Finding Your Purpose in 3 Ways: The Only Questions You Should Ask / Thrive Global
by Cayla Vidmar posted on Thrive Global
I lay in bed in the middle of the night, looking at the ceiling when my chest seized up in excruciating pain. This chest pain was something that had been going on for some time, but this was next level. At that moment I realized something was wrong: I hated my job, the one I had worked so hard to get.
My job itself wasn’t overly stressful, but I couldn’t shake the thought that my life still wasn’t what I thought it should be, and it was quickly ticking by, with every year being the same as the last.
The work I was doing wasn’t changing people’s lives, I wasn’t helping anyone, I didn’t feel like there was any meaning in my day to day life.
On top of that, I couldn’t figure out what my purpose was, or what I’d rather be doing. I was running in circles, consuming as much information as I could about starting businesses and flip-flopping from one passion to the next.
My list of possible dream careers swirled in my head, I imagined a thousand different realities before breakfast. But I couldn’t figure out my one thing and was quickly losing hope.
Important Things Vs. Unimportant Things As Mark Mason so aptly puts it: “We exist on this earth for some undetermined period of time. During that time we do things. Some of these things are important. Some of them are unimportant. And those important things give our lives meaning and happiness.”
It really is that simple.
The problem is we easily get swept up in all the possible realities and careers presented to us that we quickly lose focus. We’re easily distracted.
Top that with commitment phobia and we end up stuck in the spin cycle of “Well, I think I would like to do that, but what if I commit all this time, energy and resources on it and end up hating it?”
Then 50 years go by and we arrive to our late life with that “What the hell?!” look on our face wondering how we made it this far without doing/being the things/person we wanted.
Our Purpose-Finding Approach is All Wrong
“The opposite of love is indifference, and the opposite of happiness is boredom.”
— Tim Ferriss
There are literally thousands of paths and careers out there. Probably millions. There are people who taste test ice cream, are professional mermaids, and Instagram for a living. What a time to be alive!
And it’s true, the possibilities really are endless. But the problem is that we’re just throwing spaghetti against the wall and seeing what sticks. When it comes to picking a passion, most people are chasing goals rather than chasing how they want to feel.
So we manifest and achieve all our goals — like the pay raise, the new job, starting that business — only to find out that we’re still not happy or fulfilled.
The goals we achieve end up not being important to us, and so we bounce to the next goal and so on until we die. We might get lucky and find something that truly does bring us fulfillment and joy, but it’s kind of a risky gamble, isn’t it?
If our lives aren’t guaranteed and tomorrow might never come, I’d rather try to hedge my bets on a sure thing rather than just hoping my choices will bring me fulfillment. Which is why I got really clear with myself. I asked myself the following three questions and it forced me to get to the nugget of truth, the real thing I was actually chasing. Not just the goals, not just the ideas, but the actual thing that leads to fulfillment, meaning and purpose.
How I want to feel every day
Because if every day feels like loathing, it’s going to add up to a lifetime of loathing. If every day is the rest of our life, I’d rather my days feel purposeful and enriching. You too?
Good, here are 3 questions you need to ask yourself before you do anything related to job hunting, business-starting or passion-finding:
“We thought that we had the answers, it was the questions we had wrong.” — Bono
The point here is plugging deeply into our desires and how we want to feel which manifests itself differently from person to person. It’s a losing game looking outside of yourself to figure out what you should be doing with your life.
No one knows but you.
And while you might be convinced that you have no idea what you want to be when you grow up, the truth is that the answer has been there all along. You just weren’t asking the right questions to find it.
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