“What is my purpose in life?” is the existential question that many, if not all, of us ask ourselves at one point or another. It’s the central theme of our soul.
Look at your favorite Disney characters — Merida’s struggle to fit in, Mulan’s fight against cultural norms, and even Maui’s quest for self-discovery. They all realized what life meant to them and their “why.”
So when it comes to your own meaning in life, you need to learn how to find your purpose in it.
The thing is, each of us was born for greatness. While the idea of a soulful life can be scary, it’s as Vishen, founder of Mindvalley, says, “Your true greatness comes when you focus not on building a career but on finding your quest.”
What Is the Purpose of Life?
Aristotle, Aquinas, Kant, and many other philosophers have all taken a stab at pinpointing the meaning of life. Whether it be the pursuit of happiness and virtue, the common conclusion boils down to what makes life significant to and for each individual.
So it’s not about the purpose of life; rather, it’s about your purpose in life.
Etymologically, the meaning of “purpose” is equivalent to the Latin term propositium, “a thing proposed or intended.” And so when it relates to your dharma (a.k.a your existence in this world), it’s about your intention to shake up the mediocrity and create the life you love.
Oftentimes, people speak of the words “I should do this” or “I shouldn’t do that.” We don’t want to “should” on ourselves. There’s a “meant to be” within us.— Reverend Michael Beckwith, trainer of Mindvalley’s Life Visioning Mastery Quest
Unfortunately, we’re taught to believe we have only one thing that we’re meant to do. For example, when we’re younger, we’re asked what we want to be and are guided on that path until we’ve reached it.
However, your purpose is as one-of-a-kind as your fingerprint. And you have more than one of those. So you’re not limited to only one thing.
As a matter of fact, a 2021 Pew Research Center survey examined what people value and what gives them satisfaction. They found that family, career, and material well-being (food, clothing, housing, etc.) are among the most important factors that make a meaningful life.
Indeed, an existence without intention can leave you feeling lost. And that can lead you down a path as dangerous as Maui stealing Te Fiti’s heart.
What Does It Feel Like to Lack Purpose?
A life without purpose is one with no substantial meaning. It’s a life of “less” — passionless, motivationless, feckless, emotionless…and with nothing to look forward to, it can even be mindless.
It may not be our intention to wander around aimlessly. But when we live under the direction of others (like our Disney heroes before they came into their own), we tend to live out the dreams others have for us instead of the ones we have for ourselves.
So what does it feel like to be stuck in life? Here are a few signs to look out for:
- Your life is curated to look incredible, but you constantly have a terrible case of FOMO (fear of missing out).
- You’re happy momentarily when you get what you want, but the feeling quickly fades away.
- There’s constant self-sabotage, like running away from healthy relationships, spending your money compulsively, or procrastinating at work.
- You often feel a sense of overwhelm, so you wear a mask or hide a part of who you are.
- There’s a need for approval from others, or you build a wall from those around you because you don’t feel like you matter.
- When it comes to your desired life goals, you’re afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, make excuses not to start, or keep yourself busy so that you don’t have time for them.
- Every day feels like Groundhog’s Day — it’s always “the same sh*t, different day.”
While aimlessly wandering through life can bring on some great adventures, it’s only fleeting and often leads you nowhere. Until your soul is given a direction, you may just continue pursuing a life of dissatisfaction.
Is living unintentionally dangerous?
Research continuously shows that living a purposeless life can impact your well-being. Let’s take a closer look at three studies that support this notion:
- Increases inflammation. A 2022 longitudinal study suggests an association between life purpose and inflammation linked to age-related chronic health conditions, such as neurodegenerative diseases, heart disease, and diabetes. It found that those with a lower sense of purpose had higher inflammation levels.
- Risk of early mortality increases. A 2019 study explored the association between life purpose and mortality among US adults older than 50 years. The researchers found that those who don’t have a strong life purpose have an increased mortality rate than those who do.
- Being non-passionate contributes to ill-being. One study examined the differences in well-being between passionate and non-passionate individuals across all ages. Its findings supported the idea that “not being passionate or being obsessively passionate in an activity does not contribute to well-being at all.”
With nothing to focus on, you could be doing more harm than good to your mental, physical, and emotional health. It’s important to realize that there’s more to this provincial life and what it takes is a shift in mindset.
How to Find Your Purpose In 5 Ways, According to Mindvalley Experts
Finding your purpose is all about your “why” — the reason you exist and behave as you do.
Like Merida’s fight to be heard, Mulan’s calling to fight for her country, and Maui’s acceptance that his power lies within, your “why” is your conviction. It’s your mission statement. And it’s your core motivation to keep going, especially when the going gets tough.
When you have a clear vision of what you desire to manifest in the world, there isn’t anything or anyone that can stop you. Believe that.— Gerard Adams, trainer of Mindvalley’s The Science of Personal Branding Quest
Here’s how you can discover your purpose with tips from Mindvalley experts.
1. Embrace the unfiltered you | Gerard Adams
There’s a lot of talk about authenticity, and with good reason: the first step to living for yourself is understanding and embracing who you truly are. It’s about being the raw, unfiltered, most true-to-you version of yourself.
