How to discover your life purpose?

How to Discover your Life Purpose: Reflecting on your Passions

Have you ever felt like you’re just going through the motions of life without a clear sense of direction or purpose? Are you constantly searching for something more, but just can’t seem to figure out what it is? You’re not alone. Finding your purpose in life can be a daunting task, but it’s one of the most important journeys you’ll ever embark on. In this article, we’ll explore strategies and techniques to help you discover your true passions, values, and goals, and ultimately find a sense of fulfillment and meaning in your life. So buckle up and get ready to unlock the secret to a life full of purpose!

In the previous article, we explored life purpose and what it means to have a purpose in life. We went into the philosophies, opinions and ideas of famous authors and influencers in the field. 

Understanding the Importance of Finding Your Life Purpose

Finding your life purpose can have a significant impact on your overall well-being, including your mental, emotional, and physical health. Here are some ideas and thoughts from popular authors and influencers in the field:

Increased motivation and sense of direction:

 When you have a clear sense of purpose, it becomes easier to set goals and work towards achieving them. This can lead to a greater sense of motivation, as you have something to strive towards. As author and motivational speaker, Simon Sinek, puts it, “When we have a sense of purpose, we are willing to suffer to achieve it.”

Greater resilience:

 Knowing your life purpose can give you a sense of resilience and strength when facing challenges and setbacks. According to psychologist and author, Viktor Frankl, “Those who have a ‘why’ to live, can bear with almost any ‘how’.” Having a purpose can help you find meaning and a reason to keep going, even in difficult times.

Improved mental health:

 Having a sense of purpose has been linked to better mental health outcomes, including reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety. According to author and speaker, Jay Shetty, “When we find our purpose, we feel more connected, more fulfilled, and more content.”

Increased happiness:

 When you are living a purpose-driven life, you are more likely to experience a sense of fulfillment and joy. As author and speaker, Brendon Burchard, puts it, “The happiest people I know are those who are working towards something they believe is bigger than themselves.”

Better physical health:

Studies have shown that having a sense of purpose is associated with better physical health outcomes, including reduced risk of cardiovascular disease and increased longevity. According to researcher and author, Dan Buettner, “Having a clear purpose in life is the most powerful predictor of a long and healthy life.”

Finding your life purpose:

Steps to take towards finding your purpose

  • Reflect on your values and passions: Take some time to reflect on what matters to you and what brings you joy. Consider what activities you enjoy doing, what causes you feel strongly about, and what gives your life meaning and purpose.
  • Identify your strengths: Think about your natural talents and skills, and consider how you could use them to make a positive impact on the world.
  • Set goals: Identify some short-term and long-term goals that align with your values, passions, and strengths. These goals should challenge you and motivate you to take action.
  • Try new things: Step out of your comfort zone and try new experiences. This can help you discover new passions and interests that you may not have considered before.
  • Seek out mentors and role models: Look for people who inspire you and who are living a purposeful life. Learn from their experiences and seek guidance as you pursue your purpose.
  • Take action: Once you have identified your purpose and set goals, take action to bring your vision to life. This may involve making changes to your career, relationships, or lifestyle, but the result will be a more fulfilling and purposeful life.

Let’s explore how one can identify their core values and strengths to make a positive impact in life

  • Self-reflection exercises to identify your purpose
  • Overcoming obstacles in the pursuit of purpose
  1. Living a purpose-driven life
  • Setting goals aligned with your purpose
  • Making decisions based on your purpose
  • Maintaining a sense of purpose throughout life transitions

Read this article by Mark Mason about questions to ask yourself to find your life purpose

Reflecting on Your Passions and Interests – Identifying core values:

Personal values are the fundamental beliefs and principles that guide an individual’s behavior, decisions, and actions. They represent what is most important to a person and can serve as a compass to help them navigate their lives. Here are some points and quotes from industry experts and authors on how to find one’s core personal values:

Reflect on what is most important to you:

 Take some time to think about what matters most to you in life. This could include things like family, friends, career, spirituality, health, or personal growth. Reflect on why these things are important to you and how they align with your beliefs and principles.

“Values are the beliefs that guide our actions and behaviors. Knowing our values is important because they help us make decisions that are aligned with what is most important to us.” – Brené Brown, author and speaker

Consider your past experiences:

 Think about moments in your life when you felt most fulfilled, happy, or proud.

