now that you have discovered your new found purpose in life, it’s time to integrate it in your life. In the last part of this series, we will discuss on how to reconcile your current life with your new purpose.

This is part 6 of a 7-part series on how to discover your real purpose in life.

  1. How to Know If You are Living Your Life Purpose NOW
  2. 5 Solid Reasons You Should Have A Purpose
  3. Why Earning Money Is Not Your Real Purpose (And How To Know What Is)
  4. 2 Important Things that Led to My Discovery of My Real Purpose
  5. 6 Things to Consider Before Discovering Your Purpose
  6. Discover Your Life Purpose In The Next 30 Minutes
  7. Living in Alignment with Your Purpose

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