Two Important Things that Led Me to Discover My Real Purpose

This is part 4 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

(Originally written and published on Dec 20 2008. Updated on Feb 21 2010)

Discovering My Purpose

In this article, I will be sharing my experience on pursuing imposed purposes by others for over a decade, what happened along the way; how I eventually realized that they were fallacies and how I finally came to discover my real life purpose. It is a long article (over 6,300 words!) which chronicles the various segments of my life and my actions during those stages. In the process, I found there were two important things which led me to my real purpose, which you will find out as you read on.

The article is so long because I want to ensure that the essence of what led to my discovery is properly encapsulated here, so that you, the reader, can get the most value. I could have written a 500 word article and made it short and snappy, but the effect will never be the same. This article is for those who are truly looking to discover what their life purpose is, not for people looking for a quick read. The crafting, writing and refining of this article took me a span of a few days, so I truly hope it will be beneficial to you.

As you read, bear in mind that these represent my opinions – I am not trying to subject you to my way of thinking and I have no underlying agenda except to share with you my personal lessons in helping you be a conscious creator of your life. To be able to live your best life, I urge you to adopt an open attitude toward everything you see in life, develop an inquisitive, questioning mindset and evaluate objectively in order to discover the best possible truth for yourself.

Inculcation of imposed purposes as a kid

When I was growing up, I was constantly told by peers, teachers and parents alike that our objective in life was to be successful and be financially abundant. People who have achieved such statures were aspirational figures which we should model after. Not doing well in school was associated with jeopardizing that end outcome – it was linked with failure and our eventual downfall. Students with poor results or in less reputable schools were generally frowned upon and regarded with shame.

Among us students, our conversations generally circled around studying, preparing for exams and doing projects. Life’s biggest highlights were finishing exams, scoring well and having holidays. During holidays, some of my friends who were more competitive would be studying ahead for the next semester. Almost everyone had private tuition, on top of the extra tuition that school teachers were already providing. Life as a student was about studying and doing well in school.

The equation was simple: Get good grades => Get a good job => Earn a lot of money => Success.

Since I was too young to assess what was a route of real meaning, I trusted in the judgment of others around me and followed suit in the path. So that’s what I fixated myself with. Get good grades, so I could earn lots of money. Earn lots of money, because it was the key indicator of success in our society. These goals became deeply ingrained in me.

It became kind of like a mantra over time.

While I was set on achieving these material goals, I continued to wonder about the question on the meaning of life. I would think deeply about it, but since I could never quite find an answer, I would just park it aside. That was just a temporary fix though, because the question was always somewhere floating in my mind. It would arise every now and then, only to be parked again because I couldn’t find any answer to it. And since I didn’t have any real answer, I would continue to seek recluse in what I had known by others to be the purpose of living – monetary gains and success.

My first experiences living out my imposed purposes

Throughout my schooling life before university, I was regarded as a top performer by peers and teachers. I was consistently the recipient of many scholastic awards, one of the top students in my standard and a model student. If people were to extrapolate my results as a kid to adulthood, it would be safe to say that I was on my path to living out my intended purpose.

When I was 15 in 1999, I had my own computer and internet access for the first time. At this point, one of my friends told me about this guy online who was earning money through his website. I was immediately intrigued since I knew earning money was an important goal we needed to achieve. I started picking up website and graphic design by myself and developing a site on the same topic (desktop enhancements), since it was already a proven success model. I created the content from scratch, learned about internet marketing and monetization online. As traffic started to pick up, I started creating sister sites to ride off the success, including a competition site, a rankings site, a webring, etc.

At that point I noticed Neon Genesis Evangelion was the most popular anime (still arguably is), so I created a fan site to capitalize on its booming market potential, even though I had never watched the series before. Basically, getting traffic and earning money was my key objective and I was doing everything to attain that.

By 2000, I had become the owner of a huge network of no less than 5 sites, with each site being highly successful and regarded in its own genre. At its prime, my sites had half a million visitors a month, which were very high in the early days of the internet. I was getting regular checks in the mail from my advertisers. If earning money and being successful were supposed to be my purpose, I was definitely achieving it in my own way online. Where peers around me were busy studying, I was already earning money and partially living out the purpose I set myself out to do. I was very satisfied with my achievements.

Increased alignment with my imposed purposes

When I was 18, I made an arbitrary goal in the future to earn $1 million dollars and get a convertible. In Singapore where I live, a car is seen as a symbol of luxury and success, due to the high prices. The limited land area in Singapore resulted in hiked prices for cars and turned them into luxury goods. Convertibles are in a different, higher league of luxury goods compared to regular cars. There was a time when my friend drove me in his Toyota Celica – a slick car which inspired me to get a convertible when I grow up.

The education system in Singapore, like that of other countries, is segmented into different parts. The conventional route is to move from nursery, to kindergarten, to primary school, to secondary school, to junior college (if grades permit), to university, and finally to the work force. That is a whole stretch of nearly 2 decades of schooling. The objective of each stage is to graduate with top results so you can enter into a good school in the next stage. The ultimate objective of the education system, which many people would agree is to get a reputable, high paying job.

