What makes our lives worth living? This is a question we all have asked ourselves at one point or another. That deep, all too often philosophical question that buzzes around in the back of our minds. Some of us might find the answer easily; others might struggle with getting to the core of it. Fact is, whether we know it or not, each of us has an underlying reason why we do things. It can be values, beliefs, goals, dreams – whatever you would like to call it. Actively identifying what drives us, though, is the key to a happier life, as it puts things in perspective, allows us to prioritize and do things that align with our visions. It’s purpose.
The “Why” That Drives Us
Everyone has their own purpose, or is looking for it. It’s the engine that drives us; the wind in the sail that keep us moving over the ocean of life. Giving our life meaning, this very unique foundation is our why – the reason we do what we do and how we do it.
It’s this specific why that makes us get out of bed in the morning and fills our bodies with endorphins. The why that allows us to set little goals based on an overall vision of how we want to live. The idea we have and strive for because it fills our souls with happiness. This little word indicating our belief or drive, whatever it may be, is the compass that is guiding us, the underlying passion that keeps us moving. It’s the reason of our personal existence. The why helps us put our lives into perspective.
He who has a why can endure any how – Friedrich Nietzsche
If we have a clear view of what we want to do with our lives and the direction we want to head into, we have already achieved a lot. It is not always easy to find the overall purpose of one’s life, as it would define all we’re doing, all decisions we make – as our life purpose would be the center of everything. It’s a big thing. But our why also helps us to go through rough times, with our heads held up high and gazing forward. It’s our anchor. Purpose is the energy within us, helping us to overcome obstacles and lean into the wind instead of letting it tip us over.
Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement – W. Clement Stone
We should begin by thinking about what our passion is. What, on top of that, are our specific skills that each of us possesses? Do we have a certain talent? And what, in addition, are the values we want to hone? Combining all this, we will find the answer to the question of what our actual life purpose is.
The big why – it’s not always clear to us what it is that gives us purpose. We move and groove through life daily, do what we need to do, embark on fun adventures, make it through harsh times. But purposefully? What is the foundation of it all? This one essential element that makes each of our lives purposeful oftentimes has not been clearly defined yet.
We are all in pursuit of our happiness. It’s probably what each of us would say if we were to be asked what we strive for in life: to be happy. However, happiness is a little word with so much meaning, as it means various things to different people. It requires calm moments of reflection and turning inward to define this fulfilled, blissful life and what it looks like ideally.
The purpose of our lives is to be happy – Dalai Lama
We constantly grow and evolve. But just like the roots of a tree, we are each anchored down by purpose. These are the roots we go back to, the starting point from which we define our next actions.
So, what then is purposeful living? Focusing solely on our purpose, on our passion that is the driving factor, that breathes life into us, hence, makes us come alive, and base all actions around it – is that purposeful living?
Living life with purpose means focusing on what matters the most to us. It goes hand in hand with the question of what ultimately makes us happy. Therefore, it doesn’t always have to be “me”-centered. This is because for some people, serving the public and contributing to the greater good is what they have identified as their purpose. They design their lives around the desire to make a difference, while others find purpose in their inner circles.
And sometimes, for some of us, having eagerly searched for the sign of purpose, desperately longing for the meaningful, guiding light, there comes a moment in life that puts it all into perspective; all of a sudden, it is clear what this purpose is. This warm, tingly feeling rushing through our bodies and breathing life as we didn’t know it before into our veins. Now, it’s right before us, crystal clear: the one thing – or even person, sometimes – we live for. The driving factor. Our passion. The one (thing) we base our actions on. The one (thing) that gives us life. Purpose.
What is purpose? And what does purposeful living look like to you?