When you’re able to do so, your actions tend to align with your true nature, like how Maui embraced his authentic self. As a result, you’ll more than likely feel confident in your values, believe in yourself, and pursue your passions.
Tip from Gerard Adams, trainer of Mindvalley’s The Science of Personal Branding Quest: “If we can just be ourselves fully, authentically, that’s where real influence is born. That’s where real connection, that’s where real intimacy happens.”
2. Develop the habit of consciousness | Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani
We make so many decisions in a day that we form routines to make them easier. Usually, it goes something like this:
The alarm clock goes off. We get up and go brush our teeth. Then, we have breakfast. And then, we change into our day’s attire. And then…and so on and so forth; you know the drill.
The truth is, our days are on autopilot, with many of us finding life boring. And the way out of this trance is through the habit of consciousness.
It forces you to be aware of all the little decisions you must make in a day, like how Mulan must be aware of all her actions to avoid being caught by the army. This habit is the epitome of a growth mindset.
Tip from Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani, co-founder of Mindvalley and trainer of the Live by Your Own Rules Quest: “Start noticing: how do you make decisions? Where have you been on autopilot? Bring consciousness back to your everyday routine.”
3. Get clear on your vision | Regan Hillyer
We often set goals not based on what will bolster our unique gifts but on what society has deemed necessary for us to pursue. This often leads you into a funk and living a life of unfulfilled potential.
It’s not enough to say, “I want this…” or “I want that…” You need to be clear on your vision — what does the thing you want look like? What does it feel like? What does it actually mean to you?
Create a vision board or something similar that will constantly remind you of your dreams. And as you go on the quest to discover your purpose, you’ll discover what it looks like, what it feels like, and what it means to you.
Tip from Regan Hillyer, trainer of Mindvalley’s The Art of Manifesting Quest: “Too many people never get what they desire in their life because they never actually claim what they want. They never actually get clear on what they’re asking for, so in some ways, we have to teach ourselves to dream again.”
4. Manifest through goal-setting | Jon Butcher
Setting clear goals is more than just wishful thinking. It’s actually setting your intentions. And that is the basis of any manifestation.
Whether you realize it or not, most goals are achieved through the Law of Attraction, the concept that you manifest what you think. And there are three simple steps to manifesting with this law: ask, believe, and receive. So goal-setting is the “ask”; creating the plan and putting it into action is the “believe”; and when you achieve the goal, that is the “receive.”
Tip from Jon Butcher, trainer of Mindvalley’s Lifebook Quest: “Goals are instructions to yourself. Setting goals pulls you forward toward the object of your desire.”
5. Listen to your inner guidance | Michael Beckwith
So you’ve found your truth, you’re conscious of your daily actions, you’ve set your goals, and you’re clear on your dreams… The golden question now is: what is your purpose in life?
According to spiritual teacher Michael Beckwith, the Universe is constantly on your side and always working for you to realize your unique purpose. And your task as a human being is to simply embrace it.
Learning how to find your purpose requires asking powerful questions, such as:
- What gift am I to give to the world?
- What is trying to emerge in my life?
- What is my next step to take?
And one secret to finding the answers: listen.
Tip from Reverand Michael Beckwith, trainer of Mindvalley’s Life Visioning Mastery Quest: “Learn to become still. And to take your attention away from what you don’t want, and all the emotional charge around it, and place your attention on what you wish to experience.”
This meditation, guided by Michael Beckwith, can help you practice stillness from a place of peace, gratitude, and love.
Life Is Always Better With Purpose
You’re here in this life to make your unique mark on the world, whether it’s with one person, one community, or humanity as a whole. As Merida from Disney’s Brave says, “Our fate lives within us; you only have to be brave enough to see it.”
If you need a little guidance on how to find your purpose, the experts at Mindvalley can help you. Their quests are filled with wisdom to help you make a change so you can create an impact. Here are some you can start with:
- The Science of Personal Branding with Gerard Adams. Known as The Millenial Mentor™, Gerard is here to help you live a life led by your intuition and authentically crafted by you.
- Live by Your Own Rules with Kristina Mänd-Lakhiani. With the help of Kristina, you can learn how to shed the masks of society, identify your personal truths, and nurture your relationship with yourself.
- The Art of Manifesting with Regan Hillyer. Regan will guide you on becoming a master manifester by tapping into your infinite power, designing your best life, and fulfilling your soul’s true desires.
- Lifebook Online with Jon and Missy Butcher. This is a book you write under the guidance of the Butcher’s. You can discover how to envision and plan every area of life so you can turn it into a masterpiece.
- Life Visioning Mastery with Reverand Michael Beckwith. With guidance from Reverand Beckwith, you can master how to rise above goals and pursuits that don’t serve you and gain complete clarity of what success and fulfillment truly mean to you.
Whenever you’re ready to open yourself up to your great potential, sign up to Mindvalley and sample some quest classes for free.
As the saying goes, life is a one-time offer; use it well.