  •  What values were you living out during those times? 
  • What made those experiences so meaningful to you?

“Our values are formed in childhood through the experiences we have with our family, community, and culture. As we grow older, we have the opportunity to reflect on these values and make intentional choices about which ones we want to hold onto and live by.” – Sharon Salzberg, author and meditation teacher

Identify your non-negotiables:

What are the values that you would never compromise on, no matter what? These are the principles that are so important to you that you would be willing to make sacrifices to uphold them.

“Values are not just a nice-to-have, they are a must-have. When we are clear about what we stand for, we can make choices that align with our integrity and create a life that is meaningful and fulfilling.” – Simon Sinek, author and motivational speaker

Take action based on your values:

 Once you have identified your core values, it is important to take action that aligns with them. This can help you live a more purposeful and fulfilling life.

“Our values are like a compass, guiding us towards our true north. When we follow our values, we create a life that is authentic and fulfilling.” – Elizabeth Gilbert, author and speaker

Techniques for brainstorming and generating ideas about what you care about most:

Brainstorming is a useful technique for generating ideas about what you care about most. Here are some techniques for brainstorming and generating ideas:

  • Freewriting:  Set a timer for 10-15 minutes and write continuously about what you care about most. Don’t worry about spelling or grammar, just let your thoughts flow freely. This can help you uncover new insights and ideas.
  • Mind mapping: Draw a diagram of your ideas and the connections between them. Start with a central idea or topic and branch out to related concepts. This can help you see the big picture and generate new ideas.
  • Word association: Write down a word representing something you care about, then brainstorm related words or phrases. This can help you expand your ideas and make new connections.
  • Brainstorming with a partner or group: Collaborate with others to generate ideas. Share your thoughts and bounce ideas off each other. This can help you see things from different perspectives and generate new insights.
  • Asking reflective questions: Ask yourself questions like “What am I passionate about?”, “What are my strengths?”, and “What impact do I want to have in the world?” This can help you uncover your values and priorities.
  • Keeping a journal: Write down your thoughts and reflections about what you care about most. This can help you clarify your ideas and uncover new insights over time.

Remember, the goal of brainstorming is to generate as many ideas as possible without judging them. Don’t worry about whether your ideas are practical or realistic at first. The goal is to generate a wide range of ideas that can be refined later.

Exploring Your Strengths and Skills

Techniques for identifying your unique strengths and skills:

  • Reflect on past successes: Look back at times when you felt particularly successful or accomplished. Consider what skills or strengths you used to achieve those successes.
  • Take a personality test: There are many personality tests available online that can help you identify your strengths and unique traits. Examples include the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, the CliftonStrengths assessment, and the Enneagram.
  • Ask for feedback: Seek feedback from friends, family members, or colleagues about what they see as your strengths and unique skills. This can help you gain a different perspective on your strengths and identify areas you may not have considered.
  • Keep a journal: Write down your thoughts and experiences regularly, and reflect on what you enjoy and what comes naturally to you. This can help you identify patterns and uncover hidden strengths.
  • Try new experiences: Step out of your comfort zone and try new experiences. This can help you discover new strengths and talents that you may not have known you had.
  • Consider your passions: Think about what you are passionate about and what brings you joy. This can provide clues to your unique skills and strengths.

Finding Meaning and Purpose Through Service

What is the relationship between life purpose and service? Why does every author ask us to use our strengths and passions to serve people and make a positive impact in this world?

How does serving people affect us?

  1. It activates the reward centers in our brains: Studies have shown that serving others can activate the reward centers in our brains, which releases feel-good chemicals like dopamine and serotonin. As author and spiritual teacher Deepak Chopra puts it, “The most important thing in life is to be of service. It’s not about getting what we want. When we serve, we’re lighting up the reward centers in our brain. We’re getting a pleasure response from being of service.”
  2. It strengthens our connections with others: Serving others can also help us build stronger connections with others, which is a key factor in overall happiness and well-being. As psychologist and happiness expert Martin Seligman explains, “The happiest people are those who have invested their time in other people. The key to happiness is not how much we do, but how much we give.”
  3. It helps us develop empathy and compassion: Serving others can also help us develop empathy and compassion for those who are less fortunate. As author and spiritual leader Dalai Lama XIV puts it, “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
  4. It allows us to make a positive impact on the world: Serving others also allows us to make a positive impact on the world and leave a legacy that we can be proud of. As author and leadership expert John C. Maxwell puts it, “The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.”

