I believe that everyone’s end goal in life is the same — “ to find happiness” or “to be happy”.
In order to feel more fulfilled and find the path to sustainable happiness, we follow our passion and purpose. But what is your purpose in life? I believe this is the question we ask ourselves over and over.
There are three ways in which you can discover your true purpose in life and find happiness from within.
What you have
What you do
Who you are
1. What You Have
As you need to live, basic needs need to be fulfilled first and foremost before you can find purpose from other things in life. Starting from food and shelter, money is the mean used to buy most basic things that you can’t live without.
Although sometimes self-esteem is derived from material possession. In other words, the purpose in life is then to become wealthy, to have beautiful things, and to be able to afford luxury. When your purpose in life is based on what you have, your happiness comes from outside in, rather than inside out.
Throughout our lives, we fit into different roles . Each role comes with different responsibilities — from the role of a child, to a sibling, a student, a friend, an employee, a boss, a lover, and a parent; from the role of a student to an employee, a manager, a director — the list goes on and on.
And if you haven’t noticed….
At each stage of our lives, we define our purpose in life based on the role we have, in which its responsibilities define how fulfilled we feel at the time.
Our ability to fulfill the role we partake the best we can becomes our purpose. Our inability to fulfill as such becomes our failure. This role-based purpose in life changes over time as we go through different stages in life and affects how we feel — how happy we feel.
A child feels happy when a parent praises him/her — “Well done, kid. I’m so proud of you.”
A student feels happy when he/she get a high score in his/her favorite subject.
An employee feels happy when he/she’s done a great job for the company and that the boss loves it.
A parent feels happy knowing that the family is well fed and well taken care of.
A sales manager feels happy when the team is doing a great job and has reached the target.
As you can see here, it is quite almost impossible to fulfill all of these different facets of life at the same time.
The secret to finding joy and happiness through one’s purpose in life is to make sure that “What You Do” and “Who You Are” align.
3. Who You Are
This comes down to the foundation of your being — your personality traits, your strengths and weaknesses, your core values, your perspective of the world, and your beliefs.
When your purpose in life is based on who you are … and who you are and what you do align, your happiness comes from the inside out, rather than outside in. And when that happens… when what you do and who you are align and you succeed in what you do, you feel rich and fulfilled from within.
If you still find it hard to understand who you truly are, the following questions can help you understandyourself better.
Look at your past experiences and the situations you’ve been in. When you had to pick between two critical decisions in life, which path did you go with? The path your gut instinct tells you to choose normally reflects your core values.
Look at the people you dislike. Why do you dislike someone? What is it about them that you don’t like? What is it about their behavior that you don’t like? Is it their work ethic? Is it their perspective of the world, their attitude, or their beliefs?
Look at the people you like and admire. Why do you like someone? What is it about them that you like or admire? Is it their work ethic, their attitude, their perspective of the world, and their beliefs? Is it their way of life? Is it their ambition, their aspiration, the way they work, or the way they think? Is it what they’ve done in life? Is it the “reason” behind why they do what they do?
What did you love doing as a child? What were your childhood hobbies? Were you good at drawing, painting, writing, music, or sport? When you role-played as a kid, what role did you like playing as? A lot of the time, these relate to your natural talents. Natural talents are what you’re innately good at especially when you’re not restricted by societal norm and while your dreams and imagination still run wild.
What do you love doing in general? Do you find joy in making sure things are organized? Do you like freedom? Do you hate or love routine? Do you like talking to people you don’t know? Do you enjoy learning something that is methodological and systematic or abstract and conceptual? How do you describe the way you think and the way you see things?
Your gut instinct is your best friend in this. Trust your gut instinct.
If you still feel stuck and can’t figure out your purpose in life and who you truly are, ask people around you - your friends, your boss, your parents, and your partner to describe you.
If you’re not happy with who you are, because you’re too pessimistic, lazy, unorganized, or selfish, then maybe your purpose in life is to become who you aspire to become. Your immediate goal is, first, to become who you want to be.
Bit by bit. One by one. Nothing is more satisfying than knowing that another month or year has gone by and we have become a better person. We are more in control of ourselves and our attitudes. We are able to find our passion, turn it into ‘what we do’ for a living, and marry it up with ‘who we are’ .
That is a purpose & passion driven life.
Once you discover your calling and your purpose in life, the next step is to break it down into tangible goals and action plans. Achieving one’s dream is not easy. But it starts with setting a vision. Writing it down is a way to tell our subconscious and to make a promise to ourselves that we will achieve whatever we write down. You can now use The Happiness Planner to track your goals and see how you evolve to tick things off one by one.