You’ve Already Found Your Life’s Purpose
Even if you don’t know it
Whenever I hear advice about finding your purpose, I imagine an epic Marvel movie monologue about saving the world. And it stresses me out.
Of course, having a sense of purpose is important — to be truly successful, you need to know your why. But when you set out to “find” your purpose, that almighty, thunder-whopping reason for your existence, it’s easy to buckle under the pressure and never take the first step in any direction.
Here’s a message for everyone feeling like they’re still searching: You already know more about your purpose than you realize. And that’s because your purpose is simply the meaning that you decide to attach to each day.
Unless you’re Spider-Man, it’s time to reframe your idea of purpose. Here are five ways to do that.
Stop thinking “big”
When it comes to deciding your purpose, start somewhere, anywhere. See what feels meaningful to you. Looking after your kids can be a purpose. Writing for the heck of it can be a purpose. Making good art can be a purpose. Running five miles a week can be a purpose.
Let your life have many different purposes
Why the heck would you limit yourself to just one thing — especially when you’re so many different people over the course of a lifetime? My purpose as a teenager was to entertain people on the internet with electronic music. My purpose as a 21-year-old was to sell stuff online to customers and have it delivered to their door. My purpose in my midtwenties was to find a partner. My purpose as a misguided young adult was to learn the corporate game. My purpose as a creative individual in my early thirties was to write for others. My purpose right now is to finish writing this story so I can hang out with my girlfriend. Tomorrow, who knows? The possibility of multiple purposes is what makes life interesting.
Experiment like Einstein
If you’re feeling stuck as to what gives your life meaning, try stacking up a series of experiments. For instance, you might try not talking about yourself in conversations for two days. Or maybe you can ask yourself a specific question every night: Like What’s one thing you learned? or How did you help someone today? See what makes you come alive and what doesn’t. Iterate. Imagine. Be curious.
Try on purposes that are bigger than you
There’s joy in having a purpose that’s not centered on yourself. “Volunteer at a homeless shelter” sounds like clichéd advice, but it’s worth trying.
Focus on your lifestyle instead
Your lifestyle is made up of your beliefs, the work you choose to do, your hobbies, how you spend time with, how you see the world, and how you earn a living. Thinking about your lifestyle feels less grandiose, but will lead you to the same place: A lifestyle is a container, the thing that holds all your beliefs about how to thrive.
So instead of searching for that one elusive thing to build your life around, bring things back down to Earth, ask yourself: What meaningful work are you going to do this year? This month? Today?
You decide your purpose. No mythical Marvel universe is going to help you with this one.