“The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”- Dalai Lama
A couple of years ago I was working so much I forgot about my health, family and friends. Somewhere along the road of shooting to become a successful business owner I lost track of what was most important. My dream somehow turned into a reality of being stressed out, overweight and unhappy. It finally hit me…
Work had become my life’s purpose.
Like so many other business owners, I started my business for a chance at freedom and opportunity to be the master of my own destiny. I had visions of success and money, and with that I believed I could one day finally be happy.
But the reality was I was not happy. I was miserable.
I won’t bore you with business concepts, but there is one important concept I learned that changed my life and I want to share it with you.
All great companies have four things: purpose, vision, mission and core values.
I asked myself, why can’t I apply these ideas to my life? So I did, and here’s how you can apply it to yours.
Your life’s purpose is the reason why you exist. It’s the reason for being.
Let me ask you again, because it’s in my humble opinion, the most important question you could ever ask yourself – why do you exist?
In the past, if you asked me what my life’s purpose was- I would have told you it was to make lots of money. Believe me, there’s nothing wrong with making money, but for myself, I finally realized it was not the reason why I exist. It was only an enabler at best.
Finding your life’s purpose is very much about finding yourself. Life with a purpose drives you when you wake up each morning. But figuring it out takes time. After pondering and pondering with no answer, I finally asked myself the following questions:
- What do I really want?
- What makes me happy?
- What gives me peace of mind and fulfills me inside?
Then all of a sudden it hit me! My life’s purpose was simply to be happy.
With this new found realization, I knew this was the beginning of a new life. Now the question was what does being happy actually look like?
Your vision is what your life looks like when you achieve your life’s purpose.
Your vision should define your life’s purpose in detail. It is the manifestation of your purpose. In terms of goals, these are your Dream Goals – the biggest goals of your life. Think about it this way, if you cannot see it, how would you know if you were there? To help you see your vision, consider the following questions.
- What does it look like?
- What does it feel like?
- What are you doing?
- Who do you see?
- Where are you?
- What are your passions?
It took many weeks, but I eventually was able to define what happiness meant to me. I knew exactly how it looked and could describe it in detail.
My vision was to help people reach their goals and dreams, be a mom, enjoy every moment with my loved ones and give back the world.
That’s what being happy means to me. The next question was, how?
Your mission is how you fulfill your vision, and in turn, your purpose.
Think of your mission as a way to live your life, almost like a personal philosophy. It’s like a set of instructions that tells you how to do something. It’s supposed to be broad enough to give you room, but concise enough that you know exactly what you have to do each and every day. In terms of goals, these are your Now Goals – the goals you need to meet day in and day out.
Your mission aligns your daily life to your purpose. To figure out your mission, here are questions to ask:
- How do you reach your vision?
- How do you need to behave?
- What do you have to do every day?
- What should you not do?
- What obstacles will be in your way?
- How many options do you have?
I admit the questions above were difficult to answer. These were questions that would impact my life, and it was scary to know how many adjustments I needed to make in order to start living my life’s purpose. This was going to require me to change the way I worked and interacted with the world.
After many different versions of my mission I finally came up with one…
“Lead with my heart, make positive change in peoples’ lives and live gratefully every day.”
Your mission will keep you on track throughout the day – just remind yourself what your mission is when you get lost. For example, I have a tendency to let small worries turn into big worries that bring me down. So, when I feel myself getting derailed, I look to my mission and it reminds me to be grateful for everything in my life, big and small, which helps me refocus my energy and gets me back towards my life’s purpose.
Your values are the principles and ideals that define who you are.
Everyone has values. They’re typically single words that describe everything about who you are and what you stand for. Values are learned and have been inside you since the day you were born. You learn values from your family, friends, school, work, government, community and media.
Each person defines their values differently. Ask yourself these questions to help you figure out yours:
- What characteristics describe you as a person?
- Who are the people you love to work with?
- What people do you want to be like, and not like?
