„Life is like a play.
It doesn't matter how long it lasts,
but how colorful it is.“
- Seneca -
To find the meaning and purpose of our life just like that, that would be something. But not only we ask ourselves this question. This has always been a reason for discussion or only religion had the right answers. The meaning of life can be many things. It could even be non-existent. You will never get an answer that is acceptable for everybody.
I think that the meaning of life is determined by ourselves. It is something individual. The one sees the sense in having children, the other in accumulating a lot of money or someone else is trying to live a very faithful life and to follow the dogma of his faith. Most of the time the purpose of life is the attempt to achieve happiness. But how can this be accomplished? Therefore the title should better be: "How to find out what YOU really want in life".
And this is exactly where I want to support you, so that you can find this out for yourself. Because if you know what you want, you are a lot closer to the goal of "being happy".
There are always people who know exactly what they want in life. But these kinds of people would probably not read this article. Although it would also be helpful for them, because I am not talking about wishes or dreams. No, I'm talking about what really fulfills you in your life. You can pursue your passion AND be a great partner, mother, father. But is this your goal? So what do you really expect from life? What has always aroused your interest? What is YOUR purpose in life? Let us deal with exactly these questions. Here is a step by step guide on how to find the answer.
Step 1: Collecting ideas
Let's assume that you don't know yet what you really want in your life. Even if you have an vague idea, it's still not enough. You have to find something that affects you emotionally. Something that drives you. Just doing one thing, like getting your body or your finances in shape, is not the primary purpose of your life.
Even if you want nothing more than a partner, this is only a temporary problem to solve. You didn't come into this world to lose weight or be married. No, there must be more behind it. If you also feel a desire in yourself, but do not see exactly the way, then the following can help you. I now present methods which you can use to get an overview. Everyone is different, so not every method has to work for everyone. But I assume that they will take you a big step further.
Lock yourself in a room. Yes, lock yourself up. No contact with others, no disturbances at all. Maybe even at night, when everyone else is asleep. Smartphone off! You need complete silence for this. Just you and your thoughts. You'll need a piece of paper to write down possible suggestions that you like. You can switch on some classical or meditation music. Something that relaxes you. And now ask yourself the following questions:
- Why am I here?
- What is particularly important to me?
- What have I always wanted to achieve in my life?
- What has always given me pleasure or awakened my interest?
- What will remain of me when I die?
- And what do I absolutely want to do before I die?
You may be able to answer one or the other question straightaway, others may make you think longer. No need to rush! Take at least 30 minutes, if not more. All the time you need to answer these questions in peace. Write down an answer to each question if necessary. Go into yourself and try to pay attention to when you become emotional, when a fire in you starts to burn. No burning? Then ask yourself the questions even more deeply and think until you have found a satisfying answer.
Tony Robbins, a very successful life-coach, always says that you should listen to your emotions when it comes to desires in life.
We do what we do because we feel like it, because we want it, because it gives us joy, even if it's sometimes exhausting. That is the fire that drives us.
I have already mentioned in another article that emotions are the reason why we like something or someone. Facts and figures can clearly point out a an amazing product, but the sellers who affect us emotionally, will find more buyers and listeners. That's why motivational speeches work so well, as they directly arouse our emotions and after such a speech we are on fire to do something and full of energy. So if you discover that your answers make you happy or even sad, then you are on the right track.
Another method, which is very similar to Method 1, comes from Steve Pavlina. He is a blogger who specialized exclusively in Personal Development. His article "How to discover your life purpose in 20 minutes" has been read thousands of times. He uses the following method:
- Take a blank sheet of paper or open a writing program.
- Write on top of it: "What is my true purpose in life?"
- Write down some answers. Any answer that comes to mind is good. There is no need to write complete sentences. A short phrase is fine.
- Repeat step 3 until you write an answer that makes you cry. That is your purpose.
As you can clearly see, the second method is not that different. The only difference here is that you only ask yourself one question and you hammer answers into the keyboard until you find something that touches you so emotionally that you know: "That's the answer." Of course, you don't have to cry. It's enough to have a strong emotional impulse. Emotional impulse, not sexual impulse, I'd like to mention here.
