What Gives You Purpose?

The idea of why you do the things you do, what motivates you to take the actions that you take on a daily, weekly, or yearly basis has a name: purpose.

A purpose can be a very personal thing, and it may be unique to each individual. Some may be motivated by money. Others may want to take care of their family or loved ones. Some strive to save lives, or ease the suffering of others. Or living a life of luxury, or seeking approval of your parents, or fulfilling a need to create, or…

Knowing  your purposes in life and working to achieve them can be a powerful motivating influence. Conversely, not knowing what your purpose is, or being unable to work toward it can lead to a life full of frustration.

What gives you purpose? What are you doing to fulfill that purpose?

Related questions: Is happiness the most important purpose in life? How do you define success? What makes you you? What makes you the happiest?

5 thoughts on “What Gives You Purpose?”

  1. I find purpose through the many roles I fill in my life.

    First and foremost, I try to be the best partner possible to my wife. I love and cherish my strong, supportive, and fun relationship with Rebecca. Together, we foster a sense of us, maintaining a healthy number of common interests, while also allowing each other to grow as individuals. Additionally, I like that we challenge each other to be the better selves we want to be.

    Second, I find purpose in using my skills, talents, and resources to advance my social justice passions: fighting to end poverty as well as the stigma and discrimination attached to mental illness. I often reflect that a successful advocate makes change desirable, necessary, and possible. I work to articulate a vision in which justice wins. I then provide tangible actions to reach this future and befriend those who can help make it happen.

    Third, I find purpose in being a cheerleader, helping others see and use their skills and talents to better themselves and their community. Each of us are more powerful than we think. I try to help those who want to do good do so by seeing that their own skills, talents, and actions are key to a better future.

    Next, I find purpose in my relationships. I want to be surrounded by people who care snd show respect for one another, who are intellectually curious, and fun. I try to be the best friend, family member, and colleague possible.

    And last, at least for what I can think of now, I find purpose in being an heirloom gardener. I take to heart two main points. First that in the last century, 94 percent of our seed varieties have disappeared. I patronize seed savers for they will save us from future food crises. And, second, I try to follow my favorite author, Wendell Berry’s, advice: to “eat responsibly” because “eating is an agricultural act.” I embrace this advice beyond the eating in that I also grow a diverse and decent amount of food for Rebecca and me each year.

  2. If I had to choose one purpose, it would have to be my mission to make a difference in other people’s lives. I enjoy helping others and helping them be the best that they can be. When I see someone who has low confidence, I am 1st in line to point out the wonderful things that they have to offer this world. If I know someone who is struggling, I try to find a way to brighten their day and ease their load if it is possible. When I can bring a smile to someone else’s face, that is most rewarding to me.

  3. The people close around me give me purpose. They make it fun and meaningful. I can and enjoy doing things by myself, but at a certain point, it doesn’t mean anything. Like the line from the book Into the Wild, “happiness only real when shared.”

    Also the desire to create, be tangibly productive, and have new experiences.

  4. Great question! It is now 11:37 pm – too late to think about this. I’m sure my family gives me purpose. I’m a husband, father, grandfather, brother, son. And that’s just for starters. My family extends beyond the conventional family. We are all children of God, so we are all related. Native Americans say we are all related, and that extends to all creatures. To be continued….

    1. One thing I can do that gives me purpose is to take an active role in my community. Tomorrow I’m attending a coffee to get to know a candidate for Mayor of my city. I hope to let him know about my concerns and hopes for the future of our city. I’ve been fortunate to live in a vibrant, safe community and it’s time for me to give something back by assuming a more active role.

      Another thing that gives my life purpose, is making space for recreation (re-creation) in my life. For me, that is a four-letter word, golf. Golf and now music. I joined the church choir, and between singing and doing yoga, I’m feeling more alive and energetic.

      I could go on and on, but will stop here for now. Thanks for asking (and listening).

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