When it was time to choose my university course, I decided to enter business school out of all possible specializations as it represented to me the pinnacles of wealth and success in the world. I wanted to be in whatever leads me to the most success and money, in alignment with my purpose.

After entering business school, the importance of wealth and success was further reinforced if anything. Everyone’s focus was to get a high CAP (Singapore’s equivalent of GPA), build resumes, secure internships and ultimately employment with top companies. The common buzz among teachers and students was on how to secure a position in a top company – preferably a MNC (multi-national corporation) – that had excellent growth opportunities, attractive benefits and a aspirational reputation. In campus, there were plenty of recruitment talks, career seminars, networking events, company-sponsored competitions and what not. All of them were invariably linked to preparing for employment in a MNC.

I kept myself pretty busy in my university years. Studies-wise, I focused on what influenced the results, spending time on assignments, tests and projects and skipping lectures which I felt were a waste of time. I was a Dean’s Lister (I eventually graduated as the top student in Marketing, which was my major, and was honored with accolades for being the most outstanding Business student). Within the school, I was actively involved in core-curricular activities. Outside school, I was running my own graphics and web design business. I was also giving academic tuition to kids, as part of my drive to earn more money.

When I was a second year, I applied for a summer internship with the most prestigious Fortune 100 company for brand management – also touted as the dream job for marketers. Because of how highly coveted a placement with them was, I was vying with hundreds of other candidates for that internship. After 6 rounds of different qualifying tests, including an interesting second interview, I was awarded the internship. After the internship, I received a pre-placement offer from them due to my strong internship performance, 2 years before I was supposed to graduate.

Overall, I felt I was living to my purpose of earning money and being successful. I became more and more confident in my abilities and knew that as long as I drive toward my goals in life, I’ll definitely achieve them at some point.

Taking a step back from everything

As I felt that the learning curve in school was already plateauing, I decided to drop my fourth year of honors and graduate 1 year earlier. Since I had already achieved the widely inoculated purpose of school (which was to secure an employment), I wanted to spend the last year of school relishing in life. I discontinued my graphics designing business and tuition assignments at the same time.

For the first time in my life, I wasn’t being looped in any chase or pursuit. I was basically given the gold pass to sit back, introspect and watch as people around me lead theirs.

Everything was seemingly in the right place – yet interestingly, I felt that I was a missing bigger picture. Sure, I was completing my education, which was regarded as the first major hurdle of life. I had already secured a promising career with the best company for marketers. While the achievement of these goals gratified me hugely at first, they felt strangely empty after a short period.

Have you ever thought about your future before? Not just a simple 1-5 years. Not just 10 years either. I’m referring to 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70 years later – even to the point of death and beyond. If you have tried to do that before and put serious thought into it, you probably would find it an extremely consciousness-raising experience.

My free time by myself left me with a lot of time to think about myself. I first started off thinking about the present. I looked at what I had carved out so far – in school, in the early beginnings of work, in my other endeavors such as my designing business – and felt satisfied. There were things here and there which I could have done better in, but overall I was happy. I felt that the past 22 years were optimally lived on the whole and my parents would be proud of what I had accomplished. Proper foundations had been laid for a better life in the future.

I thought about 5 years later. Where would I be if I continued on my current path? In 5 years, I would probably be excelling in my career, raising up the rungs of the corporate world, earning a sizable sum of money, gaining material goals (big house, nice car) and enjoying a comfortable life. I started speculating the amount of money I would be earning then, and the thought of earning a lot of money was quite inspiring. It was an indicator that I was meaningfully leading life.

I thought about 10 years later. In 10 years, I would probably have earned a few millions and be living luxuriously. I would be even more well-off – snuggled in a multitude of different material possessions. Career-wise, I would be well ahead, in a high, leadership position. I would want to have traveled across a large part of the world then, whether as part of my work or in my own recreation. I might possibly be married then. Given my material wealth, I would be able to give my parents an early retirement.

By most standards, the scenario looked pretty good. It fitted the society’s picture of an ideal life to a tee. I wondered what would be needed to take it at a higher level and largely drew up a blank. I didn’t know exactly what else I should aim for beyond that. Maybe I could switch industry, to consultancy or a different corporation, to expose myself to a different environment. Consultancy was a highly aspirational career due to the high perks, the exclusivity and the intensive challenges. Maybe I could set higher goals to earn even more money, since wealth was a measure of worth and power. Maybe I could start planning for kids too as a next step beyond marriage.

Then I projected 20 years into future. What if I had achieved those goals then? Worked and thrived in a consultancy, earned even more money, gained socially-conferred statuses, had kids? What was next? I thought my focus could be switched to my family. Perhaps my family and I could migrate to a quiet, country side where we could enjoy a peaceful, relaxing lifestyle. For some reason, I had always thought I would migrate to a western country at some point in the future and this looked like a perfect time to do that.

