The reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists
"The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well." ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it"
"I cannot believe that the purpose of life is to be happy. I think the purpose of life is to be useful, to be responsible, to be compassionate. It is, above all to matter, to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all..."
"Accept yourself, your strengths, your weaknesses, your truths, and know what tools you have to fulfill your purpose."
What is Purpose?
In a sense, purpose goes beyond our physical and emotional needs. When we look at purpose, we don't look at it so much as a need but as a higher extension of our reason for being. When we look at purpose, we look at it as something more elevated than the basic physical needs for which we may set goals we want to achieve. Sometimes, we achieve physical and emotional needs simply because the relevant goals just happen to work out, without our consciously doing anything for them to appear in our life.
But purpose goes beyond our immediate needs. It is in a sense identifying our reason for being. What is the purpose of our being here on earth? What is the special influence we are meant to have here? What is our pre-ordained duty to justify our existence? We aren't just here by coincidence or accident. We each have a purpose for being here. The most contented, happiest, joyous people are those who are living in an ethical way—what they perceive to be their purpose.
Purpose is much more expansive than need. Purpose is not concerned merely with survival whereas when we identify our needs, we see them as what we must have to survive in this life. Purpose is freeing, needs are restricting. Your purpose will be found within your passion. Talent may play a role but people can always build up any skill requirement. Without passion, talent can be largely ineffective.
Having said that, your passion, inner fire or inner drive does stem from a certain need, but it's more a higher self need than a primal human need. Need can be erratic, according to whim, or immediate desire like a momentary burst of addiction, whereas purpose as a more stable, solid foundation from which to build a life plan. When needs are met, they lose their impetus. Purpose is a constantly evolving plan that certainly builds momentum, but when following your purpose, you are in control because the Universe works with you. When need is the driving force, you can alienate attraction and the Universe because it goes contrary to their Laws.
Purpose does not contain elements of fight-or-flight which need does. Need's intensity goes through peaks and valleys, up and down; Purpose follows a well-mapped road to its destination. Further, need requires extreme often external motivation, which cannot be sustained unless circumstances are drastic, while purpose is motivated from within, from your inner genius.
As you fulfill your purpose, you will automatically also fulfill some of your needs, but these needs will not be met as a result of desperation but by design.
What does this mean? It means that it is imperative that you work out what your purpose is so that you don't scurry through your days, months and your life just trying to survive. If you don't have an altruistic purpose for your life, you'll be living from need to need to need. The result? You feel a void, an emptiness, a restlessness which you will not be able to explain.
We have been given more complexity than other mammals, an extended brain that longs to be challenged and conversely wants to give back with more neurons to keep being extended.
When you expand your basis needs and live your purpose, you expand your life. As you live this life for yourself, you also help others do the same.
The big question is: How do I discover what my purpose is?
Books to share with your children:
The Raindrop Who Lost His Cloud But Found His Purpose! by M.A. Toffle
The Gentle Pine's Purpose by Candace George Conradi
Greta's Purpose by Rebecca Helvey
People of Purpose: 80 People Who Have Made a Difference by Arnold B. Cheyney
Purposefulness in the workplace:
What is purpose? Our ability to overcome our fears and make the changes in our lives we want to make while enhancing that with the addition of a clear purpose.
It can be the "what" OR the "how" of your work. You can find purpose in your work by "what" you actually do or in the "how" of what you do. For example, let's say you work at a children's hospital helping to treat cancer in kids. That's a great example of finding purpose in the "what". You help kids overcome cancer. Pretty clear. On the other hand, perhaps you work at a "widget" manufacturer and you don't particularly like the "what" of your work. That is when it is important to look at the "how" of your job instead, is there purpose within those aspects of your job?
What need do you want to meet in the world? Is there something that gets you mad or sad in the world? What need do you see in the world that you want to dedicate your career to addressing? It can be as big as changing healthcare or making the world sustainable. Or it can be as small as "helping ordinary folks be able to afford the stuff that only rich people can buy." Getting clarity around the need in the world you want to meet can help you to say "no" to your fears and focus more intentionally on where you want to go.
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