Contrary to popular belief, I do not believe that our purpose in life is pre-determined. I reject the school of thought that believes there is a set purpose in place for a person before they are born, and their mission in life is to find it. Instead, I’m of the view that we create our own purpose from a myriad of factors. Discovering our purpose in life is significant because it can change the trajectory of our lives, influence the choices we make and give us a focus in life.
Not too long ago, I booked my first session with the career services department at my university. I was taken aback when the first question I was asked was, “What makes you most happy?” Thinking for a while, I was able to come up with a response which has given me greater insight into what field I might enter. My career coach told me that she was not going to ask me what major I was doing or the cliché questions because, ultimately, I must love what I am doing first.
Similarly, a crucial step in finding your purpose is identifying what you enjoy doing. Is it creating art? Writing? Solving math problems? Sports? Reflect for a moment and pinpoint where your happy place is. To fulfil your purpose, you must have passion for it so when times get tough, you would have intrinsic motivation to proceed.
Apart from recognizing what enthuses you, you also need to discover your hobbies or talents. For some people, it is evident what their abilities are. They might be talented at executing something and usually receive praise from people concerning it. For others, it is not so explicit and hence, would require more careful consideration. Think of what interests you. What do you usually do in your free time? Also, think about what you value the most. Do you favour art? Pick up a paintbrush and see if there is some talent lurking there. Additionally, examine your skills and personality to find a hobby that plays to your strengths. You could likewise cast your mind back to your childhood. What activity excited you as a child the most? These are all ways to determine what your hobbies and talents may be.
Another exciting method to find your purpose is to create a vision board. This is a visualization tool which contains a collage of words and pictures that represent your goals and dreams. This vision board can be digital or physical (I prefer the physical one, though). Anything that appeals to you, put it there. If you love visiting the beach, cut out a picture of the beach and include it. If Rihanna is your favourite celebrity (an excellent choice) put a photograph of her on the board. No matter how silly or insignificant it seems, as long as it is something that appeals to you, add it to the board. After some time, you would see a trend that occurs, and you would be able to start forming an idea of a plan for your life.
People can also be a great source to turn to when it comes to our purpose in life. Ask those closest to you for the strengths they detect in you. What do people usually praise you for? People can’t tell us what our purpose is, but they can lead us in the right direction. Also, what kind of people do you naturally gravitate towards? Artists? Car enthusiasts? Politicians? Pause and ask yourself, “Why am I drawn to such people?” That might give you further insight into how to find your life’s purpose.
Finally, try something! You won’t always get it right. You may fail at a 1000 things before you find the one thing you excel at. So, never stop exploring. You would discover new people along the way, understand yourself better, and gain new perspectives. For goodness sake, just start something!
Please remember that our purpose can be multifaceted, and we may not know it all at once. As time progresses, it would unfold little by little until we can see the bigger picture. Don’t fret, just be patient. Also, each person’s purpose is different, so don’t compare yourself to another person. Instead, surround yourself with people who are equally seeking their life’s purpose. Oh! Before I forget. Work on your weaknesses, or else they might hinder you from fully achieving your purpose in life. I don’t fully know my purpose, but I am still taking baby steps in understanding what it may be. Join me to do same.