I firmly believe we were put on earth in this particular time, in this particular body, for some reason. We were given a whole human life to live. How are we living it?
Many people have a clear sense of purpose. For some, it may be being a parent. For others, it is being an artist. Purpose may also be found in religious, or spiritual quests. For many, purpose may be in their careers and their work.
The research is overwhelming around the idea that having a sense of purpose improves overall health, wellbeing, and longevity.
At the same time, we may be longing for a sense of purpose and have no sense of what it is, let alone how to figure out our purpose.
Elizabeth Gilbert, best-selling author of “Eat, Pray, Love,” gave a now-famous speech about finding your passion. It easily applies to finding our sense of purpose, as well. She suggests to shift your focus from trying to find your passion, to instead follow your curiosity to lead you to your passion. I don’t disagree with her.
To take it one step further, I believe we can prime ourselves to understand and follow our curiosity, by shifting our focus from living a life of purpose, to living life on purpose.
We’re so often going through our lives on autopilot, not giving much thought to why we’re even doing what we're doing - on both a micro and macro level.
If we can slow ourselves down and practice being more present in our lives and for the sake of our lives, we can start to find meaning in even the most mundane tasks.
Suddenly, eating a sandwich isn’t just about not being hungry anymore. It’s being aware of everything that led up to creating the sandwich and being nourished in that moment.
It also becomes about the farmers who grew the wheat for the bread. The truck drivers who transported each ingredient to the store. The bakers, the ranchers, the grocery workers who sold us the ingredients, or restaurant workers who prepared and served the sandwich. It is even taking in and enjoying each element of the sandwich from its taste to the satisfying feeling of being full.
When we live the moments of our lives in this way on purpose, everything we do and experience becomes that much more meaningful. And, the more we experience meaningful moments, the more we have our curiosity fulfilled in new, exciting ways. And, if we follow our curiosity, as Elizabeth Gilbert notes, we also have the opportunity to find new passions.
Finding our purpose, our passions, I believe, is why we are here. Fully inhabiting each moment of the human lives we are given to live - whether it is in our personal lives, or our work lives. Feeling every feeling (even the unpleasant ones). Enjoying each morsel of food. Leaning into the embrace of a loved one - and being able to hold on to that feeling. Expanding our horizons at work and embrace the wisdom of a mentor (or be a mentor). It is in these moments, where we will start to find meaning, curiosity, passion - and purpose.
If you’re struggling to find what your purpose might be, I encourage you to try living on purpose, as much as possible and see where it may lead you. Or, reach out, find a LifeGuide to support you on this journey in the “Growth, Purpose & Fulfillment” topic area.