With that in mind, I projected 30 years into the future. What would be in store for me here? My children would be teenagers by then. What would I be doing? What should I set myself to do? I couldn’t think of anything much. The only recurring goals were to earn more money, gain recognition and build a loving family. These seemed like safe and reliable goals to pursue, since they were endorsed by largely everyone in the world.

Then I thought about 40 years later. More money, more success. Possibly would have grand kids by then. Enjoying the bliss of family togetherness.

50 years later. Relishing in a life of luxury, surrounded by symbols of success.

60. Same thing.


At the point of death.

After death.

That was when the whole picture looked different.

When I started to project beyond death – beyond the physical world, everything which I had been inculcated as important – money, nice apartment, luxurious car, material possessions, career, status, accolades – suddenly lost their significance.

A missing bigger context in life

When I looking at life beyond the context of death, it made no sense to me that our purpose was to create physical possessions and human connections which would ultimately cease to exist after death. I explored many purposes I have been inculcated with before but they just crumbled when put in the context of the bigger picture of life and death.

For example, to earn money and be successful. Money was clearly important to me at that moment. It would be even more important in 10 years, 20 years, as I pursue other goals, such as traveling around the world, starting a family or buying a house. It was also good to have a stash of money to safeguard against rainy days. Having money was somewhat an indicator of the quality of life I would lead.

But when I thought about the future – beyond physical existence, money stopped to matter anymore. No matter how much money I visualized myself having, it could not be taken to my afterlife. It did not matter if I had $1 million, $5 million, $100 million, $10 billion dollars – they would all be worthless after death. All the money I had spent my life earning and surrounding myself with, would be nothing more than a fluffy accessory that looked good, but served no deep meaning. Its impermanence made me realize how hollow of an end goal it actually was.

It was not just with regards to money either. It also applied to other commonly expounded goals, such as gaining fame and recognition or acquiring material possessions. I simulated different scenarios in my mind, where I pictured achieving pinnacle success in them. Each time, the situation looked good in the physical life, only to totally change when it came to after death. All the things which I had spent so much time and energy building up stopped mattering beyond physical existence. I wouldn’t care if I was CEO of the largest consumer goods company, earned $100 million dollars annually, lived in a huge 4-storey mansion or owned a Ferrari when I transgress death because all these would be virtually meaningless then.

Another example was in the area of social relationships – such as being filial, starting a family and fostering strong relationships with friends. A relationship is essentially a dyad made up of two individuals. When the individuals are gone, the relationship itself is lost as well. I will die someday, and so will the people I forged the relationships with. Why should we forge strong social bonds and relationships if they are going to disappear when we die?

In addition, it made no sense to me that we are part of continual life and death which seemingly has no end to itself. Why are we brought into this world, if we are to die? Why is new life constantly being created only to end at some point? What is the real objective of life? What is the end point to this cycle? The more I thought about it, the more bizarre and confused I was. Everything was bringing more questions, not answers.

All this made me realize that there is possibly a much bigger context to life than what people around me were painting. The purposes I had been pursuing in the past decade of my life seemed to be flawed. I do not deny that there are merits behind those inculcated purposes, but they clearly do not stand by themselves as single purposes. It seems that there is a bigger framework in the background that holds all these together, a bigger framework which I was not privy to yet.

I started sounding out my friends around me. I tried to share with them my revelations about the hollowness of the goals we had been pursuing. I tried to trigger them to think further on about our lives. Everyone was too busy studying, sending resumes and securing interviews. While some intellectually understood what I was talking about, there was no emotional resonance behind that.

Suddenly, I felt I was all alone in the world and in my thoughts. It was a kind of loneliness I had never experienced before.

Pursuit to discover my real purpose

On hindsight, it was only when I stopped getting caught in the whole frenzy that I realized how drone-like it was. As I observed them on the sideline, everyone was just caught in a race of some sort. They were busying themselves to achieve a certain outcome, but did not really stop to think about whether that outcome was something they wanted. They were worrying day-in, day-out about their results, their interviews, their job placements. Nobody so much as thought about their life beyond that. What kind of life were they looking for after school? What kind of life were they looking for in 5, 10, 20 years? No one really thought about that. Their objective of life seemed to have been simplistically narrowed down into 1) getting a good GPA (or CAP by the Singapore system) 2) getting a job offer. It was if they were just sleepwalking through their lives.

Ironically, that was probably a very adept descriptor of myself, before I turned inward to think in depth about my future.

Interestingly, despite all the time we spent at school, there was never any formal education on purpose. Despite all the time we spend living, the fraction of time people spent contemplating on their purpose is miniscule compared to the time they spend doing other things. Like say, studying, eating, making money, chatting, watching tv, going out and sleeping. Surely something of such fundamental importance in our lives deserves more attention than anything else! Everyone seemed to be more involved in going through the motions everyday than finding out why they are actually here.

