Finding and living your life’s purpose is the most difficult and rewarding challenge of all. Tragically, most people do not find a purpose in life that makes them feel aligned with the universe and fulfilled in the work they do.
I know how miserable it is to feel mis-aligned with reality, endowed with talents that don’t seem to matter.
I’d always taken pride in writing and thinking outside the box – yet I spent over five years in a cubicle doing mind-numbing work.
I was on autopilot, resigned to the false idea that we don’t get to pick our destinies.
With time and patience, I was lucky enough to leave the rat race and start spending my time doing things that make me feel fulfilled.
In this article, I will explore some ideas about how to find your life’s purpose that can be useful regardless of your particular interests and abilities.
To Sharpen Your Mind, Build Up Your Body
Long before I achieved any sense of my purpose in life, I resolved to optimize my body so that I could be proud of something in the meantime. I wanted to get used to feeling fulfilled, on a daily basis, by something.
I found that I could get myself to the gym and feel proud of what I accomplished in there.
Exercise is a powerful weapon for finding your purpose for many reasons:
- It boosts serotonin and endorphins, making your default state calmer than before
- It provides a form of active meditation that helps you process your ideas
- It improves your health and makes you more physically and psychologically resilient
- It reinforces discipline and an ethos of independent self-improvement
- It provides a metaphor for success, endowing you with physical strength and endurance as a direct result of your mental commitment
I felt my energy levels improve within weeks of starting a workout routine and changing my diet.
Igniting these virtuous cycles swept away my unhealthy, outdated, limiting assumptions about what I could achieve with my own mind.
Best of all, I found that I could think and write more effectively after a mind-clearing workout.
Scour Your Struggles For Meaning
No matter who you are, you have a unique life experience. No one in the world has ever had the exact combination of experiences that you have had.
This is true even if you have often responded to life’s obstacles in unhealthy and unproductive ways.
I spent years hating my job, dating the wrong girls, and drinking too much alcohol.
I felt alone for a long time.
And then I had an epiphany: I was most certainly not alone in my dilemma.
I was going through something that millions of other people could relate to.
If I could find a way out of the trap that I had allowed myself to fall into, then maybe I could make a difference in the world that would allow me to transcend the very idea of a “job.”
Getting out of my head and connecting my experience to the rest of the world was a crucial step toward finding my life’s purpose.
Your story doesn’t have to be as dark or as drastic as mine. Mark Zuckerberg was once a socially awkward programmer who had trouble meeting girls, and now billions of people use Facebook.
What problems have frustrated you the most in life?
What were your childhood obsessions and what are your innate or hard-earned talents?
The quest to find your unique purpose in life can be a mission in itself.
This quest can provide you with satisfaction long before you turn it into income.
Get Out Of Your Head And Connect With Others
After I quit my cubicle job, I spent years working as a personal trainer – and continuing to build up my body – so that I could feel fulfilled by helping other people in some way.
Real fulfillment is the application of your heart, soul, and mind to the problems faced by other people.
Having a positive impact on other people is the essential ingredient in feeling fulfilled.
One-on-one personal training is not my life’s purpose, but I learned some valuable lessons from it that would later help me start fulfilling my vision.
Training has helped me to better empathize with others and improve my communication techniques.
I have a friend who began volunteering while working for a financial firm in New York. Fast forward five years, and he’s running one of the most highly awarded charity organizations in the world.
What Have You Learned That Others Need?
When you wrestle with a problem and discover a solution, you unearth a source of potential future fulfillment.
If you haven’t yet found a solution to something that can help you and other people, keep searching for it. Read every book out there written by people who have confronted this problem or who have already done what you aspire to accomplish.
When you’ve finally discovered something that other people need, you’ll often find that they have no idea that they need it.
You now have a message and a calling.
If you can find a way to reach them and change their lives, you will have found a path toward your own fulfillment.
Your idea does not have to be glamorous or even the first of its kind.
You do not have to reinvent the wheel in order to help yourself and other people.
The most original ideas often do end up being the most profitable, because they impact people with the greatest magnitude.
But a tiny contribution to the lives of other people can enrich you if you can find a way to reach them on a greater scale.
Luckily, we live in the age of the Internet, and reaching people on a large scale is both an art and a science. With patience, it can be learned.
Idea + Patience + Optimism + Mentor = Success
If you have an idea that can help other people while making you feel aligned with the universe, you’re on the right track to finding your life’s purpose.
If you have the patience to execute your idea in some way, whether it’s buying a plane ticket to volunteer in a foreign country or incorporating your own business, you’re another step closer.
The majority of people with good ideas give up because they’re impatient. I almost gave up on my idea countless times, sometimes wasting entire weeks at a time.
But something kept pulling me back to it.
If you can be both patient and a silver lining optimist, you’re almost guaranteed to reach your vision of fulfillment.
The most important thing in life is not what happens, but how you respond to what happens.
Reframe failures as valuable feedback and be constructive instead of hot-tempered. (Use your inevitable frustrations as fuel for your workouts!)
The final and most important step toward turning your life’s purpose into reality is to connect with people who can help you fulfill your vision.
At this point, you already need to have an idea that you’re actively trying to execute.
If you’ve been patient enough to overcome some obstacles, you will have progressed further than others who might have given up.
You will be in a position to impress a mentor, who in turn will feel fulfilled by helping you to end up on target.
Some of the steps toward finding your life’s purpose are indeed beyond your control.
What if you can’t find a mentor?
Keep connecting with people and keep looking – always offering something of value to them instead of outrightly demanding help.
Trust your subconscious mind and have faith in your place in the universe.
Keep seeking to align yourself with what you want your identity to be.
Never give up.
Always find that silver lining.
When things mysteriously fall into place and you look back on your struggle to find your life’s purpose, it will seem like things couldn’t have happened in any other way.