Have you been wondering, like I am, how people of the same age as we are, seem to have everything already figured out? Have you also been dreaming about the idea of discovering your life purpose? Now would be the ideal time that I offer you a quick solution, a sales funnel. This is the point where I could convince you that you can discover your life purpose in just 20 minutes. But I am not going to do that. What?!
I do not need to sell you anything. I could only offer you some honesty and I would also like to keep things real. There is really no such thing as discovering your life purpose in 20 minutes. Even the title of this blog was a bit of a clickbait to convince you to read this article. Even 25 years will not be probably enough to discover your life purpose.
So Sarah, why would I even consider reading the rest of this article?
I hear and feel you! These are the reasons why you should continue to read this article:
- When you do not want to feel stuck anymore.
- When you do not want to follow quick schemes but you are searching for long term happiness.
- If you do not even know what life purpose means in the first place. Let alone that you would still search for it and be curious.
There are not enough reasons to read this article but there would be more reasons to continue reading anyway.
How can we describe “life purpose”?
What does language tell us?
I discovered the following words when I searched for the synonyms of the word ‘purpose’.
We could group the words into three criteria: action-directed, dreamy-like, and deterministic. This suggests that there are three ways to look at life purpose.
What does philosophy tell us?
Let us also take a look at the definition of life purpose according to some groups of philosophers.
To keep the article as simple as possible, I have only used Wikipedia. I do not find the need to be very technical. I would not be mentioning the philosophers whose unfamiliar works are buried in dust on a petrified book shelf. In other words, I am only going to mention the philosophers that I already know something about. But please, do not consider me an expert on the topic.
Stoics: For them, the meaning of life is to live according to reason and virtue and to free yourself from suffering. You can free yourself by developing clear judgment and inner calm through practicing logic, reflection, and concentration. (Please keep this definition in your mind because we will be recycling it later.)
Nihilists: For this group of philosophers, life is without objective meaning. Basically, the meaning of life needs to be returned to nature. This was also the philosophy that rejected the existence of God. (In my opinion, this is not the most conventional philosophy to talk about.)
Existentialists: They believe that every person creates their own meaning of life. The prime directives to do so are action, freedom, and decision. (I like this way of thinking!)
I have purposefully chosen only the philosophers mentioned to highlight some resemblance in forming my own definition.
You can keep thinking again and again. You can get stuck in this endless cycle of reflection. Would all this thinking even matter? In the end, it is immaterial. We have to start doing something to make ourselves feel less futile. Even by saying that, we have explored one of the concepts of the meaning of life, which is expressing ourselves by our daily actions and taking full responsibility of them.
The next section will include some arbitrary steps. The only goal of these steps is to get you out of the rabbit hole of constant overthinking and analyzing. Philosophy should also be experienced and not only always be thought about.
Steps to discover your life purpose.
Form an idea or dream about it.
This is the place where it would all start, ‘in your mind’. All the magic and also the made-up catastrophes can happen inside our minds. Your brain is a
powerful tool that can guide you to live the life you want. Did you notice the words I used? I said, your brain is a tool. It is a part of you. You do not exist outside of your brain. Of course, the brain controls everything but you have to realize that you are an entire ecosystem of different organs, cells, and biochemical substances that interact with each other. From a biological standpoint, there is no possibility that you only exist in your thoughts.
These thoughts do definitely exist but they do not always need to be listened to. That is a very essential difference. You have to do something that I would like to call ‘active mind listening’. Get your meta-cognition do the work of filtering out which thoughts can be helpful to discover your life purpose. Let these thoughts guide you to go to the next step. I hope you are as excited as I am at this point. If not, you should use your meta-cognition to analyze these bland feelings.
Make some kind of plan or vision in order to move out of the dreaming phase.
The previous phase is only for philosophers who have wet dreams about moral dilemmas and like to stay there. We are still practical human beings. Therefore, we need to become practical at some point. You need to make a certain plan. You need a certain direction to know where you are heading towards. Otherwise, you will be forever stuck in your mind and you will never discover your purpose of life.