Reading books on purpose

I tried reading self-help books on purpose. Many of them give half-baked answers without tackling the question at its core. Instead of helping the reader to discover his or her purpose, the authors declare what their purpose is (along the lines of ‘serving the highest good of all’, ‘unite with god’, ‘be happy’ or ‘live life to the fullest’) and assume it to be the reader’s purpose as well. Their purposes have their own merits; but I was not looking for them to ‘tell’ me what my purpose was just like everyone else in life, I was looking for pointers on how to find it. I was running into another dead end.

Reading different sites and materials

I also started becoming an avid reader on various consciousness-raising sites, such as Zaadz (now known as Gaia) and Global Mindshift. One especially noteworthy piece I read was of this winning essay from World Bank. World Bank winning entries are essentially inspiring essays that detailed the writers’ passion and conviction toward serving various world causes, stemming from their real and heartfelt life experiences. The piece which struck me was from this writer whose whole life changed when best friend died in a terrorist bombing. While I had intellectually known there were a lot of mortalities in this world that needed addressing, to read the personal account of someone who had lived through it was totally different.

Seeking meaning in religion

How about my religion? I was born into Buddhism; my parents are devoted Buddhists. I would go to the temples whenever I was expected to do so by my parents. But beyond that, I did not have any understanding or strong emotional attachment toward Buddhism. A funny thing I observed was whenever I tried to make any comment or ask any question regarding Buddhism, my parents deemed me as being deviant and would immediately shush me up. It was bizarre and made no rational sense whatsoever. I have no question of doubt that my parents had personal experiences which strengthened their faith but I felt that they are overall unconscious followers.

As I was growing up, I remained largely a detached Buddhist. Most of my friends were like me; they were born into their religions and adopted it as part of their lives; versus it being a choice made consciously. I assumed religion was as an outlet for people to seek solace in life.

With regards to other religions, I never paid much attention to them since it was a widely known fact that religious texts have been written, rewritten and modified over the ages by people with their own sets of agendas. I was also not able to reconcile with how all the different religions claims that what it advocates is the single truth. Shouldn’t there should only be one single truth in the world? Which religion represents the real truth? Who is right and who is wrong? If there can only be a religion that is correct, how can all the people following a different religion be blind to the truth? Since there were only questions but no answers, I kept the topic of religions in the back burner and never thought about it much.

Over time though, my curiosity for the truth started nagging at me. The need for an answer became even stronger when I was trying to figure out the actual purpose of our life. While it is easy to just write off religions and claim that the followers are unconscious or disillusioned, there are way too many people in question for the assumption to stand (for example, we are talking about at least 400 million people for the Buddhism (fifth largest religion) and over 2.2 billion people for Christianity (the largest religion)!). For a certain religion to survive and withstand the test through the ages, I truly believe there has to be a certain level of truth behind it.

I started examining different religions and their beliefs. When I compared them, I observed many commonalities and same underlying themes such as existence of a certain larger power we can tap into, avocation of values like love, compassion, selflessness, wisdom and courage, use of meditation to attain a peace of mind, observed affirmative phenomena arising from positive beliefs, etc. While the religions come under different names and had different practices/rituals, they are really the same in essence! I started to conclude that there is one single universal truth, with each religion being the product of viewing that truth with individual cultural lens.

Instead of writing off religions, I finally realized that everyone in this world with their own sets of faiths and beliefs are all essentially believing in the same thing. They are just doing it in a different manner and with a different interpretation.

Subsequently, I found out that there is an existing movement (New Age) which is in alignment with what I had concluded (New Age is about seeking the universal truth and the attainment of the highest individual human potential) as well as everything I have experienced in life thus far.

With that, I broke away from being a Buddhist, since it no longer reflected my new understanding of the world. Me being a non-Buddhist does not mean that I do not believe in Buddhist teachings – in fact, my revelation made me more closely connected to Buddhist teachings, as well as beliefs of all other religions, than when I was a Buddhist. We are really all believing in one and the same thing.

Discovering my real purpose

While my revelation above on religions shed light on one of my big questions about life, it still did not answer my fundamental question – What is the point of (human) life and my life?

I started examining on what would last through time and space. The answer that continuously came up was this – our consciousness. Our consciousness is the state of our awareness and essence of our existence. To put it in layman’s term, consciousness is our soul. When we die, we lose our physical bodies. But, our consciousness remains in this universe and move on to a different plane. Depending on your beliefs, you may or may not agree with this – discussion on this will take quite a lengthy article, which is outside the scope of this.

So if consciousness is the one thing lasts through time and space, it will also be the single thing that is worth developing in our life time. And let’s say we keep developing our consciousness. What is the net outcome of its evolution? We can’t keep growing and growing, can we? There has to be a certain end point to it. There has to be a certain tangible result which we are striving for.