Strategies for brainstorming ways to apply your strengths and skills in service of a greater purpose:

Identify a cause or mission that aligns with your values: 

Think about the causes and missions that are most important to you, and consider how you could use your skills and strengths to make a positive impact. As author Simon Sinek puts it, 

“Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.”

Look for opportunities to volunteer or get involved: 

 Seek out volunteer opportunities or organizations that align with your values and offer opportunities to use your skills. As author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins says,

 “Only those who have learned the power of sincere and selfless contribution experience life’s deepest joy: true fulfillment.”

Collaborate with others:

 Identify others who share your values and passions, and consider how you could work together to make a greater impact. As author and leadership expert John C. Maxwell notes,

 “Teamwork makes the dream work, but a vision becomes a nightmare when the leader has a big dream and a bad team.”

Use your strengths to solve problems:

 Consider how your unique skills and strengths could be used to solve problems or address challenges in your community or the world. As entrepreneur and philanthropist Richard Branson says, “Business opportunities are like buses, there’s always another one coming.”

Keep learning and growing:

 Continually seek out opportunities to learn and develop new skills, and consider how you can use these skills to make a greater impact. As author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss says, “The opposite of happiness is boredom, so always challenge yourself.”

  • The relationship between purpose and service to others
  • Examples of how other people have found their life purpose through volunteer work, activism, or other forms of service

Overcoming Obstacles and Staying Motivated

  • In this section, you can discuss common obstacles people may face in their journey to finding their life purpose, as well as strategies for staying motivated and focused. Some potential subtopics to cover could include:

Common fears and doubts that can hold people back from pursuing their purpose

Fear of failure:

 Many people are afraid to pursue their purpose because they fear failure. As author and entrepreneur Seth Godin notes, 

“The fear of failure is the single biggest obstacle to success in life. Fear of failure causes us to avoid risks that could lead to success.”

Fear of criticism: 

Others may be afraid to pursue their purpose because they fear criticism or judgment from others. As author and motivational speaker Tony Robbins notes, 

“The only way to avoid criticism is to do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing.”

Fear of not being good enough:

Some people may doubt their abilities or feel that they are not good enough to pursue their purpose. As author and speaker Brené Brown notes, 

“You are imperfect, you are wired for struggle, but you are worthy of love and belonging.”

Fear of the unknown: 

Finally, some people may be afraid to pursue their purpose because they fear the unknown. As author and spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle notes, “The fear of the unknown is the greatest fear of all. But we cannot discover new oceans unless we dare to lose sight of the shore.”

Strategies for overcoming self-doubt and building confidence:

Take small steps: 

If the fear of failure is holding you back, try taking small steps towards your goal. As you accomplish each small step, your confidence will increase and you will be more prepared to take on bigger challenges.

Reframe failure as a learning opportunity: 

Instead of viewing failure as a negative outcome, reframe it as a learning opportunity. As author and speaker Tony Robbins notes, “There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them.”

Surround yourself with positive people:

 Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people can help build your confidence and motivate you to pursue your purpose. As author and speaker Jim Rohn notes, “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”

Practice self-compassion:

 Instead of being self-critical, practice self-compassion. As author and researcher Kristen Neff notes, “Self-compassion involves treating yourself with the same kindness, concern, and support that you would offer to a good friend.”

Challenge negative self-talk: 

When negative self-talk creeps in, challenge it with positive affirmations. As author and speaker Louise Hay notes, “Every thought we think is creating our future. So if you want to create a fabulous future, it’s important that you start to think positively about yourself.”

Tips for staying motivated and committed to your purpose over the long term:

  1. Define your purpose clearly: Make sure you have a clear understanding of what your purpose is, and what it means to you. This will help you stay focused on your goals and motivated to pursue them.
  2. Set goals and track your progress: Break your purpose down into specific, measurable goals, and track your progress regularly. This will help you see the progress you’re making and stay motivated to continue.
  3. Celebrate your successes: When you reach a milestone or accomplish a goal, take time to celebrate your success. This will help reinforce your motivation and commitment to your purpose.
  4. Find a supportive community: Surround yourself with people who share your passion and can offer support and encouragement. This will help you stay motivated and committed, even when you face challenges.
  5. Practice self-care: Taking care of your physical and mental health is essential for maintaining long-term motivation and commitment. Make sure to prioritize self-care activities like exercise, meditation, and time with loved ones.
  6. Stay curious and open-minded: Stay curious and open-minded about new ideas and opportunities that can help you further your purpose. This can help keep your motivation and commitment fresh and energized.

