Hey Gemmers, it's Monday again so it's time for your weekly dose of #MondaySelfcare vitamins. Btw this is also another suggestion from one of our readers so keep the suggestions coming, bless. Note: All coloured words are links and I implore you to click them and read further. Let's goo!
Disclaimer: This is by no means an exhaustive list or the only methods to find your purpose, feel free to contribute in the comments below.
I don’t feel exactly qualified to talk about this topic so I brought a friend with me his name is Research and he’s gonna help me out. Listen to him, he knows his stuff.
The Oxford dictionary defines purpose as ‘the reason for which something is...created or for which something exists’. I’m coming from the perspective of someone who believes in God so the question becomes, WHY DID GOD CREATE ME? Mark Twain said that the most two important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why.
I know some people might think of purpose in some kind of 'fantasy movie' sense. Oh it's your destiny to be king or something but in reality your purpose might not be so flashy but don't be discouraged, you can still make the most of it.
So many people are stuck in their jobs, relationships, financial situations etc and feel helpless and just believe that's all life has to offer. Some were once young and vibrant and full of hope like me but for whatever reason they plateaued and can’t seem to pass that and even project it on others. They might begin to tell their children who have crazy big dreams to 'be realistic'. They get envious of their peers or others ‘living the good life’ or straight up despise rich people. They could’ve had it if they did the necessities. I believe it’s always beautiful to see people with purpose, drive and passion excelling at their spaces for example, Oprah (her name speaks for itself).
According to Kevin Wood in his article How to Find Your Life's Purpose and Make Yourself a Better Person, to figure out your purpose you should think of ‘uncovering your passion like the work of a master sculptor, slowly chipping away the stone to reveal the masterpiece underneath" which is your life purpose waiting to be unleashed to the world. He said you need some tools such as pen and paper, 'a working memory, and the drive to uncover what you set out to find'. Finally, you need to bear a couple things in mind as some sorta code of conduct:
1. I welcome the hard work and tiresome effort it will take to unearth my life’s great work.
2. I know my purpose might not be directly obvious, but I will put in the time to find it.
3. I believe finding my purpose is entirely possible.
4. I know that finding my life’s purpose may lead to some drastic (positive) changes.
5. I know that finding my life’s purpose will leave me with the power to shape my own destiny.
Okay then on my mark, ready, set, go!
How to Find Your Life Purpose
1. A Writing Exercise: Steve Pavlina outlines a method to find your purpose in his blog How to Discover Your Life Purpose in about 20 Minutes.
i. Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type.
ii. Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”
iii.Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.
iv. Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry.
[The final result] is your purpose. It doesn’t matter if you’re a counsellor or an engineer or a bodybuilder. To some people this exercise will make perfect sense. To others it will seem utterly stupid. Usually it takes 15-20 minutes to clear your head of all the clutter and the social conditioning about what you think your purpose in life is. The false answers will come from your mind and your memories. But when the true answer finally arrives, it will feel like it’s coming to you from a different source entirely”. I strongly advise you read another of his article, "The Meaning of Life: Discover Your Purpose" to get a fuller picture, .
2. Listen to your dissatisfaction: Shana Schutte in her article Discovering Your God-Given Purpose, said "we’ve been taught to believe that dissatisfaction is a bad thing, and that we should do everything possible to avoid it. [We should be grateful and not ask for more because we're not Oliver and Olivia Twists] Shove it down. Ignore it. Act like it doesn’t bother us. Take a pill. Plaster on a smile. Buy something new, or decide that misery is part of “bearing our cross.” We're taught not to consider that God might be using it to make us uncomfortable so we’ll want to swim in another ocean where our gifts can shine. Don’t get me wrong; dissatisfaction can be a result of spiritual warfare (Eph. 6:10-12) and not an indication that we are out of God’s will. But it can also be a road sign that He has another purpose for us. So if you’re miserable in your current career or job, (and you have been for a long time), you’ve prayed, sought counsel from others, looked for guidance through Scripture, and you’re still miserable"... [it might be God's plan *in Drake's voice lol* for you to move on].
3. Read: Jeremy Adam Smith in his article, How to Find Your Purpose in Life, said that "reading connects us to people we’ll never know, across time and space—an experience that research says is linked to a sense of meaning and purpose. [I don't know Steve Harvey, Dale Carnegie or Dr Phil but I feel connected to them through their books I've read]. In a 2010 paper, for example, Leslie Francis studied a group of nearly 26,000 teenagers throughout England and Wales—and found that those who read the Bible more tended to have a stronger sense of purpose. Secular reading seems to make a difference, as well. In a survey of empirical studies, Raymond A. Mar [et. al] found a link between reading poetry and fiction and a sense of purpose among adolescents. “Reading fiction might allow adolescents to reason about the whole lives of characters, giving them specific insight into an entire lifespan without having to have fully lived most of their own lives,” they suggest. By seeing purpose in the lives of other people, teens are more likely to see it in their own lives. In this sense, purpose is an act of the imagination. Find books that matter to you—and they might help you to see what matters in your own life". In a previous blog-post, 12 Tips to Boost Self-confidence and Self-esteem in the You vs You tip, I revealed that 'reading' was why I decided to start writing on self-care in the first place. In a nutshell, reading can light up a fire in you and lead you to your purpose, reading can and will inspire the next generation.
