Why Should You Have A Purpose? Here’s 5 Solid Reasons Why

This is part 2 of a 7-part series on how to discover your real purpose in life.

  1. How To Find Out If You Are Living Your Real Purpose Now
  2. Why Should You Have A Purpose? Here’s 5 Solid Reasons Why
  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 Identifying Your Purpose
  6. How To Discover Your Real Life Purpose in 30 Minutes
  7. Living in Alignment with Your Purpose

“When a man does not know what harbor he is making for, no wind is the right wind.” ~ Seneca

“Having a purpose is the difference between making a living and making a life.” ~ Tom Thiss

“Efforts and courage are not enough without purpose and direction.” ~ John F. Kennedy

Life without a purpose

Why should you have a purpose? Do you think people like Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr, Mother Theresa, Winston Churchill, Helen Keller and Oprah Winfrey, have life purposes?

Of course they do! Grand, visionary purposes which other people scoffed at an earlier point in their lives. And it was their purposes which led them to their level of greatness that no one would have thought possible.

Having a purpose gives you an entirely new latitude in life. It is like your secret access pass which unlocks benefits like fulfillment, happiness and success – things people spend their entire lives trying to seek.

What is important is to understand things like abundance, success, wealth, fulfillment, etc are the results of discovering and pursuing your purpose – as long as you find and live your purpose fully and truly, everything will fall into place. It is as simple as that.

Understanding Your Role in Creating Your Purpose

If you are an apathetic person, maybe you will say “I don’t care about having a purpose.” Or if you are nihilistic, you may say “Life is meaningless. There is no point in trying to assign a meaning.” Maybe you are just generally okay with the way your life is right now and you think that having a purpose is “for other people”.

If life has no meaning or purpose, then why are you here? Why are you getting up every day and going through the motions with the rest of the world? Why are you breathing the air and walking the earth? If life really has no meaning for you, isn’t it logically better to end it than to wait for your time to end?

Without a purpose, your everyday life is filled with actions not guided by a focal point. It’ll be a combination of mish-mesh, random forces around you which end up canceling out each other in the larger spectrum of life. The end product is an average life and an average existence.

Look at the people around you. Have you ever known people who truly, really feel like they are alive? When they talk, their eyes widen and sparkle; everything they talk about just seems so exciting and interesting. Life through their eyes seem so positive and enticing all the time. These people are in tune with their life purpose and they are living and breathing it.

On the other hand, there is another group of people who are unaware or disconnected with their purpose. They content themselves with what is within their reach and are often oriented in negativity, complaints, and dissatisfaction. Life seems bland, monotonous and uninspiring from their eyes.

Which scenario do you think best describes your life right now? And which one would you rather lead?

As long as you don’t have clarity on what your purpose is, what you are effectively doing every day is living out other people’s purpose. There are 2 ways to live your life – the first, and what most people do, is to live aimlessly without a direction. The other, less trod path, is to define your purpose and live by it.

If you choose to live, you are better off creating meaning for your existence. This means to discover your purpose and to live by it.

The Importance of Having A Purpose

Below are just 5 of the many benefits you will experience after discovering your (real) purpose:

1. Meaning and fulfillment

A purpose gives you increased depth and meaning in life. Instead of wasting time every day questioning reality and existence, you spend every day pursuing a cause which is worthy to you. When you start living a life of purpose, everything you see, touch and do suddenly brims with meaning and fulfillment. The fulfillment you get is simply incomparable.

2. Unlimited flow of drive and passion

Is your daily life filled with enthusiasm and joy or is it bogged down by dread and weariness? My purpose charges me up with so much energy, drive and passion that it just overflows and oozes through me. :D It is like an unlimited energy well! Every morning, I bound out of bed and in full enthusiasm for what is ahead. At night, I just dread going to sleep because I much rather be living out my purpose.

The simple thought of me being given the chance to pursue this for the rest of my existence fuels me with so much energy. Often times I feel so happy that I cannot stop smiling, even when I am by myself. In contrast, I find that people around me who have not laid out their conscious purpose behave like drones numbly living out their existence.

3. Instant focus and direction

If you often find yourself fluttering about your life from one fad to the next, you lack a directional focus. A purpose serves as a lighthouse that guides us through our lives, work, relationships, decisions, right up to our daily actions.