- What things in life will you not negotiate?
- What do you believe in?
- What makes you tick deep inside?
- What do you truly believe in?
As for myself, here are a few of mine: joyful, humble, real, dreamer, committed, loving, strong, happy and optimistic.
Finally, after many months, my life’s purpose, vision, mission and values were all on one page!
For the first time in a long time, I felt new again. I felt like the storm had cleared and everything that was dark and hazy was replaced with light and clarity.
Here are a few personal examples of how it has changed my life:
- When I wake up, instead of waiting for the day to be over I am eager to go make an impact.
- I look forward to seeing my loved ones instead of complaining why they want to hang out.
- When something doesn’t work out I know I will not give up because I have a purpose to pursue.
- When the world is pulling me in a million directions I look to my mission to get me back on track.
- When I get stuck in a difficult dilemma, I look to my values to determine the answer.
Living a life of purpose is a lifelong process.
As the Dalai Lama once said, “The purpose of our lives is to be happy.”
And I agree because at the end of the day all we have left in life are our stories to tell.
What’s your life purpose and how are you going to get there?
Photo by Daniel Hsia
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45 thoughts on “A Journey Into Finding Your Life Purpose”
Nicely written. Thank you.
Thank you Daniel.
“Life will never provide warranties & guaranties for success.
It can only provide possibilities & opportunities to convert them into success…. !
This is great blueprint to get your life in focus. We really have to know what we want before we can go after it. Being very clear on where we are heading sure helps.
My purpose living each day with joy and gusto, so that I can experience as much as possible in order to grow and thrive.
Thanks Carolynne. I think is awesome that you know your purpose.
I feel very happy when I have accomplished a given task or when I have been r enumerated for a job I have executed. I think my purpose in life is to be happy. By putting in my very best towards achieving set goals and objectives which leads to more money . I bet you more money means you can reach out to more people who are in dear need of assistance.
Great article. You explained very well that Happiness is the foremost reason of existing.
I really loved it and I appreciate your writing skills.
Thank you for sharing with us this great piece. I am grateful to you.
With lots of love &
Hi Megha, I am glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for being so grateful and putting a smile on my face.
Hi veronica i really like ur article . it’s very interesting and i would like to use part of it as my guidelines in other to live a purposeful life. keep up the good work.
Hi Ridwan, Thank you and best of luck in living your life’s purpose.
That’s fine Veronica,however, if your skint and in a rut, how can you be happy. You can’t help yourself and especially others if financial difficulties dog your life. “FACT” Nice article though.
Hi Kevin, Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I have found that things can be very difficult but not impossible. We just have to believe!
I love how specific you were, both in the questions we should ask ourselves + the examples you gave. It really gives clarity. I also liked at the end that after all this, sometimes you still feel pulled in a million different directions. Except now, you look back to your purpose to help get back on track. Terrific!
Hi Marcy, I am glad you love the questions and examples. Our purpose is what will keep us from getting lost. Thanks You!
All of your questions lead to a better, happier life. We can be happier NOW when we concentrate on seeking the our own best answers. Thank you for writing this reminder about how we can make our life uncomplicated.
Hi Dave, You welcome.
Hey Veronica! I hope you are well.
I respectfully offer another point. What if “our purpose in life” is to just be. To magnify the moment, no matter what, and embrace it full on? The hints to one’s purpose are just as likely to surface from stormy waters as they are from the serene.
Thanks for entertaining my question.
Hi Brian, Thanks for sharing your point of view. I think there is always different ways to look at things.
This really helped me to get clarity, thank you.
Hi Caroline, I am happy to hear that you got clarity. Thank you for letting me know.
excellent post , lucid and precise.
you have broken down the macro concepts: purpose, vision, mission and core values into specific , achievable steps. obviously the way to achieve them will be different for each person but essentially every thing boils down to achieving happiness. those who choose to remain in the thick of life and even those who choose to renounce it , like Buddha, seek happiness and peace. it is , in fact, very difficult to remain happy while remaining in the thick of life. happiness is actually a state of mind. Somebody has said wisely that ” To be happy is a great talent, great intelligence, great awareness…It is very difficult to be happy and very easy to be unhappy”.
