Experts have long debated the question—what makes life worth living? Is it a life filled with happiness or a life filled with purpose? Many believe both to be the same thing. But the fact is, there is a fine line between the two. According to a study published in the Journal of Positive Psychology, what makes us happy may not always bring meaning to life and vice versa.
This may be the reason why people who have everything—a stable job, a loving family, a big house, and the best of cars—often feel empty.
What is it then, you wonder, that makes you feel empty? The answer is not having a purpose in life. When you have a purpose, you use your time, energy, and focus on things that matter the most. A purpose in life makes you feel alive and gives you the energy to keep going, even when the going gets tough.
A study at the University of California, San Diego, found that if you have a purpose in life, you are likely to feel better both physically and mentally on a daily basis. Another study published in the Journal of Research in Personality found people who have a sense of purpose are more financially successful than those who feel their lives have no meaning.
With so many benefits to offer, it is clear that finding a purpose in life is important. If you are among those who experience a feeling of emptiness from time to time, here are some steps you can take to fill the void and find purpose in life.
Make reading a habit
It is important to expand your horizon when you are trying to find something that would resonate with you. Reading helps you do just that. It is a great practice to read about people who you find inspiring, or even taking up fiction can spur your imagination. Read as many books as possible, and as much as you can. Doing so will not only help you grow as a person but also open up your mind to new experiences. Reading gives you a great insight into life and helps you come up with ideas that can be life-changing.
Talk to new people
We often find ourselves surrounded by strangers, whether on our daily commute or while sitting in a park or café. Yet, we choose to remain in self-imposed isolation. Most of us bury ourselves in our phones because we feel that striking up a conversation with a stranger is not easy. Such assumptions are unwarranted and restrict us as humans. Talking to people outside your circle can open your eyes to new thoughts, ideas, opportunities, and causes that you never knew existed. All such experiences can help you find your purpose in life.
At its core, curiosity is about paying attention and being drawn towards things you find interesting. When you are curious, you see things differently. You ask more questions and wonder how things work, and try new approaches to solving problems. You are open to different ideas and cultures. When you are looking to find your purpose in life, chances are high that you will find it in something that fascinates you. The more curious you are, the more interested you will be in learning about it. This can help you find the answers you have been looking for.
You need to push yourself to do things that you have never done before. Unless you try new things, you may find it hard to discover what you love. Think about it. A life without challenges is a life that is predictable. There is nothing new or exciting in it. Most of the time, people need the challenge to feel purposeful and satisfied. You can try out new activities like a sport, a hobby, or volunteering for community services. Doing so will help you step out of your comfort zone and face your fears. Challenging yourself in this way will inspire you to work towards something more meaningful.
Know your abilities
To find your purpose, you need to be aware of your strengths and weaknesses. If you are good with numbers, perhaps your purpose lies in the field of banking or accounting. If you are good at cooking, ask yourself if being a chef excites you. If you excel in sports, then that’s the space where you should search for your purpose. As the saying goes, everyone is a genius, but you can’t judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree. So, make sure you are looking at the right place. And that can only be done once you know your abilities.
Be around positive people
When you are around positive people, you feel more relaxed and motivated. You become more confident to accomplish things you haven’t before. When you surround yourself with positivity, you are likely to adopt empowering beliefs. You find encouragement from all corners, and this helps you in your search for purpose. The saying “you are the company you keep” is so true.
Turn ideas into action
If you want to become a marathon runner, you first need to develop the habit of running every day. By developing the habit of putting ideas into action, you are in a better position to achieve the results you desire. To do so, you need to have a disciplined attitude that can help you do things even when you don’t want to do them. Once you adopt this way of life, you will not deter from your path of finding your purpose in life.