I imagined myself evolving to a higher level of consciousness. I also imagined everyone else doing the same thing. The highest, ultimate point I could fathom from scaling up on the goal is unity of the world. This goes beyond the normal ‘world peace’, ‘utopia’ and ‘uniting the world’ proclamations you typically hear. This is the pure unity of the consciousness of everyone – of every single person in the world.

For us to achieve that state, the individual consciousness has to first be at its pinnacle level – probably Enlightenment. It isn’t enough too – Beyond that, we have to enable others around us to reach the highest level of consciousness. When everyone attains that, that’s when our consciousness can then ultimately merge and become one single whole. As to whatever happens after – we will probably know when we reach there.

(To read more about consciousness, check out Map of Consciousness where I share the 17 different levels of consciousness.)

This made me realize that perhaps the reason why we are trapped in the loop of life and death is because everyone is still vibrating at different levels of consciousness. Many are still stuck at lower levels of consciousness such as fear, apathy, anger, guilt and grief. The average consciousness level of the world now is at Courage, which is 8 levels below the highest possible level of Enlightenment. If all the individuals in the world are to attain our highest level of consciousness one day, the cycle of life and death can probably then end, since we are all united as a single whole.

So this was it. This was when I realized my purpose of life and my life. It was to reach my highest level of consciousness and to help others do to same (i.e. achieve our highest potential, which is actually the vision of Personal Excellence as well) – so we could eventually be united as one whole one day.

It was quite an ironic realization too: When I was young, I always thought people who proclaimed about uniting the world, pursuing humanitarian causes, helping other people, etc were ambitionless. Discussions on helping people, giving back and contribution never deeply interested me. Yet by an interesting twist of fate, I now realize that helping others grow is actually the core reason for my being and my existence, because it is fundamental to achieving the end goal of unity of the world. There is nothing of higher meaning than to be able to pursue this in full fervor and passion.

To crystallize my purpose into a mission statement:

  • “To touch others’ lives, help them achieve their highest potential and live their best lives”
  • “To achieve my highest potential and live consciously and freely in truth, love and power”

A new found meaning and passion in life

From then on, I started to embark on my new purpose. This purpose gives me such rich clarity, passion, joy and fulfillment that I cannot imagine living without it. Everyday, I live life with such incredible energy and zest, single-mindedly driven on this path. The thought of being in action, committing myself to helping every single person in this world achieve their highest level of consciousness just fuels me to no end. It is like an internal energy reserve that never runs out.

Whenever I see people living lives that are less than what they are really capable of, I would be so charged up with trying to wake them from their trance. I would be looking to release the mental shackles they place on themselves, their abilities and their worths. And whenever I do that, there would be a sheer sense of unadulterated joy, passion and satisfaction that swells up inside of me and overflows through my being.

As simple as these two purpose statements are, they guide me in my everyday actions and decision making. Whenever I am faced with a dilemma, I look back to my purpose to renew my clarity. For example, when I resigned from my job in Oct ’08, people around me reacted with varying levels of resistance and shock. Some could not phantom why I would ever make a decision like this. But when I look at my purpose, it was a very simple and easy decision – my purpose was to help other people discover their purpose and achieve their highest potential. The career I was in was not in direct alignment with that. Even when I eventually decided this month to return to corporate work next year, it was based on a conscious assessment that this is my current best option which will enable me to live my purpose most fruitfully.

I personally believe that one day, when everyone achieves their highest consciousness, the world will unite and we will move on to the next level of existence. It may not come in the near future, but I believe we are definitely starting to reach there. Just look at the increased in global movements and mind shifts that has been taking place in the past decade – it’s undeniable that humanity as a collective has reached a new level of consciousness and maturity. A recent poll ‘Is Humanity Growing Up’? on the perceived social maturity of humanity points that we are at the adolescence stage right now – no doubt this will come to change in years to come.

Note on Apr 2010 – Today, almost 4 years after originally discovering my real purpose, I continue to live fiercely in alignment with my purpose. If it is even possible, I’m more passionate about it than I was in the past. And this passion increases with each moment. The journey in these past few years has helped me to realize on many different levels that this is indeed what I want to do. It has driven me on to do things I would otherwise never have done. I wrote about this in my end of 2009 posts:

Two Most Important Things That Led to My Discovery

As I look back, I realized there were two key things which enabled me to discover my real purpose.

1. Discovery of Real Purpose <-> Discovery of Self

Firstly, I was able to discover my real purpose because I had achieved a certain level of self-awareness. The discovery of our purpose, is really tied to our discovery of ourselves. Without first knowing yourself, you can’t discover what you want to set as the meaning of life. You have to first know yourself to gain answer to your questions in life.

Since the early years of my life, I have been actively embarking on my personal growth. I would set and pursue many goals, be it academic, business, recreational, financial, etc. I opened myself to learn and explore. No matter what I was doing, I would set the highest standards for myself. I would go all out in everything I did. Of course, I metwith different obstacles along the way, but I would overcome them in the matter of time with persistence, hard work and faith. It was these obstacles which were the real growth enablers. If it had been a smooth sailing path, I wouldn’t have too different of a person today.

