We are all searching for a purpose in life. What you choose to be your purpose is up to you. However, being productive and allowing it to fill you with enjoyment is how your purpose fulfills your life. Below are my tips for finding your purpose and then thriving in it.
Critically think about what you love: The first step to having a fulfilling life purpose is to figure out what makes you truly happy. The best way to do this is by evaluating your interesting and how you spend your free time. Different career paths are made up of different features and skills. Therefore, by looking at what qualities are most important to you and evaluating what you are doing when happy, you can begin to connect the dots in order to see a clear picture of your passion. For example, if you are someone who enjoys listening to others stories and find yourself always wanting to learn the “whys” and “hows” of the world, you might want to give journalism a try! (Yes, I know, shameless plug for my major haha) It’s important to remember that every career has its own pros and cons. What’s important is figuring out which path has pros that feel rewarding for you and which cons won’t hinder you (a whole section on this to come!). By thinking about your life purpose in this way, you can begin doing what you love every day.
Have a reason to not give up: Once you have found what you’re passionate about, it’s important to clearly understand your motives. Now, brace yourself, I’m jumping back into my reporter jeans! To avoid giving up on your dreams you need to answer your own “why” and “how”. These questions help you take an interest and commit to it. The why is the backbone of your passion. it’s what holds your motivation together when unpredictable or seemingly unstoppable issues arise. The “how” is the steps you take to making your purpose a successful one. Especially for those of us who are Type A and need every aspect of our lives planned out on a color-coded spreadsheet that has had all the Ts crossed twice and Is dotted three times, the “how” is vital for knowing where you are headed and evaluating your progress. I recommend taking time to write down your “why” and “how” so you can have something physically to refer to as you encounter the ups and downs of the path you choose. Going off my previous journalism example, your “why” could be that you want to give a voice to those whose stories aren’t often heard. You’re “how” could be written as steps, such as (1) getting a journalism degree, (2) writing articles about the lives of students on campus, and (3) looking for internships and jobs that would allow you to write human interest stories. While there is no cookie-cutter answer for any path, writing out why you chose a particular path and how you are going to embrace it can help you thrive in a meaningful way.
Surround yourself with constant external inspiration: Inspiration comes to us in many forms. First, it can be in the form of encouragement from friends and family. Who you surround yourself with has a big impact on your attitude, perspective, and happiness. By surrounding yourself with people who are motivated and passionate, you create a positive environment for fostering growth and success. These people should encourage you to push yourself, believe in yourself, and follow your dreams. Once you find others who truly care about you (and who you equally care about in return) you will be able to have a relationship built on trust where you can safely discuss idea, aspirations, jokes, and issues.
Surround yourself with constant internal inspiration: Additionally, having your own personal method of inspirational is a great way to build self-confidence and self-motivation. Some ideas for increasing your self-driven motivation would be having a collection of inspirational quotes, a folder of photos from successful moments, or keeping a journal of past achievements. Ultimately, symbols that remind you of your successful and happy memories. This can give you daily encouragement. By having a self-motivation system you can become your own source of strength and continue pushing yourself toward success when no one is watching. Both external and internal inspiration is important when working toward your dream.
Decide what path in life you can love on its good and bad days: Everything in life has pros and cons. Whether it’s choosing a major, a job, or a life path, there will be good and bad experiences. This being said, you will know you have found your passion if you can still enjoy and aspire to continue even on the worst days. Knowing what the downsides of your path are early, and taking time to evaluate them is an important way to prepare yourself for different hurdles. Being able to remind yourself why a particular challenge is not going to stop you can make those challenges easier to manage when they creep up. It gives you the ability to already understand why you are taking on the challenge and be able to stay motivated throughout the experience. This way you can power through any issues and create more good days for yourself.