Why “find your life purpose” is pretty bad advice

I’ve read a lot of books and articles on how to “find your life purpose.” And while some offer a few great clarifying ideas, the majority, were nothing more than philosophical mumbo-jumbo.

For starters, asking the question, “how do you find your life purpose?” assumes that life purpose is something you can find.

Perhaps a more important question to start with is, “Does my life have a purpose?”

Woo! Now that’s deep.

I think that what scares the living daylights out of us is the possibility that the answer to the above question is: No. Your life does not have a purpose.

Scary, isn’t it? But, what if the answer really is no?

What if we’ve bought into this erroneous idea that somewhere out there is a life purpose for each of us and if we search hard enough and get to know ourselves better, we’ll find it and our lives will magically be more fulfilling.

Well, I know a lot of people who have spent a lot of money with “gurus” trying to uncover their life purpose, yet they’re still no happier than they were before.

Life Purpose: Does your life have a purpose?

So, in the interest of not beating a dead horse, here’s what I believe:

Your life has no ONE purpose!

Yes, we would love to believe that we are here for a reason and that everything would just fall into place once we find that reason or purpose, but unfortunately, that is not the case.

Was Martin Luther King or Gandhi born for the sole purpose of inspiring the world through a non-violent revolution? No, they were not.

Yet that was exactly what they did. However, they would have been incapable of doing so, had they not have the other life experiences leading up to those defining moments.

As someone who has spent the past thirty years contemplating this question (how to find your life purpose) and studying the ideas of thought leaders across numerous cultures, here’s the best that I’ve been able to come up with:

Your life has no purpose except what you give to it!

Let me repeat that.

Your life has no purpose except what you give to it!

Your life has no purpose except what you give to it! Click To Tweet

To put it another way:

Purpose isn’t something we find. Purpose is something we create through our daily actions.

Here’s the problem with “find your life purpose”

Most of us spend our time everyday doing meaningless activities. We spend 8-10 hours a day working at a job that is neither meaningful nor engages our true passions.

So, the way we live and work robs us of our enthusiasm for living. It robs us of our playful child-like curiosity. It robs us of the energy we need to pursue our true passions.

In short, most of us spend our entire lives in pursuit of the “stuff” we think will make us happy and in the process, we have forgotten to “LIVE!”

So, getting back to the question of how to find your life purpose: I have discovered through my personal quest (and I wrote about it extensively in my new book, Energize Your Life) that:

The purpose of my life and yours is to LIVE!
The purpose of my life and yours is to LIVE! Click To Tweet
That’s it!

To live joyfully, enthusiastically and passionately.

To be a lover of life itself and to strive to make a difference in the lives of others.

To live as Viktor Frankl suggested in his groundbreaking book, Man’s Search for Meaning:

“Live as if you were living already for the second time
and as if you had acted the first time as wrongly
as you are about to act now!”

To put it in really simplistic terms, purpose or meaning is something we create (not find) through our daily actions.

Purpose or meaning is something we create (not find) through our daily actions. Click To Tweet
So, when we’re truly living, that is, when we’re fully engaged in the pursuit of our passions, we feel alive and fulfilled because the things we’re doing are meaningful to us.

Do you think an artist who gets to share his/her craft with the world everyday sits around contemplating his/her purpose in life? No, he/she spends time in the pursuit of mastery.

So, it is only when we spend most of our days engaged in activities that are neither meaningful nor fulfilling to ourselves that we start asking the question, ‘was I meant for something more?’ And ‘how do I find my life purpose?’

And the obvious answer is: Yes, you were! IF that’s what you want. But, no you were not; IF that’s what you want.

If what you’re doing is meaningful and fulfilling, then that’s your thing for the moment. However, when it stops being meaningful and fulfilling, move on to something else.

Meaning is like a dance; it is fluid, never static.

Passion leads to Life Purpose

If you’re sitting around expecting to find meaning in your life, you won’t. You have to get out into the world in pursuit of your passions and test reality. And through trial and error you will come to know the things that feel most right to you.

For more on this question of how to find your life purpose, I would recommend a copy of my free e-book, 7 Questions (to ask yourself) to Help you Fuel Your Life with Purpose, Passion & Play.

Your answers to these seven questions will hopefully bring greater clarity and insights on how to live, love and leave a personal legacy. This will also be an opportunity for you to clarify what’s most important to you. Making time for the things that are most important to you helps to prevent burnout.

More over, when you’re excited about how you spend your time each day you tend to uncover new passions. And pursuing your passions is the best way to energize your life, give yourself permission to play, and re-charge your batteries on a daily basis.

I mentioned earlier that our most important life purpose is to live. But to truly live is to spend time pursuing our passions and to make time for play.

While in the pursuit of our passions we eventually arrive at what feels most meaningful and fulfilling to us. Without passion and play we end up as mere fragments of ourselves, living a life of boredom and regret.

Without passion and play we end up as mere fragments of ourselves. Click To Tweet
Until next time, may the best of your todays be the worst of your tomorrows.

QUESTION: How do you live your purpose?  Please leave a comment below.

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