Design Your Life Series: Purpose

Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.

W Clement stone

Dictionary provides the following definition of PURPOSE:

It sounds sexy when you say that you have a purpose!

You may have heard several people talking about purpose. Jay Shetty has his podcast which is called ‘On Purpose.

Everybody has their own purpose in life. Some know it. Others don’t. Your purpose in life is the reason why you wake up in the morning. It sounds easy, but to get clarity of your purpose, you may have to dig deeper. I have a purpose of helping others and that’s why I create content. It motivates me to give what I have learnt to others.

You may have your own purpose. It can be as simple as providing a good life for your kids and family. It could be having a satisfying career. It may be having good and thriving relationships. Some people find purpose in their religion while others find their purpose in spirituality.

As we move towards understanding ourselves better, we are getting more clarity of what our purposes are. If I asked my dad what his life purpose was, he would say to create a legacy for his family and kids. My dad is an entrepreneur. My mom always says she lives to see her kids and grandkids get older. A priest I know says that his purpose is to serve the needy and poor. A nurse I know says her purpose is be as caring as possible to her patients.

End of the day I realized that our purposes drive us to do what we desire deeply. We all want to create a lasting impression on this world.

Not everything that I do is super productive. I have my own down times often where I am lazy. I sometimes do things that are important and other times I do things that are not important. The trick is to reduce work that is ‘not important’ and do more of ‘important work.’

How to Find Your Purpose?

I used to often think about what my ultimate purpose in life was!! This was a hard question for me to answer. Over the years, my purpose has changed and has taken various forms and shapes.

When I was just out of school, I did not have any purpose in life. I took life as it came. Because I had loving parents and a loving community, I felt that a purpose was necessary. As I matured and interacted with 1000s of people (colleagues, managers, businessmen, entrepreneurs, auditors, friends etc), I saw a common thread among the great achievers. All of them had a clear sense of purpose in their life. They knew their life trajectory and where they wanted to go. Based on this compass or purpose, their actions determined their next steps.

I also realized that if each of us had a noble purpose, all our efforts together would form a great society and community. As I tried to get clarity on my purpose, the following 3 things contributed greatly to the clarity of my purpose:

#1. Reading Widely

One habit that helped me greatly to form opinions and clarify my purpose was the habit of reading. Reading widely on various subjects helped me develop curiosity for how the world worked. Reading put me in touch with authors and writers who I would never meet. I used their ideas to develop a uniques perspective on the world and how it functions.

I did not limit myself to a genre of reading. Instead I read widely across many genres from Spirituality, Entrepreneurship, Friendship, Personal Growth, Business, Cartoons, Autobiographies and so on.

Reading connected me to the great thinkers who lived far away in the history. Reading put me in touch with great futurists who taught me where the world might go in the future. By combining various ideas and concepts, I developed my own unique way of looking at problems and providing solutions.

My way of reading may not necessarily be the right one. You will have to find your own style of reading. What reading does is to put at the wavelength of the great thinkers and writers. When you have completely submerged yourself in reading great minds of history and of our current times, I am sure you will develop unique perspectives about the world. Look for things that really bother you. And go deep into that subject.

I remember I was not a great investor although I wanted to be good at it. One of my friends suggested me I read a book called Think and Grow Rich. This book completely transformed me the way I looked at things.

#2. Pay Attention to What Good Other People Tell About You

We often do so much good. But this happens subconsciously. This happened to me recently. A friend of mine called me for a casual chat as I was helping him invest in the stock market. In the last one year, we have had good progress with our investments.

Suddenly he starts to thank me for what I had done to him with his investments. I was not even aware that I had helped him. It just came naturally to me.

Like this there are numerous occasions in our lives where we are already on our purpose, but often ignore. This chance confession from my friend helped me clarify my purpose that I want to help others. This is my intention.

#3. Ask Your Friends

Most of the time your friends are your greatest counsellors. They are the people who would give you honest feedback. When you are in doubt or would like to clarify your purpose, ask them what 3 things they like about you.

If they are honest, they will list out things that they truly admire about you. And therein you may find your purpose. Your purpose does not have to be this grand vision that people give you standing ovations. No. It can be as simple as your pets, your community, your kids, you school, your organisation, your parents, your church and so on.

Questions to ask to find your Purpose!

Answer these questions to get clarity on your Purpose:

  1. As a child, what were you most excited about?
  2. As an adult now, what makes you happy?
  3. If you had 6 months to live, how would you spend the rest of your days?
  4. Who are you?
  5. Who do you want to be?
  6. (follow up) How do you become that person?
  7. If you won the lottery today, how would you spend your time?
  8. What skills are you proud of?
  9. When your close friends call you, what do they ask you most about?
  10. What does your dream life look like?
  11. How do your family and friends view you?
  12. How do you want your family and friends to view you?
  13. What is missing in your life?
  14. On your deathbed, what would you regret the most?
  15. What are your deep motives?
  16. What do you want to be remembered for?
  17. Do you have any fear?

Contrary to the popular belief of a single purpose, you may have multiple purposes in your life. It is up to you. No one will judge you. It is good for the world and good for people around you. Your purpose is your guiding light and your lighthouse on a journey towards your goals.

You can happily live without any purpose in life. Nothing wrong in that. But you will be missing out on all the contributions that you would otherwise make to the world. Don’t hide your lamp. Let it shine on a pedestal. Let others see your achievements, tell the world about your purpose. Imagine if each one of us worked towards our purpose!! The world would be so much better.

May you be well. May you be happy. Find your purpose and live well.

To begin to think with purpose is to enter the ranks of those strong ones who only recognize failure as one of the pathways to attainment.

James allen

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