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Since the dawn of time, philosophers and common people alike have mused over the idea of a “life purpose.”
But what defines one’s life purpose? And what should yours be?
In simplest terms, a life purpose is your reason (or reasons) for getting up in the morning.
True purpose can guide your decisions.
It will influence your behavior and help you prioritize goals to make room for what really matters.
Purpose can offer a sense of direction… and create meaning. For some people, purpose is connected to a vocation- meaningful, satisfying work.
Ancient Greek classicists called it a “telos,” or the ultimate goal of life. They believed that a life purpose should be was one’s central focus on their journey through time on earth.
Modern thinkers conceptualize it as that what they were meant to do or be… what they were made for.
Whichever way you prefer to think about it, having an idea of your greater aim in life makes every day more significant and precious. It allows you to harness your energy into something bigger than just yourself.
In this article, I will provide 9 life purpose examples that may help you take one step closer to eudemonia… or “Living the Good Life”.
What You Will Learn
- Exercises to Find Your Life Purpose
- 9 Life Purpose Examples You May Draw Inspiration From
- Final Thoughts on a Life Purpose
Exercises to Find Your Life Purpose
Self-inquiry and examination through good habits help you center your thoughts and really focus on what you enjoy most in your life and gives you meaning.
Everyone has different skills and talents that make them great… and taking the time to analyze what you excel at can give you further direction to what you can call your life purpose. Pro tip: you can have more than one!
Journaling what matters most to you
Creative journaling has many proven health benefits. From writing down your crazy dreams, to taking note of interesting flowers you’ve seen that day, it gives your left brain a chance to express itself… or your right brain time to make sense of the day.
Consistency is what is important.
If you choose a narrative approach, you give your loved ones a valuable record and tool to peer into the daily life of your family.
When you select a creative approach, such as poetry or sketching, you can get a glimpse into your subconscious and the themes of your life.
Either method works… and many of the world’s most successful minds practice journaling.
You can also start using your journal as a tool to implement your life purpose. Everything from affirmations, inspiring quotes, or a daily to-do list will be able to help you navigate the waters of setting sail in the direction of your dreams.
Writing a life purpose statement
Are you feeling bold?
If so, sit down and write down a mission statement of the purpose of your life. You might be surprised what you think of!
For your first draft, don’t put too much thought into it and let the feeling of what you want to most express flow through you. Be true to yourself and don’t be shy; you don’t have to share it if you don’t want to.
Later, revise it and flesh it out. Write out a personal manifesto if you want to. Let the written word inspire you to greater things and pay attention to the most vivid details.
Don’t think too much about it, either. You can have a seemingly small or narrowed down purpose, such as becoming a vegan. Or you may discover something greater, like becoming a human rights activist or uncovering a musical talent.
Take what you learn from this exercise and use it to make bigger and better choices for your life.
Find good literature or media to support your new vision, and if you are really feeling inspired, volunteer or take classes to improve.
Verbalizing to someone else what matters most
Talking about things to a compassionate listener helps our minds process what’s going on in our life.
Even the process of listening to ourselves talk can help make what’s going on “real” and, more importantly , give us some ideas of the right action steps to take.
Just talk about what matters.
Always wanted to get a higher degree? Was your dream to be a painter?
Find a trusted person and talk to them about it. The enormous healing properties of letting someone know your secret desires will always shed light on those corners of your life and give you hope and a different perspective.
Visualizing what is most important in their life and what may be lacking.
Looking within helps you to clarify what’s important and minimize distractions.
For example, if being healthy is important to you… you might change your diet, learn new recipes, or start a daily exercise plan.
If having more fun with your community is a goal, then you might be on the lookout for opportunities to meet new people.
Visualize what your ideal life would be like, and take steps every day to achieve it!
“If you can dream it, you can do it.”
Take a deep breath, light a candle, and close your eyes. Relax and think: where could my life go? What would I have? Where would I be? What would it feel like?
Now, let yourself write out what an ideal day would be like. Let your imagination go wild. Where would you vacation? What would you eat? What gifts would you buy the people you love?
You get the idea.
Now, ground yourself, and let yourself figure out a realistic way to align yourself to the life choices you could make to more embody that lifestyle.
It’s easier than it sounds, and you can be amazed at all of the resources that reveal themselves to you when you’re open and ready to receive or when you go out there and take action.
People from all walks of life benefit from the power of visualization. From CEOs to elementary teachers, walking yourself through the necessary steps in your mind’s eye helps guide you to techniques or tools for an improved life.
It can be anything from a power color to a special spot in nature from which you draw inspiration.
9 Life Purpose Examples You May Draw Inspiration From
1. A Sense of Family
Around the world, “family” ranks as the top choice when selection one’s purpose in life. It’s the foundation from which people come from… and where many people return.
Your friends and family are priceless treasures that value you and all of your gifts. Do they ever compliment you? Tell you things they like about you, things that you excel at?
