One day, after my wife and I had been shopping in London, we returned to London Victoria station and looked for an empty seat whilst we waited for our train to arrive at its platform. Usually, when I am free, I would tend to look down at my phone and take in ridiculous amounts of information from various facets, but this time, like my wife often does, I began to observe other people going about their daily lives. Friends shaking hands, businessmen rushing about, weaving in and out of the masses of crowds, others reading newspapers intently with their legs folded, people sitting high above the open square in the Weatherspoons pub, relaxing with a pint of the finest beer, also observing others walking by and teenagers in a large group all focused upon their smart devices, smiling and seeking approval amongst one another.
What became evident to me, something that many of us don’t often think about, was that each person was going about their life with a goal, purpose or ambition in mind. Not one person was just wandering aimlessly.
We are so focused on our own lives, struggles, strains (and goals) that we forget that every single person around us is also experiencing similar feelings and human impulses to live our lives with a purpose. In this blog post I intend to discuss the important of finding purpose, what purpose might mean for different people and how to go about discovering your own.
Why finding purpose is so importance
It probably seems quite obvious to most, without importance our life can feel pointless and the onset of depression can set in. It seems almost impossible to know our purpose, it can sometimes seem as though all roads are blocked or there is no solution to this conundrum. Humanity has always questioned the ‘purpose of life’ but really, we need to be asking the real important question…’what is the purpose of my life?’.
But why is it important to find purpose? Purpose drives us to live more fulfilling lives, with purpose it is like the coals stoaking our hearts to pursue great dreams or ambitions and I am not talking only career goals or ambitions but the ambition of all varieties. Once we have that drive in us we meet amazing people, experience amazing places and also have reason to wake up with vigor and a smile every morning.
But you may have just read this and thought…my god, I don’t have a clue what my purpose is I feel so low! I , the founder of Battle of Mind was also once a lost soul and can tell you, I know how it feels to feel confused and blocked in reaching a purposeful life but you can find your purpose, it is completely possible and if you are struggling to find your route in life here are some suggestions to help you find your purpose in life that might help you to lift you from mild depression.
What some people find purpose in
When speaking to people in my varying experiences of life I have paid great attention to what people say to me, what they enjoy, what they speak about often, what makes their lives feel fulfilled and this is a small list of the things that helps people find purpose in their lives and maybe, one or two may also resonate with you.
Family and children – My elder sister puts a large emphasis on family, it is her main thing in life that she is able to see her family as much as possible and enjoy in as many family occasions as possible. A work colleague takes great pride in raising his children and finds great purpose in this, it drives him to work hard on his job and provide a stable environment to raise his children. These two different types of purpose can give us all a lift, to either know there are others that care about us and/or rely on us can be comforting and give us purpose to strive for something better in order to help those we care about live better lives.
Career – mastering and practicing a skill gives many a person a sense of great achievement. Moving up the career ladder is often of great importance to many and being recognised for a great skill or talent can give a great sense of purpose. Many people want to a manager with a great income but that takes time, dedication and practice in an industry to reach. This realisation that hard work will eventually result in a good career could be something that gives your life more purpose…be prepared though, if your career is really what you want to give you purpose be careful not to neglect your family and also be prepared to move to wherever the opportunity for a better vocation needs you to. I moved 200 miles away from my hometown in order to start my career and I think if you are career minded you really need to be prepared to sacrifice some parts of your life.
Friends – having friends around you that understand you and the way you think can be very rewarding. When you bounce off each other with funny jokes, interests in the same things and someone to listen to you when you have a problem it can give you a sense of purpose knowing that there are a group of people who you can depend on and also belong. There are now apps where you can meet new friends (of which I will be looking into and discuss in the near future).
Helping others – it could be said that there is nothing more fulfilling and purposeful than being in the service of others. There is little to loose in this regard other than be careful not to give too much as some people can take you for granted so you must learn to sometimes be able to say no, you must put yourself first otherwise you will not be able to be in a position to help those who need your care.
Travel – being able to see the world and all its wonders brings many people riches of the mind, expands horizons and possibilities. The founder of Battle of Mind once traveled to Colombia when he was in a deep depression on his own and on return had a new perspective on the world (you can read about that here). The only problem with traveling is that sometimes when returning from the adventure, reality sets in that you need to get back to your day job so learning to reflect and keeping reality in mind is important.
Running your own business – being your own boss is the dream of many, being at home, paying your rent or mortgage and growing a self-sustainable income and not having to answer to anyone else can be a fantastic ambition but it can run into problems if you don’t have colleagues to talk to, you keep your work at your home, become a workaholic or don’t offer realistic pricing. If you are serious about running your own business then there is plenty of professionals offering business advice for whatever it is you need help with.
Health – becoming extremely health conscious can give a person purpose, again, although a physically perfect body is desirable, the effort it takes to achieve a really great body can be very time consuming and a lot of hard work. Health comes more than just in bodily terms though, you can eat better, cook good food, get out more and less on the computer, just generally improving your health and being aware of what you are spending your time doing and analyzing whether what you are doing is healthy or not. The greatest wealth is health after all!
Love – finding love, real true love can make life much more fulfilling. Having someone who loves you and supports you can give you so much energy to pursue your dreams harder, to enjoy the world more brightly and to see new perspectives that otherwise wouldn’t have existed otherwise. A partner to share life with really is fulfilling to most people and there are many different ways to meet people these days that being single doesn’t have to be your status quo.
Money and the pursuit of it – People I have met who have had millions of pounds worth of equity find happiness in being able to afford nice things that others can’t do get some small enjoyment from those brand new things but it is often short-lived. Money is not evil, money is a tool in order to be able to give you more time and ability to afford a more comfortable living standard and dare I say it, but with enough you could change the world. Pursuing money as your purpose can be fulfilling for some.
Pursuing a hobby and mastering it – I , the founder of Battle of Mind has always enjoyed the arts, I trained as an architect, practiced fine art, and have self-taught myself a lot of web coding languages. This pursuit of new skills has given myself purpose and drive because it is rewarding to see things you design and create come into fruition. Whatever your hobby, practicing a hobby is often rewarding and can make an otherwise dull or boring life feel like it has a purpose again, so start trying to enjoy a hobby, learn a new language or skill and it can help you find purpose.
Find your purpose
Finding a purpose may sometimes not feel very easy but with the list above and considering what it is you really enjoy and value in life will help you to try and discover what your purpose might be. I once remember someone telling me, “what was it you enjoyed doing as a child of about 7 years old?” How where you as a youngster before reality of adulthood struck? This is often a great basis to helping you find the thing that will give you purpose and may help you feel life is rewarding and be fulfilling once again.