“The meaning of life is to give life meaning.” ~ Ken Hudgins
It’s interesting. When I talk to friends and colleagues about purpose, I get a very diverse mixture of how they understand what a life purpose is. Some know their purpose intuitively, others never even asked themselves the question.
What Does Life Purpose Mean?
Purpose means the reason for existence. Plain and simple.
Life purpose is the reason for your existence. It’s why you are here on this earth. [Tweet this!]
So when you’re answering the question of your life’s purpose, you are really answering: Why do you exist?
And you have to decide your way and actively give an answer to that question. As the quote from Ken Hudgins suggests: The purpose of life is to live a life on purpose. And this is totally up to you.
Purpose is Direction
So why would it make sense to define your purpose?
Knowing your purpose will give you a clear direction in life. [Tweet this!]
If you know your life purpose you will gain clarity and have the benefit of an inner guiding system. And following this path will fulfill you with meaning in life. A meaning that you set for yourself.
Your life purpose is like the ultimate goal you have in your life. It’s your vision for how you wish your life will be.
In The 7 Habits Stephen Covey mentioned an interesting exercise where you would write the speech at your own funeral. This is revealing how you would like to ultimately see your life turn out.
Inner and Outer Purpose
It was Eckhart Tolle who said that there are really two kind of purposes:
The first is always to fulfill your inner purpose which is to grow consciously inside. The outer purpose is what you set out to achieve for yourself in life. But while you go after it, you have to do it consciously, in other words: live now in every moment.
This makes a lot of sense if I look at my experiences with following goals and living in the present moment. You have to make space and not lose yourself solely in your outer purpose. It would be a trap.
But If I Don’t Know My Purpose?
(1) You can either go with the flow and see where life takes you. If you make good decisions and use your conscience to guide you, this may work fine. I personally would not advice it, although the majority of people lives by this philosophy.
(2) Or you can also consciously follow your heart and use your conscience to guide you. This would be close to living primarily from your inner purpose.
(3) And you can proactively define your purpose. An interesting way to do that was posted by Steve Pavlina:
- Take out a blank sheet of paper or open up a word processor where you can type.
- Write at the top, “What is my true purpose in life?”
- Write an answer (any answer) that pops into your head. It doesn’t have to be a complete sentence. A short phrase is fine.
- Repeat step 3 until you write the answer that makes you cry. This is your purpose.Maybe you want to give that a shot.
What would you say is your purpose in life? Write it into the comments.