With this method you should always write things down, even if they repeat themselves. Tags or ideas like e.g: "Get rich", "Have children", "Be happy", "Visit every place on earth", "Build a rubber duck factory", etc. Simply everything you can think of. Also bullshit. The only important thing is to keep on writing.
The same applies to Method 1. Simply keep on thinking, take notes, go through the questions, again and again. Sooner or later you will get an answer. Of course you can also combine answers. You will recognize when you have found your answer. Everyone has a purpose in life or something he absolutely wants. No matter how noble or simple it may be.
I can only recommend that you read the whole article before you start with the methods. Because you need to know, what to do with your answer.
Step 2: Define your result
If you have now completed one or even both methods of Step 1, then perhaps you still have an unclear idea of your life purpose. If you have received "happiness" as a result, this may be a bit unsatisfying.
Of course everyone strives for happiness in their life and that is completely allright. But we want to find out WHAT makes you happy. What do you really want? If you can answer this question, then you know exactly how to become happy.
If you need support on your journey to happiness, read my trilogy Happiness, how does it work?! A stronger self-confidence and less self-doubt are an enormous help in life.
So what do you really want in your life? Maybe my result will help you a little. A help so that you might know what to look for. Of course my meaning and purpose is not transferable to everyone and it isn't meant to at all.
Some years ago, when I started my own journey, I read Pavlina's article and immediately tried out the method. It seemed absurd to me, because I really wrote down a lot of crap. I wrote one answer after another. More and more. Things were repeating themselves and partly I wanted to stop because I didn't see any deeper sense in this practice. But I pulled it through. I wrote things down for about 40 minutes, until actually more and more an acceptable answer began to emerge. Without thinking twice, I wrote everything down until some things became clearer and clearer. I then came to the conclusion: "Create something of my own that I can be proud of". This answer really made me feel emotional and relieved. I wrote down my result and tried Method 1 few years later. When I asked myself the questions explicitly and answered them in relation to my previous result, a light suddenly appeared at the end of the tunnel.
All the confusion was over, and so was the thinking. I had a crystal clear answer that made sense to me in every way.
"I want a just and loving life. Before I die, I want to create something of my own of which I can be proud. It should bear fruit from which not only I, but also others and my descendants can feed for a long time".
Yes, this is my purpose of life. My answer to this question may be longer than "I want to be happy", but it contains everything I want to achieve before I leave this world. I don't need to mention that I want to be happy. If I choose this path, it will fill me with happiness. Of course I wish for a happy and harmonious life, but I already have this and will continue to expand it by following what I wish for from the bottom of my heart.
My answer does not have to be limited to the foundation of a company, it can be anything. Something that fills me with passion and pride. Something that helps others and that I, too, can grow from. My meaning of life is not 1 to 1 transferable to you. But maybe it has helped you to define your goal.
The answer Steve Pavlina received through his own method can also be another support for you and therefore I do not want to withhold his result from you. Here is the quote from stevepavlina.com:
“to live consciously and courageously, to resonate with love and compassion,
to awaken the great spirits within others, and to leave this world in peace.”
As you can see, our answers aren't that far apart. What your answer looks like is entirely up to you. Everything is correct as long as it makes sense to YOU.
My advice: Ideally, go through both methods. First method 2 to collect ideas and then method 1 to ask you the right questions in relation to your answer of 2. If you still don't have a sufficient answer then repeat both methods. If you ask yourself the questions and answer them honestly from the bottom of your heart, you will find your answer. I am sure of that. Then summarize it into one or two sentences without going into too much detail. This is now what you really want. And you probably didn't need more than an hour for that. Imagine the advantage if you'd finally know what you always wanted from your deepest soul. If you have this knowledge, you are a big step ahead of most people and can lead your life in the right direction.
Step 3: Do not hunt the wrong rabbit
A saying goes,
"If you try to hunt two rabbits, you won't catch none".
I can only agree with that and the statement sounds logical in every way. If you're not ⚡The Flash ⚡, it's impossible to run after two rabbits. But if you concentrate on just one rabbit, the other rabbit will surely get through your fingers, but chances are good that you'll catch the one you're chasing.