Imagine if you are a ship and your life is a vast ocean. A life without purpose is an aimless ship on the sea. Do you want to be an aimless ship or do you want to take charge and start putting its course in your hands? You may have the navigational system (your mind and body), but if you never lock in on a course (purpose), you will always remain drifting and bobbing aimlessly around in the ocean, subjected to the whimsicalities of the tides and weather (externalities like society and the world). If you choose to coast aimlessly, you might end up marooned in an island or even capsized in the sea at some point.

For example, when I first defined my purpose (you’ll read more in Part 4), it was like there was a compass planted in me. Suddenly, I could see what were the paths that would help me live my best life, and what were the paths that wouldn’t. I realized the path I was going in (my corporate career) wasn’t going to bring me to where I want to be, and continuing down that line would move me away from my vision. While it wasn’t like I quit my job immediately, it set in place the intention and mental plans to depart a few years later.

On a micro-level, knowing my mission statement enabled me to get the maximum out of my day-to-day life. Suddenly, there was crystal clear clarity on the things I should do or not; and decisions to make. Before I take on any activity or engagement, I would ask myself “Does this help me live in alignment with my mission? Or is there something else I can do which will help me achieve that better?” If the answer is positive, I’ll take it on. If the answer is negative, I’ll say no. Within the context of an activity/project, I’ll ask myself “What can I do that will help me live truest to my mission?” And I’ll take on those actions.

If I hadn’t identified my mission statement then, I would never have the same level of clarity and focus I have today. Everything I’ve undertaken since the day I set my mission statement in 2006 has been a conscious action in alignment with my mission. For example, after creating my mission in 2006, I knew that the best way to live 100% to my mission is to eventually run a personal development business. It was how I came to set up Personal Excellence and TSOPE, both of which have the same mission as my life mission.

4. Freedom from things that do not matter

Do you find yourself torn between different areas in your life? Or perhaps you face dilemmas which you are not sure how to resolve?

A purpose gives you liberty because you now have clarity on what matters to you. By having a guiding principle to check against on what to say no to, you can consciously release yourself of issues that do not matter and solutions to dilemmas become instantly clear. Read: Quitting To Win

When you have clarity on what you want to achieve, that’s when you can arrange everything around to be congruent with your inner self. You’ll be able to select a career (or create a business) that is aligned with your mission. You’ll be in relationships that match what you want. You’ll take on projects and actions that are in accordance with what you want. It’s the start toward living a life of your highest alignment.

5. Success

Success comes about as a corollary to embracing your purpose. Imagine you are managing your life like a company. You need the equivalent of a mission statement, i.e. your purpose, to lead your life to success. Corporations like Google and Coca-cola are so successful because they have clear mission statements guiding their organizations. A company without a mission statement will have no clarity on what it needs to do. They eventually go bust or get acquired by other conglomerates which can manage it better. This has been attested again and again, in Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey, just to name a couple of books.

Personally, I have gotten so much more out of life after discovering my real purpose – every year of my life just seems to get better than the previous, and I have no doubt that it will get even better as I continue on my life journey. :)

Do not just take my word for it either. The only way for you to find out how living life with purpose is like is for you to experience it for a period, say, a month. Identify your purpose (we’ll be doing this in Part-6 of the series), then live it to the fullest for 1 month.

If at that point you decide you prefer living without a purpose, you are always free to relinquish it and revert to your former life. After all, what is the worst thing that can happen? At the end of the 1 month, you’d have gained clarity on how you want to live your life, rather than wonder if you’re better off with or without a purpose. There’s everything to gain and nothing to lose.

In the next article, we will start exploring different purposes in life and how to differentiate between purposes from other people and your true purpose.

This is part 2 of a 7-part series on how to discover your real purpose in life.

  1. How To Find Out If You Are Living Your Real 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 Identifying Your Purpose
  6. Discover Your Real Life Purpose In The Next 30 Minutes
  7. Living in Alignment with Your Purpose

Image: M_Eriksson

  • http://personalexcellence.co Celes

    Hi Yan! Thanks a lot for your kind comment! :) I love the quotes as well – they definitely help set the right tone and stage for the message of the post!