Even the active pursuit of my imposed purposes were lessons in growth. As I started living in line with them, it made me realize they were not what I wanted. If I had not been actively pursuing them, I would not have found that out. I would still be seeing them as the meaning of life.

It is all these experiences which helped me discover who I am. What I want, what I believe in. By knowing myself, I was then able to discover what I really want to do in life.

2. Your Purpose Should Be Timeless and Universal

Secondly, I learned a real purpose is universal and stands true across the context of time and space. Time, meaning it should hold true whether you are looking at your purpose 10,000 years ago or 10,000 years later. Space, meaning it’s still what you want to do no matter where you exist in the universe.

Things like money, material possessions, recognition, etc are only relevant to our present, physical reality. They lose significance when we start seeing life as something that exists beyond our current physical plane, and our current lifespan. Say, if I were to die today, all the money, material possessions, recognition, statuses, etc would no longer matter, since they don’t exist outside of this reality. To relentlessly acquire them as ends in themselves would be the equivalent of just building a candy fort around you – one which would crumble sooner or later. This made me realize my previous purpose to earn money and gain success were not my real purposes.

By viewing life through an entirely different lens – in its own entirety – I was able to identify my purpose which was timeless, ageless, limitless. My now purpose of achieving my highest consciousness and helping others achieve their highest consciousness will never be obsolete, because at the end of the day we are all consciousness. This makes my purpose one that is permanent, unshakable and impervious to anything, and thus makes it empowering to live in line with.

In the next part, we will go discuss in detail on about the 6 important guidelines to consider when identifying your purpose. Your purpose is going to your motif which will guide you through every act in life, so it is critical that you define it accurately.

This is part 4 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 Real Life Purpose In The Next 30 Minutes
  7. Living in Alignment with Your Purpose

Image: mikebaird

  • Ryan

    Hey Celes,

    I jumped over to your site from the comment on my blog. I’m subscribed, and I’m hooked. I love this article, I find myself struggling with all the money making “ideas” I have, and the things I love to do.

    I love writing about ways to find happiness, personal improvement and weight loss, and my true passion is film making. It’s nice to see articles like this that remind me that I need to follow those things that give me fulfillment, not just ideas that might bring me a full wallet but not time with my kids or my passions.

    Thanks for this, keep it coming, I’ll be reading.

  • Armen Shirvanian

    One point that was brought up here, that I am glad to follow up upon, is the one about the way people generally look at their time. More individuals having a context to life might lead to more positive interaction between people in public settings, as they would realize that there is nothing relevant holding them back from taking large social or entrepreneurial risks. Inaction is supported by thoughts that don’t contain a grouping of the variables that we see throughout our day.

  • Celes

    @Ryan: Hi and welcome!! I’m really elated that you had gotten something out of the article :) Keep staying focused on your purpose and vision! I find that doing that keeps me above the fear-based desires to earn money, etc. I’ve been doing it for the past year and these fear-based purposes barely come into my mind now, if ever. It’s really a very liberating feeling, to say the least!

    @Armen: I totally agree :) – a larger context in life helps to let people break out of limiting beliefs and fear-based thoughts, because there is really no downside to any of it. Life is providing such a big ground for us to explore and discover!


    In the direct opposite of your parent’s view of life, i was brought up in a completely different manner…..

    I was given an education on various skills like music, metaphysics, martial arts and acdemic skills.

    I had accomplishments in each of the fields. Especially in martial arts and metaphysics (tarot especially)
    Freedom to choose my path later in life.

    3 years prior, i met a person whom i regarded as my soul mate and my life purpose at that point in time was to get married and settle down.

    2 years into the relationship, We purchased a flat and were planning our marriage. Yet at that instance in life
    For her, i kept my sword, my fiddle and my cards….. Yet i felt unfulfilled.

    However, dreams and reality were not always consistent and adversity struck.
    2 matters changed.

    1) i met a teacher whom taught me chinese Bazi and requested for me to take up my tarot again but this time in a professional capacity.

    2) i found out that my partner was not faithful and seeing another man.

    Hence, we broke off and i was quite upset with myself as a pillar in my life was gone.

    Then my monk uncle spoke of attachments and metaphysics and i have been doing it since…..

    Well life path changes….. i have touched different people and seen lots of changes in the various people and clients i met. I feel fulfilled in certain aspect of my life but yet not complete….

    Perhaps my lifepath would change yet again…..

    “Nothing is constant, expect change.” Dalai Lama….

  • Celes

    @Shimure: Thanks so much for sharing your story! I’m sorry to hear about what happened – at the same time, I believe everything in life happens for a reason. I have a friend whose ex-girlfriend backed out after accepting his proposal – because of that, he is able to find his current wife whom he is very happily married to.