And this is the whole trick with all goals in life. If you want something, you have to concentrate your thinking on it and focus only on this one thing. The right focus makes the difference. You can't travel all the time, start a start-up and train 6 times a week while raising your kids. Although I've read about such people. Of course there are exceptions. But if you want to see success, you have to concentrate on one thing, with a finish line at the end. I wrote the article How you can solve any problem and motivate yourself. It gives you an idea of how to put your thinking on the right track when you are pursuing a goal.
Now you know, you're only supposed to hunt one rabbit if you want to make a catch. But how do you know that it's the right rabbit you are chasing? Once you have caught it, you may find out, unlike the other rabbit, it was not worth the effort.
This is how you solve this:
If you have your big goal in life, your meaning and purpose in mind, then wishes like "get rich", "buy Ferrari" seem a little trivial and unspecific. What I mean is that you are welcome to keep the dream of the Ferrari, but you should not label something material as your life's work. Your answer, which you should receive through the above methods, should go deeper and address a passion. Of course everyone would be more than happy if they were given a Ferrari in classic red, but this kind of joy is only temporary. After a while you get used to drive a Ferrari, but you're still unsatisfied.
I'm sure this goal is the wrong rabbit. I'll tell you how to hunt the right one and maybe still get your Ferrari (or any other desirable object) in the end. How to do that:
Fulfill your purpose in life and create a benefit for yourself and for others.
You will succeed with that. Don't only think of material things, but gain the success you deserve by trying to fulfill your purpose in life. The more you help others, the more success you will have. If you think that your rubber ducks would improve the lives of everyone, then pursue this goal. Make yourself and others happy. Through this you will achieve true happiness and fulfillment. And the more effort you put into it, the more you believe in it, the more it will come true.
If your passion is to make your hobby a profession, then you have fulfilled a dream and even can make money with it. The more you are involved, the more success you can achieve. I've met people who have worked their whole live in an insurance company and shortly before retirement they threw everything away and then became a herbologist and now sell herbs and spices. It is never too late.
I myself thought for a very long time that I'd have to work a lot and accumulate large amounts of money in order to achieve happiness. I bought books about investments and the stock market until I discovered that this was only a means to an end and that I could never pursue this path with passion. My passion is sport, personal development and helping others to be successful in life. I now read books about these topics like comics. It is a completely different feeling. A really good and honest feeling.
Of course don't get me wrong that books about money etc. are bad. Of course not. You can still be the stock-exchange-guru and have a huge interest in it. If money is your thing, than great. You just shouldn't confuse one rabbit with the other.
Ergo: Never confuse a temporary goal with your life purpose.
On the other side, if you are looking for something else in life that has no material benefit at all, such as living in harmony with your family, then you don't need your own business to be happy. You'll then focus on your children, partner and relatives. If you offer your children a beautiful childhood, it could also be the greatest fulfillment for you. Listen to yourself and your inner voice. Give yourself the freedom to do what brings you joy.
A successful football player from the NFL (USA) made a lot of money, but he still lived in a camping van and only spent $800. He preferred to spend his life driving around and surfing. He said he didn't need the luxury. He seemed very satisfied and happy. Also you have to follow the right rabbit. But you don't have to be blind for all other things. Try to come to terms with yourself and find your answer to the question, "What do I really want in my life?"
Never think your idea or purpose is ridiculous or small. It is your thing, your life, your purpose, your life goal. Others should take care of their goals. Never let others get you down. You first find out what you really want in life, what you want to accomplish, what you want to leave behind and then you turn your life in this direction so that you achieve this for yourself. Not everyone always plays along, but this isn't about them, it's about you.
So what will be left of you? What do you leave behind? Do you want to leave anything at all? Indifference is also a way of shaping one's life. Everyone prefers something different. I just want to tell you once more that life is short and unpredictable. If you don't take it in your hands now, then maybe it will be too late tomorrow. Make your dreams come true. Aim for it and reach what you deserve. Happiness belongs to you, even if life has been bad for you. You can always progress as long as you know what you want. Find it out and never lose sight of your goal.
"Aim for the Moon. Even if you miss, you're still among the stars."
I hope the article was helpful for you. If so, then share it, so others like you can also benefit from it. I wish YOU the best.
- LdR -