Do not get me wrong. Your mind can be an amazing and safe place to stay in but it can lead to a lot of frustrations if you do not reach your expectations on life! If that happens, you will be living a life full of disappointments.
Make a plan based on your filtered thoughts. Be very clear and accurate about what you want to achieve. Plan ahead for certain failures and prepare yourself mentally to deal with these failures. Essentially, this step is getting the idea out of your head and putting it down on paper. You can discover your own unique way to do so.
There are different techniques you can find on the internet, like the SMART framework. The trick is to find something that resonates with your personality. Try different frameworks if you feel they are holding you back. Most of the time, it are not the sytems or frameworks that are holding you back but your own insecurities and fear of failure. Plan and move forward to the next step! We need to put this plan into action.
Get into the action phase
You have probably been thinking to yourself that this process has been taking ages and you are probably right. Most of your peers will be stuck in
the first two phases but you are different.
You chose to read this article. You chose to change something about your current situation. Have you already thought about your dreams or formed ideas and have you made a certain plan or mental picture to know where you are heading to? If yes, now is finally time to put these precious thoughts into action. This should be your base camp. You should mostly be operating out of this mindset. 70% of the time, you need to put in the work to reach these goals. Things will not appear all of a sudden at your door step.
Of course, luck is hugely involved in our life path. We also tend to overestimate the negative effects of the outside world and tend to avoid the feelings of having to blame ourselves. Most of what we do is in our own field of control.
Finally, use reflection or meditation to see if a certain plan fulfills your feelings or not. Yes, you will also have to think about the difficult feelings. You will have to think about why something really sucked! All of the previous actions are futile if you do not reflect on your own behavior. That is why most of us feel stuck and never see real progression. We forget about the last most essential step.
This is the essential 20% that will define 80% of the success. Feedback is a word that got a lot of hype in the past couple of years. When they are talking about this word they talk about getting feedback from other people.
There is one more important system that is essential for keeping our entire body healthy and it is called ‘homeostasis’. The process of homeostasis happens without you knowing it. If your blood pressure gets too high, your body will correct that. If your body temperature rises, your body will use different ways to cool you down. Homeostasis is a great way of understanding how the body will always try to get to its balanced state after it has been exposed to stressors. Your brain also wants to return to its balanced state. It is always looking for some feeling of contentment. So after we have been working really hard, we should also check if we are one step closer to this mentally balanced state.
There is no reason to keep pushing hard if you are only moving further away from this balanced state. The more out of control, the more difficult it will be to correct. It is like a bank. You should not always withdraw money but you must also be sure to deposit some money as well to keep the balance right.
Repeat these steps a gazillion times in your life. Always challenge your dreams, map them out if they are reasonable or expunge them from your mind if they are irrational, commit to them, and then reflect on the consequences. Reflect if they give you the mental freedom you were searching for. There are really no 20 minutes hack that exist to discover your life purpose. I am sorry for stoking up your curiosity this far. I am sure there are some 20 minute tools that can help. If you really have to choose one, please choose meditation and thank me later.
See these steps as a sales funnel. Only a couple pass the test of destruction.
Caution: This does not have to be all egocentric. Try this method also with altruistic goals or plans. I even dare you to try this on relationships.
How to implement these steps in your daily regimen?
But Sarah, how would I do this? I ’do not have any time for all of this BS.
If you ’do not have any time for all of this, you will also have no time to live. I am sorry but I need to be harsh on you!
Time needed: 1 minute.
- When do I start?
- How should I think clearly?
Avoid distractions and sit down with yourself for 10 minutes straight.
It worked, right?
- How should I reflect?
Meditate, be mindful, keep a diary, use apps like notion or ever-note or even word. Easy peasy, right?
Now is the perfect time to change your life. You could be the inspiration you always hoped to be. There is a strong and independent person in all of us. In my humble opinion, we are all responsible for discovering our own life purpose. By repeating our daily actions and reflecting on them, we will be certain that we are heading in the right direction. Once you realize these principles and apply them to everything in your life, your eyes will open up to a beautiful world that is in front of you!
And if you have time to subscribe to my newsletter, this would be the perfect moment to turn this plan into action. Let’s go: