One ship sails East,
And another West,
By the self-same winds that blow,
‘Tis the set of the sails
And not the gales,
That tells the way we go.
â€”Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Have you ever asked yourself what your life purpose is? Were you satisfied with your answer? Or did you think something like, “I’m so absorbed in my daily routine that I don’t question whether my life has meaning or not.”
It was one of the most difficult questions for me to answer, so much so that when I thought about it during my most troublesome times, I said, “With this much sorrow, I cannot even contemplate it” and tried to banish the thought immediately. People feel powerless against unanswered questions, especially when the question concerns themselves.
I left my job some months ago and decided to do something I really enjoyed. I wrote about this in detail in my article “Why I left my high paying job” in The Wise. When you find more time for yourself, you begin to think more about these questions in a corner of your mind. If this question had an answer, where was it?
I was unable to work through this situation, so I sought answers in books. I read and thought a lot. I asked people I trust for their observations and opinions, because sometimes we cannot be objective about ourselves. I finally became so confused that I even Googled questions like “How do you find your life purpose?” and “What is your life mission?” There are so many articles on the Internet about it and even tests for it. You give answers and catch the clues to figure out your life purpose according to your talents, interests, and so on.
I still couldn’t find the answer I was looking for, and I felt jealous of other people who had found their answers. I thought about how much easier it was for other people to find their life’s goal, such as painters, singers, musicians, and athletes. Their life purposes were already housed within their work. They are lucky that God gave them such obvious talents. They have a profession that both earns them money and gives them a useful purpose in life. Since their basic motivation is not money but rather the feeling of enjoyment, they automatically become successful at their work. However, I was not one of these lucky people because I lacked any outstanding gift. Worse still, there was nothing I could enjoy by doing it. So, what could be my life purpose? I remained at the point where I started.
Once again, I put aside this subject, but it was different to before. I have now learned how to observe my sensations and emotions. (Please read my article “Observing Yourself” on The Wise website.) I started placing importance on my feelings about any actions I do.
I met a friend one day. Our conversation was mostly about a difficult period in her life. When she asked for my opinion, I shared my thoughts as far as I could by trying to figure it out without judging her. At the end of the day, she thanked me and said she could see things more clearly thanks to my opinions. When I got back home, I noticed we had spent almost nine hours talking. I enjoyed it so much that I felt neither hunger nor boredom. That day I realized what I enjoyed doing.
After a while, I watched a video on the Internet. The purpose of my life finally became crystal clear. My life mission was now obvious: to serve myself and help others to develop awareness.
This might sound overly assertive, but my purpose is very effective and extremely practical for applying during simple daily activities. For example, by reading books, writing articles, doing breathing exercises, and practicing meditation, I serve to improve my own awareness. By sharing my articles on my blog, I also help others to develop their awareness. As a result, life offers me endless opportunities to realize my life purpose.
A while later, I noticed a blog post on the Internet that was ambitiously titled “How to Discover Your Life’s Purpose in the Next 10 Minutes.” Basically, the article contained five striking points:
- What do you love to do?
- What do you notice?
- What would you do for free? What do you love to learn about? What do you love to talk about? What would you regret never trying?
- If I was able to browse your book collection, what would I find?
- What sparks your creativity? What do you find easy? What are you good at? What makes you happy?
After writing down answers to these questions and revising them, I saw once again how accurate my life purpose was.
The quality and pleasure of my life definitely increased after determining my life purpose. Don’t think that I have extraordinary experiences every day. On the contrary, I continue my daily routine, but now I have changed my perspective when looking at life, events, people, and conversations. I am now experiencing everything in a different way and gaining great pleasure from it.
So, what’s your life purpose? If you cannot find it, I hope this article has been helpful. If you have already found it, please share your story with me and the other readers.
“Here is a test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.” – Richard Bach