    Use the purpose-finding exercise in part-6 of the series to uncover your purpose and let me know your results – I’d love to know what you get :)

  • Panzer

    Hi Celes

    Saw another article “Are You Sleepwalking Your Life Away” from your blog that was bookmarked on delicious and chanced upon this post.

    You’ve articulated what is wrong with the “Singapore Dream” as Colin Goh wrote some time ago about how the dreams and aspirations of many Singaporeans was in fact, not their own by concocted by the environment and culture of Singapore Inc which is to get rich or die trying.

    The endless materialism and gratification based on buying and getting the next promotion, gadget, car, house etc. is what is so souless about Singapore Inc.

    I too was caught up in what I thought were my aspirations until I realised it was not me. Fortunately, I managed to wake up to some extent and now pursue life and finances in a more balanced way.

    All the best to your dream of helping people fulfil their own dreams and potential.

    Be well and prosper.

  • akash

    well did felt the article is quite a different one and completely new set of ideas but i was (like many others may be) stuck at the point you say that after death consciousness stays in here(like in the form of ideas may be), just want a clear thought about it your words could relate with it so, may be another article on it .
    still a very good one

  • debbie baiely

    Hi Celes,

    You’ve found much truth in your searching, and for that I commend you. I’m a Christian who follows Jesus Christ, who as I’m sure you know, is the son of God. Jesus says in the Bible that the only way to God the Father is through Him. We can’t go directly to God. Why? Because God is pure and unapproachable light because of our sinfulness or lack or perfection. What is sin? Sin is any want of conformity unto or transgression of the law of God. The Bible contains the law of God. When you read the summary of that law in the Ten Commandments in the Old Testament book of Exodus, we see that no one can measure up to that law, because we’re flawed humans. Jesus Christ came to Earth as a man and offered up himself as a sacrifice for us. The perfect took on the imperfect so we could live eternally in heaven with God and His son. We can’t do this for ourselves because of our sin nature.

    The Bible also says, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” The only way to God is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. No other religion on earth makes this assertion. I believe, as the Bible teaches, that anyone who has been forgiven by the Father can know Jesus personally and begin to enjoy the benefits of eternity while on this earth. “We love because He first loved us.”

    While anyone may attain higher levels of consciousness through the methods you describe, you’ll never be able to do away with your personal sins which will keep you out of heaven. The Bible also teaches that when you die, if you don’t go to heaven, you go to hell; only two choices.

    So all people have a choice to make: 1. Do I try to make my own way through this life and hope for a better life to come? or 2. Do I recognize in myself my inability to be perfect, pray to Jesus to make me pure by taking away my sins, and life a new life that brings glory and honor to Him?

    I choose to follow Him who is perfect and who will someday make me perfect also. He says, “Be perfect as I am perfect.” That’s the only way to achieve perfection, but it will only be after our death. As long as we live in mortal bodies, we will struggle with our imperfections while all the time drawing closer to the time when we’ll be set free from sin and misery.

    Praise God from whom all blessings flow, praise Him all creatures here below, praise Him above ye heavenly hosts, praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Amen.

    • Someone from Earth

      What happens when ppl want other ppl to follow “the only” faith? (see human history) And what happens when ppl having different religions recognize the same thruth behind them? I think Jesus would love to see love at the first place, and would be happy to see supporting ppl united in their faith – not fighting ones. At least by him Love is highest rule.

      Btw the old testament is full of horrible things, even shows how much a life on Earth doesn’t mean anything to God, killing by even innocent children only to show his power to their father. So I’m not sure if this should be the best part to suggest anyone to start to read the Bible, at least if you want to show the importance of a singel person’s choice of faith. It shows much more how it is not important this thing to God, he is just runnig a program: kill the bad, burn them on fire. Sometimes show how powerful you are by making ppl suffer, you can even kill some others in the process… Not really Jesus-like.

  • Bruce

    Hi Celes, I was wondering if you think it is possible to guide others to a level of consciousness that is higher than that of the person guiding?

    • Celestine Chua

      Hi Bruce, yes definitely! In Chinese there’s a saying “青出于蓝而胜于蓝” (literally = green is born of blue, but beats blue), it means that the student can outshine its teacher.

  • Mike Wo


    I wish I could meet you in person someday.
    You have truly changed my life for the best:)

  • Sokrates

    Don´t you think there is a huge difference in using the word “sin” and using the word “mistake” ?
    Yes, we´re only humans and humans make mistakes, but most of the time it is unintentional and we are sorry for the way things turned out. It does no good to label this as “sin” to my opinion, and to repeatedly remind us of being “sinners” makes us less what we can be because we are fearing what “not to be” instead of joyfully pursuing “what we can be”.

    Don´t you think God loves all humans unconditionally? If we must do certain things in order to be saved I´d say the love is conditional – and not God-like.

    I grant you any happiness from your belief in Jesus. However – I grant Celestine any happiness she can find on her path of live. Life is bigger than we can understand… :angel:


  • Samuel Zee

    Hi Celes,

    You have no idea how much your article means to me.
    I’m from Singapore too n a student at NUS – (double coincidence!)