Pay attention! Listen to them!
What you might take for granted about yourself can be an ability or skill that others only dream of. Your family and siblings especially will know your likes, dislikes, and aptitudes that other people– and even yourself– might not realize.
Maybe your aunt has some memories from your early childhood that lets you know about aptitudes that you had, and can give you confidence and direction.
Your closest ones can help mirror to you your strengths and highlight all of the ways you shine like a star. Communicate with your friends or family and be open to their input.
Of course, have discernment, but you may be surprised how much empathy they truly have because they may be going through similar questions.
Your childhood passions and joys are closest to what your soul’s purest intentions are… and bringing your energy back to helping young people might be part of your life’s purpose.
Parenting is one way that people help children, but for people who aren’t parents, there are many other opportunities.
Babysitting, mentorship, or sitting at the “kid’s table” at a family gathering might help you to bring wisdom and clarity to the younger generation.
Donating to children’s causes might be something that you can do.
You also might be able to volunteer in whatever capacity is feasible to help disadvantaged children and bring you closer to your life’s purpose.
The community is an often undrawn-from wellspring of support and inspiration in daily life.
There are many ways to give back to the community, in whatever way you envision it. Some of the simplistic, introvert-friendly ways could be simple decorations around your abode.
Looking to branch out? You could join a community board or even reach out independently to members of your neighborhood in need.
Finding purpose in a community can give you spiritual and emotional strength in every walk of life, and there are many opportunities to do so.
One of the best things about life is that we actually get to live many lives in one.
Think about it. We wear many hats.
Partner, parent, mentor, co-worker, friend, neighbor.
Identifying a trait or a skill that you admire in others, and then pushing yourself to acquire those qualities, can be a part of your life purpose. You can join groups that help you push yourself to be a better person in every way imaginable.
Most people love animals… or at least have a few favorites.
Compassion for these living and quiet creatures has grown to the point where people have boycotted zoos or specific product brands, citing animal cruelty.
It’s no coincidence that veganism and vegetarianism grows in popularity every year… even starting at a younger age.
At the most fundamental level, owning and caring for a pet is shown to have enormous emotional and health benefits for a person. One of the easiest ways to care for animals can be in your own backyard by setting up a bird feeder or birdbath.
Others choose to advocate for endangered or native species and protect their rights. Environmentalism also is another topic closely connected to animals, naturally, and this is seen in many ways.
Organic gardens, community clean-ups, or conservation efforts are common ways to help explore the life purpose of helping animals.
There are also avenues of helping foster animals or volunteer in a shelter.
Especially in this day and age, health is in the spotlight in every sphere. While some people devote themselves to the medical field, there are many different ways health shows up for people.
Self-care is one of the essential ways that health can become part of a life’s purpose. Eating right and mindfully is another way that you can further embody health in your life.
At any level, building fitness and strength can become part of your life’s journey.
We can look at the popularity of athletes in every part of the world to see that total body health is definitely a goal that many aspire to.
Longevity has long been tied to personal fitness and no matter what your age being in shape has innumerable health benefits.
Among every culture, music seems to be the thread that binds people.
Whether you’re a musician, a dancer, or simply someone who loves to listen… there is so much meaning and purpose that can be gleaned from music.
If you feel drawn to music, incorporating it into your life more will give many emotional benefits that will reflect back in many other aspects of your life. It ties back into the community as musicians naturally are drawn to create with one another as well.
When you identify with music as your life purpose, challenge yourself to listen to new genres. Also, learning a new instrument will also be enormously beneficial!
Many people have amazing latent artistic gifts that they go their whole lives regretting not having explored further.
So, why not carve out a piece of your week to create something beautiful?
Art has many forms and expressions, and whichever one you feel “drawn” to is totally up to you and entirely beautiful. A lot of areas have adult learning or community college opportunities to enhance artistic skills.
If you have the chance to try to embrace it in your career, such as graphic design, photography, or consulting… you’ll find many rewards from being able to share your gifts.
In this day and age, spirituality might be a hot topic, but it’s an area that so many people find purpose and meaning in. Faith and spirituality enrich many lives and helps to provide many altruistic missions throughout the world.
Being drawn to spirituality can be a powerful method to expand out of your “ego self” and embrace a larger identity in the world, if you so choose.
Final Thoughts on a Life Purpose
No two people have the exact same life purpose… even if they value the same things, like family, they may share different visions of how that life looks.
You can use this list of 9 life purpose examples as a springboard to launch your own journey towards finding your “why.”
While these are some of the most common themes that bring meaning to many people, that isn’t to say they are your true purpose.
Which ones stand out most to you?
Has a lightbulb of inspiration appeared over your head?
Have you thought about an interest or passion that could further enrich your life?
If so… follow that fire! Don’t let it burn out!
When you take the right steps, you can make big changes with daily choices in the right direction. With these life purpose examples, you can be well on your way to developing a life you’re truly proud of.