What’s your life purpose? It’s a very hard question to answer. We hear great people talk about their life purpose and that they have a whole plan set in place, and a vision for their life.
This is great and it’s inspiring, but then we look ourselves and compare our lives and feel bad. “Wow they’ve really got their life sorted“, we say. “They’ve got their life purpose and a 35 year plan, I’m struggling to know what I’ll be doing next year.”
Is a life purpose really necessary?
Ignore the Question
Nowadays, we often feel that we have to find our life’s purpose, that we need a true calling. The bigger, the bolder, the better.
You hear people say big statements like: “My life purpose is to end world poverty“. As much as this is great, ending world poverty is a a monumental and complex task for just one person to take on.
You hear fluffy statements like: “I want to make a difference in people’s lives“, which is completely ambiguous.
Don’t get me wrong, i’m not saying that ending world poverty and making a difference in people’s lives is bad. If you genuinely have a life purpose or a calling then go for it. But for the majority of people, the idea of a life purpose is not helpful.
Instead, I believe that you should forget the idea of a life purpose, and instead focus on a current purpose.
What do you want to do now? What interests you at the moment? What do you want to learn or work on for the next 1-5 years?
What you want now may be very different from what you want in 5, 10 or 35 years time. Think of your own life, do you want the same things now that you wanted 5 years ago? Will you want the same things at age 30 compared to age 70? Probably not.
Your experience in life will change how you see things, it will change what you want. As you move through life and through different phases of your life, your preferences will probably change.
Therefore your life purpose may be different as you grow older. By having a current purpose, you can focus on what is important in the short to medium term and what’s relevant to your life now.
The World Changes
The world we live in is rapidly changing. Technology, politics, the environment; they are all causing massive shifts in the world. Change is a lot quicker now.
Problems we have in life at the moment may be very different from life in the future.
Therefore, a life purpose now may not be relevant in the future. We need to be adaptable to the environment and times we live in. Focussing on the here and now may be better than the uncertain future.
So what am I Saying?
I’m not saying to not have a life purpose. If there is something that fascinates you or immediately comes to mind then this is great – stick with it. It’s fantastic to have a long term goal and we all need a target to aim for.
I’m talking to the people who don’t have a ‘life purpose’ and feel bad because of it. I’m saying to those people to relax, don’t be so hard on yourself.
Instead of trying to figure out a life purpose, try working on a current purpose. Set yourself a short to medium term goal and work hard on that. Find something you enjoy and that you find interesting and do a good job at it.
Often the most interesting people are the ones who do lots of different experiences, backgrounds, and stories to tell.
Stack a current purpose on top of another current purpose and over time you’ll lead a pretty interesting life. It’s amazing how things start to just figure themselves out. Over time you’ll begin to start to connect the dots.
Instead of a life purpose, focus on a current purpose.
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