    I’m currently going through a dilemma – I’m one semester into my course at NUS & I’ve been having constant thoughts of quitting school. Like you, I found my purpose – one that isn’t tied to the education system. I’m thinking of pursuing full-time my passion of internet marketing (triple coincidence!) and educating people on how to properly manage money. I guess it stems from my upbringing where the family suffered as a result of poor money management skills & habits. I also don’t intend to get a job – my plan being Internet Marketing followed by property investment & trading/investing.

    Do you have any wise words for me?

    P.S Thanks in advance & keep up your inspiring work here. You sure are leaving behind a legacy in this way – I would taking notes as I read your post :D

    • Celes

      Hey Samuel! I’m glad that you’ve found your passion and purpose in life! I’d say pursue your passion right now as you’re schooling, and consider quitting school when your business shows signs of success and your studies is disabling you from moving forward. Others will be looking for indicators of your credibility and expertise, so it’s important to build them first. Studies always has its own special function to serve (for example, resources/communities in school related to internet marketing and money management that you can tap into, knowledge acquisition, teachers/network building, etc) so don’t be too hasty to lose it as of yet. Only do so when you’re absolutely sure that it brings no value whatsoever to what you want to achieve in life. All the best to you!

  • Jane

    Thanks for sharing this! I came to similar realizations last summer that you had. It was so strange how I kept having epiphanies and looking around wondering why everyone else wasn’t! Our main focus should be figuring out why we’re here, yet most people are chasing material things that have no meaning. I was also brought up into a religion and afraid to question it because I knew deep down that I would find logical flaws. However, circumstances caused me to open my mind last summer and forget all the brainwashing to start my own journey and find my own faith. Because how can you even call it “faith” if you are afraid to ask rational questions about it? I also realized that all religions are the same at their core and you should have open minds toward others’ beliefs – rather than my mom’s view that all religions but hers are a lie due to small differences. Now my faith is based on positivity instead of fear, and I am working on other areas of my life. I hope that others will assess their beliefs to find what they truly have thought about and believe instead of following blindly. Anyway, thanks again for sharing your story, it’s still helping me 5 years later(:

    • Jane

      “I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended for us to forgo their use.” – Galileo

  • Andrew

    Hi Celes,

    Can you expand on your thoughts of social relationship, such as why we build them if we are all going to eventually die? Do you still feel that way?

    • Celestine Chua

      Hi Andrew, thanks for my question! That was my thought before I realized my life purpose; it’s no longer the same now.

      As for my sentiments now, I see humans as spiritual beings (not physical ones); so our physical bodies and our current lives are but just one small speck of our entire spiritual existence. Whatever connections we form now are eternal; we can be physically apart but the bond forged in our hearts will remain forever. So it doesn’t matter that we’ll physically die one day: the bonds we form today will continue to live on past physical death.

      As for the role of relationships, I see them as an important part of our growth: we’re all here to support each other in our life’s journey, to gain wisdom from each other, to gain self-realizations through each other, etc. So the important thing is to surround ourselves with like-souls who support us in our journey through life and to distance from the ones who don’t. Not all bonds today will be there tomorrow; similarly, just because someone is not compatible with us today doesn’t mean he/she will still be incompatible tomorrow. So it’s important to just keep an open mind, not attach ourselves to specific relationships and just to open our hearts to forming conscious connections. The universe will lead the way.

  • Anon

    What if my purpose is to do whatever I feel like doing at the moment? Is there even a possibility for such a purpose to exist?
    Can it be said that it is a purpose of freedom – to do whatever we want, however we want and whenever we want without being constrained into one single path?
    And if it such a purpose is possible, wouldn’t I need huge amounts of money to live out this purpose?

  • H LIM

    Hi Celes, maybe you wld want to take a look at . It may be dry & overwhelming in the beginning. Listening to some of the workshops in video form may be a good starting point. Feel free to let me know you have difficulties. Enjoy!

  • Ashutosh Jain

    thank you very much celes to share your inspirational experience …

    be happy:-)

  • Elly

    Just a question. I know that you believe our souls exist after death, but is finding a purpose still possible without that? For me, I see death as the ultimate ending and not in a nihilistic way. I’ve thought about reincarnation – the most plausible idea to me, rather than a heaven – but the scientific part of me can’t and doesn’t need a life after death. I’m fine with that. It’s just that you found your purpose by imagining the uselessness of material goods, etc, after death. So how do I start to find my purpose when the after death picture doesn’t really conjure a strong reaction in me, and my life is the most important part? That isn’t meant to sound selfish but my life is the only way I’ll see this wonderful world.

    • Celestine Chua

      Hi Elly, think about what is the highest possible meaning for yourself within your definition of life then. If you think that life ends at the point when you die, then what’s the best, most meaningful possible thing for you to do within this context of life that you define? The exercise in part 6 will also help you to dig deeper.