  • Blog for Beginners

    Wow, this is one of the best and insightful article on personal development I’ve came across recently. Couldn’t have written such an insightful article myself.

    Indeed, without purpose, we are losing the right direction and that will eventually bring us nowhere, in life or in business. Certainly, I wouldn’t want to live out on other people’s purpose.

    Oh, those quotes are superbly awesome. Thanks for sharing with us.

    To our success
    Yan

  • Keith

    Having a defined purpose in my life makes a difference in every area in which I consciously pursue it. Here’s an example:

    A few days ago after work I was fueling my car up at a gas station I normally avoid because it tends to have “bums” around it. It was the most convenient place to fill my tank though, so I stopped there.

    Sure enough, not a minute after I pulled up, a homeless man approaches and starts talking to me. Ordinarily in these situations I’d avoid or ignore this man, or try to weasel my way out of talking to him somehow. Prior to the past two years of my life, I’d think nothing of just plain lying to him to get rid of him. He’d be a pebble in my shoe.

    For me, my purpose is to bring these 4 words into the world in my every action; love acceptance, freedom, and enlightenment. Those words are what I choose as “my way of being.” When my actions are not aligned with that way of being, I know that I am not living my purpose and that I am not being the person I wish to be. So when this man started talking to me, my auto-pilot kicked in and I was repulsed and started to think of how I would get out of talking to him. Then I became conscious of my reaction and purposefully asked myself “am I being love, acceptance, freedom, and enlightenment?” The answer was no, and so in that instant I made another conscious action; I chose to be love, acceptance, freedom, and enlightenment and acted in accordance with being those things.

    I looked this man in the eye and said “Hi!” as I would with an old friend or loved one. I allowed myself to be present to my automatic feelings and reactions to my interactions with this man, and chose not to act upon those things and instead act according to those 4 words. We ended up talking for about 5 minutes, all the while with me speaking to him as if he were an old friend instead of a bum, stranger, or lesser being.

    His name was Bill. He’d been in prison and was released recently. He started writing poems in prison and kept doing it after being released, instead of going back to his life of drugs and petty crime. He said his poetry wasn’t very good but that he was still working on it. He wanted to write things that made people happy and brightened their day. He wanted to set an example to young people who were tending toward the darker side of life that they can choose not to make the mistakes he’d made. Bill was a very nice man, really polite, and very uneducated. He was putting his best foot forward, maybe as a ruse to get money from the people he approached, or maybe because he was sincere. It isn’t my place to judge his motives. He seemed pretty genuine to me but had obviously been hurt a lot and had been bitten in the past. It seemed that he felt the need to appear a certain way to the people he approached as a kind of survival mechanism. In those moments, he didn’t seem comfortable or happy, but in the moments when he seemed genuine, his face lit up and you could see inside his eyes there was a human being inside desperate to get out and show itself to the world. I think we all feel this way at times.

    By stopping and consciously choosing to live my purpose, I saw humanity in a man I’d ignore without that purpose. I saw beauty that the vast majority ignore every day.

    I let Bill share a couple of his poems with me and he was right, they weren’t very good poems. But they were beautiful because they were the truest expressions of who he was that he could create at that time in his life. I bought the poems he shared with me for $1 each, and thanked him for sharing them with me and wished him luck in the future, happy holidays, and told him not to give up with his poetry if it’s what helped him cope with his circumstances. I told him to keep making people’s day better and trying to make them feel happy.

    He smiled as he walked away. If his purpose was to make others happy, he had done so by living his purpose and if my purpose is to bring love, acceptance, freedom and enlightenment into the world, I had done so by returning the favor and making his day.

    That is what purpose gives to your life and the lives of all whom you touch. If Bill’s poor poetry makes me feel happy, that will carry on to my friends and family when I return home from work, and so on and so forth. It’s a great thing!

  • Craig

    If you do not choose the purpose of you own life then somebody else will choose it for you.

  • Diana

    ” If life really has no meaning for you, isn’t it logically better to end it than to wait for your time to end?” – did you really said that in a public article!? Wow…there are people that are in bad moments in their life questioning the meaning of life and they can be very easy to convince taking wrong steps and what you said in that paragraph it can be misread. Think about it…not trying to offend. I do think you have some good points in your writings. Thanks.

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