Putting Your Purpose into Action

  • In this section, you can discuss practical steps for turning your purpose into concrete goals and actions. Some potential subtopics to cover could include:
  • Strategies for setting goals that align with your purpose
  • Techniques for breaking down larger goals into smaller, more manageable steps
  • Examples of how other people have put their purpose into action and achieved success

Additional Section:

Examples of how other people have found their life purpose by following their passions and interests

We need to remember the stories of people who have inspired millions of others to follow their passions and dreams in life.

J.K. Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter series, was passionate about writing from a young age. After struggling through a difficult period in her life, she decided to focus on writing and completed the first Harry Potter book. The series went on to become a global phenomenon and Rowling is now one of the most successful authors of all time.

Elon Musk, the entrepreneur and CEO of Tesla and SpaceX has been passionate about science and technology since he was a child. He founded SpaceX to make space travel accessible to everyone, and Tesla to accelerate the transition to sustainable energy. His passion for these areas has driven him to push the boundaries of what is possible and make a positive impact on the world.

Malala Yousafzai, the Nobel Prize laureate and activist, was passionate about education and equal rights from a young age. She spoke out against the Taliban’s ban on girls’ education in her home country of Pakistan, which put her in danger. After surviving an assassination attempt, she continued to speak out for girls’ education around the world and founded the Malala Fund to support this cause.

Richard Branson, the entrepreneur and founder of Virgin Group has been passionate about adventure and entrepreneurship since he was young. He started his first business, a student magazine when he was 16 and went on to start Virgin Records, Virgin Atlantic Airways, and numerous other businesses. His passion for innovation and risk-taking has driven him to pursue new opportunities and make a positive impact on the world.

The negative consequences of feeling purposeless or directionless

Do we always need a purpose to feel fulfilled in life? A purposeless life might not seem so bad for some but in the long run, not living according to our values can have a toll on us later in life. Let’s explore the various negative consequences of not finding your purpose in life

Lack of motivation and direction:

 Without a clear sense of purpose, it can be challenging to set goals and work towards achieving them. This can lead to a lack of motivation and direction, which can result in feelings of boredom, apathy, and disengagement. A study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology found that individuals who have a sense of purpose are more likely to set goals and work towards achieving them, leading to a greater sense of motivation. Makes sense right?

External motivators lose their power over time as we grow and evolve. Without proper internal motivations backed by your interests and passions, you lose sight of goals and live just to pass the time. I know it because I have lived this way for many years of my life. 

Knowing that our life is short and numbered, it doesn’t make sense for us to even spend a day without meaning and direction.

Feelings of emptiness and dissatisfaction:

 Living a purposeless life can leave individuals feeling unfulfilled and unsatisfied. This can lead to feelings of emptiness, boredom, and a sense of missing out on something important.  Research has shown that a lack of purpose in life is associated with lower levels of life satisfaction and subjective well-being (Boyle et al., 2009).

Increased risk of mental health problems:

A study published in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology found that individuals who lack a sense of purpose in life are at an increased risk of developing symptoms of depression and anxiety. This could lead to habits like substance abuse which could have a severe toll on a person’s life.

This is the “Aha” moment for many individuals because people who smoke and drink often think there´s no underlying root problem that dictates their habits. However not having a sense of direction can push people to look for happiness and satisfaction elsewhere.

Increased stress:

A study published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine found that individuals who lack a sense of purpose in life experience higher levels of stress and cortisol, a hormone associated with stress. Without a clear sense of purpose, it can be difficult to manage stress and anxiety. This can negatively impact an individual’s physical and emotional health. 

Decreased resilience:

 Living a purposeless life can make it harder to bounce back from setbacks and challenges. This can lead to a decreased sense of resilience and an increased risk of giving up when things get tough.


Sai Subramaniam The digital Hope

Written by Sai Subramaniam

Sai has over 5 years of experience writing about mental health and productivity. He shares his thoughts about love, life, and business in this blog. His goal is to help people become the best version of themselves and is guided by experts in the psychology and mental health field to help educate everyone about lifestyle and productivity

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