“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
The end of a year is the beginning of another year. Life with a purpose is a purposeful life. Values are “beliefs that have an inherent worth in usefulness or importance to the holder,” or “principles, standards, or qualities reflected worthwhile or desirable.” Purpose and meaning in life hugely depend on beliefs and perceptions. Your sense of purpose helps you live by those values. Having a sense of purpose in life is integral to the well-being of the whole, which results in positive health and the psycho-emotional wellbeing of the individual. The value of purposeful life is a long-term direction that strives not only to self-actualization but also helps in reducing cognitive decline and greater longevity. It is one such characteristic that influences the individual in building a life-long career, assets, and reducing liabilities. Discovering purpose in life is the core foundation that determines the direction of your life. In the absence of purpose in life, people usually experience mental disharmony and emotional suffering (hopelessness, depression, anxiety, and meaninglessness). Setting a purpose for your life is actively programming your life.
Born with a Purpose, or Choose One
Purpose in life can be defined as a long-term goal that directs human behaviour. The goal inspires you to make a difference beyond yourself and personally brings meaning to life. Purpose serves as a guiding factor towards life’s decision that shapes goals, offers a sense of direction, influences behaviour, and creates meaning in one’s life. However, when it comes to a question on whether people are with purpose or choose one, the followings thoughts can be given: (1) Those who believe that a life’s purpose is something that we are born with, that it is planted in our souls before we are born and we must embody or achieve it. It’s our embedded destiny, and we have no choice in the matter. (2) Those who believe that fate and destiny don’t exist and we have the power (or “free will”) to choose our life’s purpose and do what we choose with our lives. If you are still confused about finding your purpose in life, asked yourself – What are my strongest beliefs? What are my passions? Answers to these questions will help you to live purposefully. You either utilize your gifts and talents to create a life more meaningful, or you create it. Give yourself the freedom to refine, edit, and change your purpose statement until it reflects you.
Purpose in Life
Having a purpose in life offers psycho-emotional wellbeing and the fundamental factors to happiness and longevity. Failing to discover the meaning of life will lead to lifeless focus, less efficient output, burdensome life, depression and stress. On the other hand, having a purpose will motivate an individual towards a satisfying future. Even when things go wrong in life, the sense of purpose helps find and do things that add meaning to life. Life is unpredictable, filled with several unwanted experiences (failure, disappointment, sickness, etc.). It is a healthy sense of purpose in life that helps put those unwanted events in perspective, motivating you to re-focus and move ahead. It also helps identify things that truly count if circumstances change. Get the energy to keep going when things get tough and become more resilient as you grow.
Benefits of having a sense of Purpose
There are three main beneficial domains in having a healthy sense of purpose: psychological, physical, and academic. People who lack purpose in life have a higher chance to associate with drugs and other addictions. Purpose in life serves as the central component for optimal human development and psychological wellbeing. Purpose in life helps the individual have an optimistic worldview, hope, life satisfaction, and boost up self-esteem. Purposeful life brings psychological wellbeing and physical health. Several psychological studies found purpose in life is hugely associated with a wide range of physical health indicators. It can also improve physical functioning and lower the risk of disabilities. Even in the field of academics, purposeful life is also associated with indicators of success in the classroom. Another study found that even inducing a temporary purpose-mindset hugely improves students’ academic outcomes, including self-regulation, college persistence, grade point average, and the amount of time spent studying. “The only way you can really postulate any kind of a goal at all is imagination. And if you don’t postulate high flown goals – if you don’t hitch your wagon to a star – it’s a cinch you’re not going to get up to the top of the pine tree because it takes that much to get this much. You know, in Alice in wonderland it says you have to run just to keep up. You have to run twice as fast if you want to get any place” (L. Ron Hubbard). Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs theory (Physiological needs, Safety needs, Belongingness and love needs, Esteem needs, Self-Actualization) and move on in a systematic procedure in fulfilling your needs. We are all created with a special purpose. So, make use of your life, for you have only one life. Discover your purpose by yourself, rather than what society wants you to do.
The author is a PhD research scholar, Department of Sociology and Social Work, CHRIST (Deemed to be University), Bangalore, Karnataka, India. Email: email@example.com