4. Sacrifice: Mark Manson in 7 Strange Questions That Help You Find Your Life Purpose said “everything involves sacrifice. Everything includes some sort of cost. Nothing is pleasurable or uplifting all of the time. So, the question becomes: what struggle or sacrifice are you willing to tolerate? Ultimately, what determines our ability to stick with something we care about is our ability to handle the rough patches and ride out the inevitable "bad or slow day"s. [If you want to be a surgeon but you have haemophobia I don't think you can get far, or you're an aspiring entrepreneur but can't handle failure or rejection you're in a big pot of soup (trouble)] . Finding your life purpose involves eating a shit sandwich or two. What unpleasant experiences are you able to handle? Are you able to stay up all night honing your craft if you have to? What shit sandwich do you want to eat? Because we all get served one eventually. Might as well pick one with an olive”. He adds that "discovering [your] purpose essentially boils down to finding those one or two things that are bigger than yourself, and bigger than those around you. It’s not about some great achievement, but merely finding a way to spend your limited amount of time well. To do that you must [quit being a couch potato, quit being comfortable] and act, take the time to think beyond yourself, to think greater than yourself, and paradoxically, to imagine a world without you in it.
Furthermore, most people don’t understand that passion is the result of action, not the cause of it. Great things are, by their very nature, unique and unconventional. Therefore, to achieve them, we must go against the herd mentality. To do that is scary and it involves sacrifice, you must pay the price.
5. Be a Chatterbox & Listen to others: At one point in our lives we've found out about something through someone else be it a stranger, acquaintance, friend or family member. MeiMei Fox in her article Six Ways to Discover Your Life Purpose recommended that " rather than burying yourself in your smartphone every time you’re alone, take advantage of such moments to talk to people—the ones on the train with you when you commute to your boring job every morning, the ones who live next door, the ones who work at the coffee shops you frequent, the ones at the dog park or playground or schoolyard you visit daily. Ask them what they do for a living, and if they love it, why? When approached with humility, almost everyone is willing to share. Many appreciate the opportunity to talk. You may discover a line of work that you never even knew existed”.
You can try listening to others, what do you get complimented for the most? Especially strangers. I get told I'm funny by lots of people but I didn't know what to do with because I'm not stand up comedy funny, I'm conversation funny so I'm really grateful for blogging. Shana Schutte in her aforementioned article cautioned however that "there are times, however, when we shouldn’t listen to what others say. But when what they say about us agrees with our passions, internal convictions, gifting and what God has already revealed to us, it can be a solid indication of our God-given purpose".
6. Pain/Suffering/Injustice: According to Tchiki Davis Ph.D. in her article, Five Steps to Finding Your Life Purpose, "...one way to find your purpose is to ask yourself: What pain or injustice or unhappiness have you witnessed that you just can't live with? Is there anything that touches you so deeply that it drives you? Often, a powerful purpose can come from powerful pain” We know the story of the legendary Dr Martin Luther King Jnr who was a Civil Rights leader in the U.S in the 1960s. He rose to prominence in the midst of Jim Crow when injustice was heavily meted out against black people in the US, he suffered for it, went to jail but he knew that was his purpose and held on to it. Nelson Mandela is also another example of those who found purpose out of injustice. This pain doesn't have to you witnessed, it could be pain you inflicted or pain you were a victim of. For example, Domestic Violence, maybe you were the abuser who has turned a new leaf or the victim who vows to become an advocate against DV.
7. Stop Thinking, Start Doing: This idea is a bit opposing to the other points but it's a relevant point regardless because there's not one way to find one's purpose. According to Shannon Kaiser in here article 3 Unexpected Ways to Find Your Life Purpose, she said “I struggled daily to figure out my purpose, but it wasn’t until I took a step back and realized that my purpose isn’t “figure-outable” from my head that I found a way to get there. I thought to myself, “Maybe the problem isn’t that I don’t know what my purpose is; the problem is the way I am trying to find my purpose.” She added that, "we can’t think our way into our life’s passion and purpose, we have to do our way in. This means taking steps towards what you want, and removing those things in your life that you don’t want. I left my successful corporate job on a mission to find my happy, and it came by taking one step at a time and exploring many different passions. If you are looking for your purpose and passion, stop looking and start doing".
Note: "Finding your life purpose is a life-long journey. It's okay to take it one step at a time. It's normal to pause and reevaluate regularly. And it's okay to feel overwhelmed. Nothing worth doing is easy, and this will not always be easy. You will encounter frustrations and challenges along the way. Some days, you'll throw your hands up in the air in defeat"...[then you'll remember why you're doing it, you should remember your driving force] - Tchiki Davis Ph.D.
To find your purpose will take a proper self-assessment before and after the fact to really know what to do with it or where to go. It's advisable to get a mentor(s) in your field of interest, they're like training wheels on a bike or a tour guide. You need them a lot at the beginning but unlike training wheels you don't put them aside you can just get a new mentors as you progress and still keep the old ones.
QOTD: "Discovering your purpose is the easy part. The hard part is keeping it with you on a daily basis and working on yourself to the point where you become that purpose" - Steve Pavlina.
Well this topic had my head spinning, this has been my most difficult topic on this blogging journey so far and I'm grateful for the opportunity Gemmers.
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My name is Ofai and I'm passionate about blogging and it gives me fulfillment that I can help you out so sit back, relax and enjoy your weekly carats of #SelfImprovementGems with me!