Hi Mahavir, You make great thoughtful points about happiness. I think Happiness is something we need to learn more about and educate. It would be a fun project!
Quite inspiring,to see how the four things that makes a great company
to be personified in our own life.
We should be grateful that in realizing and applying these four great things
We are more than great
Hi Mabhuchi, I am glad you found the article inspiring. Keep up the greatness in you!
I really enjoyed this article. Thank you
You welcome Feroza.
Awesome article…….wonderful writing,
Great sharing…..equal to inner engineering course of a week
in a two pages…Thank you…
Hi Vijayalakshmi, Thank you. I am glad I was able to fit all that information in two pages.
Thanks so much for these questions. I’ve been doing a similar thing in my life. I also work for myself and found work completely consuming me. I knew I had to figure out what I wanted from my life and make some changes to make that happen. The questions you’ve posed in this post will be very helpful for me as I continue to narrow down my purpose and make changes in my life.
I am glad you found the questions useful. Congratulations in starting your journey to find your purpose. Keep searching and you will find it.
Hi , a very good article indeed. It is so true that “The purpose of our lives is to be happy.” We may have all the material things money can buy, but at the end of the day, we feel empty. Thanks for sharing such a great article.
You Welcome Sherill.
Enjoy the article, it was very well written. May I use some of your comments in my blog at times, of course you will be given credit.
Hi Eugene, Feel free to use it.
Hi Veronica, Fantastic article. So simple yet so many struggle living lives they didn’t plan. Life is to be enjoyed, not endured!
I love reading all articles on change blog.. Some insights are so great especially this one about “purpose of life.” I ask myself the same question all the time, “what makes me happy?” My answer have always been, “to be in the presence of love where it exist.” Family, friends, any relationships.. A simple joke where uncontrollable laugh just burst, a smile from my parents, a hug between my dearest friends.. I’m bless to have all my love ones but somehow part of me is still seeking for another purpose but I haven’t found it… I love to pick your brain on this one
Wow this is something I’ve been searching for weeks now. I’ve felt completely lost & looking up ways to find my purpose and I think you explain it perfectly. I can’t to apply these questions to my own life. I look forward to visiting your website.
Veronica, I loved how you shifted the focus of business to putting the focus back on our lives. This is powerful and your questions are so helpful to get right to core of who we are and who we are meant to be. I look forward to sitting with them and my journal this weekend.xox
This is a really great post! It resonated a lot with me.
About a month or two ago, I started to realize that I had somehow lost my purpose and wasn’t sure in the direction I was headed. I was doing more “work” than actually writing, creating, and helping. I just recently like a few days ago, started putting it all back together, regaining focus on the reason I started down this path in the first place, and putting that into something I can use to better serve and help people.
These four things will definitely help with my strategy moving forward and put things into perspective so thank you for that.
Keep doin what you do :)
Lovely post that is very inspiring. I would like to think that my purpose in life is also to be happy and make my family happy as well. Like you have stated, having the right values is important and it defines who you are. Thanks for sharing!
I realised what I should do with my life to change it. Thank you for the great article :)
so well documented and clearly written it is a joy to read the simple language you are using and building up a momentum through words…good way of describing things that can appear som complicated yes to DALAI LAMA WHATEVER HE SAYS IS GREAT I LOVE THE FELLOW VERY MUCH thanks
Very grateful to your article. I spent 10 years in a job I hated. I went into depression and almost lost my marriage. Until the day I realized I was on the wrong track and that much of my day was doing something I did not like. It was not my way. At that point, I should have read your article. I’m sure it will suit a lot of people. Thank you.
Know yourself, what you want to do, recognize this, then you can find out the meaning of life.