What’s your purpose in life? If you’ve never thought about it before, it may seem like an odd or even disconcerting question. But even if you haven’t framed it exactly in that way, you have probably felt a sense that you need something that is larger than you to dedicate yourself to. That might be a political ideal, a religious belief, an artistic pursuit, nurturing a family, caring for wildlife or the environment or even making a great deal of money. The first step in living a purposeful life is figuring out what that means to you.
Identify Your Purpose
Think about the things in life that are meaningful to you. Maybe this is something that you do all the time, or maybe this kind of pondering is new to you. Either way, there are a few different ways to dig deeper if you’re struggling. Writing about it, daily journaling, or talking to others can help. Your friends and family members as well as professionals, such as a mentor, a coach or a therapist might be able to provide some insight or just a helpful sounding board. Try to identify one or a few ideals that really matter to you and write them down.
Your next step is to turn values into concrete goals. Look over the ideals you wrote down. Maybe one of the things you identified is helping people. How can you accomplish this? You might decide the best way to do this is to pursue a career in health are. You’ll then need to figure out the steps necessary to achieve that goal. To work in many different areas of health care, you’ll need a college degree at minimum.
Going to college costs money, more money than most people have to hand. You can search for scholarships for college online at a site that helps you look for those you are eligible for an apply. This can cover a big part or even all your costs. You may also need further education, clinical experience, and certification at the state level to continue. Whatever you’ve chosen as your purpose, figure out how to make it central to your life.
Choose Your Attitude
Everyone faces difficulties in life. Sometimes those difficulties are the result of your own actions or decisions; other times, they simply come out of nowhere. You have bad luck, or you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. Poor health, money problems, issues with loved ones, and disasters like fires or floods are just a few of the problems that can throw you off course. Regardless it is important to learn how to look after your mental health and persevere.
While you may not have any control over some of these circumstances, you can control how you approach the situation. This doesn’t mean that you must be emotionless or cheerful during times of suffering. It does mean recognizing that your own reactions are the only thing that you can control. If you are knocked off course for a while, that’s understandable and human, but eventually you are the one who must get yourself back on track as well.
You’ve found your purpose in life, so now you can sit back and get on with things, content in the knowledge that you’ll never have to do this again, right? Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your temperament, the answer is not necessarily. While some do become passionately dedicated to a single thing or idea and pursue that for the rest of their lives, it’s actually much more common for your purpose to shift throughout your life.
If you are a parent, when your children are young, raising them may be your focus, but once they are adults, they will no longer need you in the same way. In other cases, you may simply find that your interests, values, and passions shift. Take heart in the knowledge that finding purpose is the work of a lifetime and see the opportunity to return to this quest again and again as an opportunity rather than a burden.