Why You Must Find and Follow Your Life Purpose
Life can be a wonderful adventure or a strenuous challenge. However, for most of us, it comprises little more than a monotonous and automatic routine. You get up, go to work, eat, watch TV, go to sleep, and start over again. This doesn’t make for much of an inspiring routine. That’s leaving aside those moments when everything seems to go wrong. Therefore, to overcome the inertia of monotony or hopelessness, you have to find and follow your life purpose.
However, what exactly is a life purpose? Well, we’ve all, at some time or another, struggled to look for it and have despaired when we didn’t find the answer. This is especially prevalent during adolescence. At this time, we tend to struggle with existential questions, such as “What does life mean?”, “What am I here for?”, or “What’s the point of it all?” As a matter of fact, in reality, each of us is responsible for constructing this meaning in our own personal way.
Your life purpose is the intention, meaning, or purpose that you give to your own existence. It includes your commitment to life, your perception, and the motivation that drives you to develop it in a certain way.
Different fields and authors have tried to approach this concept by offering varying explanations. For example, you may have heard of ikigai. This is a Japanese term that can be translated as ‘a reason to live’.
Ikigai is the mission or motivation that provides you with the will and courage to get up every morning and face the day. In fact, ikigai is the common link between what you’re good at, what you enjoy doing, and what adds value to your world. Consequently, if you identify your own characteristics you’ll soon find the engine to propel your life forward.
Viktor Frankl’s logotherapy is another interesting approach to life purpose. Frankl, an Austrian neurologist, and psychiatrist was a prisoner in several concentration camps and suffered the horrors of the Nazi holocaust. He developed a therapeutic model that focused its action on helping people find the meaning of their lives in order to heal them in a comprehensive way.
The answer to the question “why don’t you commit suicide?” formed the starting point for his therapeutic work.
Find and follow your life purpose
You may think that finding your life purpose sounds like something rather complicated and irrelevant. However, beyond the philosophical issues, possessing this kind of motivation brings you multiple benefits. For example:
- Several investigations reinforce the idea that having a vital purpose reduces the risk of death. This ranges between 17 percent and 33 percent. Furthermore, it reduces the probability of suffering cardiovascular incidents.
- Those who’ve found meaning in their life have healthier habits and consume less toxic substances.
- They’re also better able to manage and deal with stressful situations, meaning less negative impact on their health.
- It increases their sense of personal competence. This means that they’re perceived as more capable of facing challenges and difficulties.
- Accepting life with its difficulties and limitations, yet still seeing it as valuable reduces deteriorative states and the presence of affective disorders. Likewise, there’s a greater tendency to seek rewarding and vitalizing experiences that contribute to obtaining positive states of mind.
- It promotes close, rewarding, and enriching social and emotional relationships
- Ultimately, there’s greater satisfaction and commitment to life.
How to identify it
As we mentioned earlier, having a life purpose isn’t the same for everyone. In fact, it’s deeply personal. In addition, it can vary depending on the individual’s stage of life. It also includes the element of will. Some people find their life purpose early on in their lives. However, it’s far more common for it to need to be built and developed. To get some ideas for developing your life purpose, ask yourself the following questions:
- What were you passionate about doing as a child?
- What drives and motivates you to get up every morning?
- Which activities give you pleasure without the need for anything in return?
- What do others seek your advice on? This doesn’t have to be related to your profession. In fact, it may be more associated with your personality.
- Which of your personal experiences have been most meaningful to you and what have they taught you?
- If anything were possible, what would you really like to do with your life? Try to go beyond the material and superficial and look for what would really make you feel whole and fulfilled as an individual.
Along with the previous guidelines, try to set an objective and divide it into small achievable goals in the short-medium term. As we mentioned earlier, a life purpose needs to be built.
Every day you have an opportunity to get closer to your life purpose. Closer to understanding it and putting it into action. Remember, it can vary over time depending on your own experiences. For this reason, don’t put any restrictions on yourself.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Cohen, R., Bavishi, C., & Rozanski, A. (2016). Purpose in life and its relationship to all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events: A meta-analysis. Psychosomatic medicine, 78(2), 122-133.
- Frankl, VE. (1999). El hombre en busca de sentido. Barcelona: Herder.