Depression is not sadness. It is hopelessness.
And telling you about myself – if I don’t have my purpose with me, I’d fall back into depression again.
When I was depressed, I didn’t have a reason to get up from bed every day.
I wished I could stay in bed all day long, binge-watching some random Netflix series.
But then my first anxiety attack changed everything.
I got therapy. And I learnt that if I don’t tie my life with a purpose, I’m going to fall back into depression again.
It took me months and years to figure out what I love doing the most.
Sometimes, people figure their purpose of life in a few weeks only, and sometimes it takes decades.
Keep reading this post if you want to find the purpose of your life with a 22-minute exercise.
I want to ask you this
WHAT IF ->
1) Your actions and thoughts are aligned with each other? You execute whatever you think. (And don’t just daydream) 🧐
2) Your emotions are aligned with your efforts. So your emotions support your efforts, and they don’t create chaos in your life. 🤨
3) Your personal and professional lives align in one direction. And your career, your passion, your hobbies – everything works in a single direction as per your values – of what you actually want from life. 🤔
How will having a purpose in life align your actions, thoughts, and emotions?
For the past few months and years, I have been working on aligning these elements in one direction – my goals, my purpose, my career, my thoughts, my actions, my emotions.
And now they are aligned with each other, I can witness the manifold increased impact of all that.
Whenever and whatever I do now, I put it on an imaginary compass.
This compass is directed to my ultimate purpose and vision of life.
And so if the new “decision” aligns in the direction on this compass, I’ll take it.
Otherwise, I am not afraid to pass on the opportunity.
Would you like to design such an effective compass 🧭 for your life as well?
What do Harvard researchers have to say about this?
A new study by a team of Harvard School of Public Health researchers finds that if you feel you have a higher sense of purpose in life — defined as having meaning, a sense of direction and goals — you are more likely to remain healthy and physically strong as you grow older.CNBC.com
So the question is… How will you find the purpose of your life?
Different ways work for different people. Sometimes the epiphany comes when you’re least bothered with it.
There are certain ways to move forward in the direction of finding your purpose.
Finding your Ikigai
If there’s any latest blog over the internet about ‘finding your purpose’, and it doesn’t talk about ‘Ikigai’… Ummm, I’m not sure if it’s possible.
Anyway, if you have never heard about Ikigai…
“Ikigai (生き甲斐, pronounced [ikiɡai]) is a Japanese concept that means “a reason for being”. The word refers to having a direction or purpose in life, that which makes one’s life worthwhile, and towards which an individual takes spontaneous and willing actions giving them satisfaction and a sense of meaning to life.”Wikipedia
Ikigai means doing
- What you love
- What the world needs
- What you can be paid for
- What you are good at
Ikigai is best-represented pictorially with this image –
0-5 minutes: How to find what you love doing?
Find out what you love, and let it kill you.Charles Bukowski
While ultimately your purpose will be your Ikigai, but for starters finding your Ikigai could be a lot overwhelming.
We can try easier practices.
Pick up your notebook and write down 20 different activities you liked doing in your childhood.
Drawing, running, acting – whatever you loved doing as a child.
Now observe all the activities you don’t do anymore. Try them, one by one.
Eventually, you’d find different activities you’ll love doing even today.
Keep doing that. One activity at a time. And whatever sparks Joy to you, keep pursuing it.
6-10 minutes: How to find what the world needs?
If you were to go back 5 years in your life right now, how can you help your 5 years younger self?
Make a list.
Can you help your 5 years younger self with career counselling? Can you help her with relationship advice? What else can you do for her?
The point is… you represent this world. Whatever you needed 3-5 years ago, chances are- there would be a need of the same help to others too.
It doesn’t have to be too big. It could be small, but important.
11-15 minutes: How to find what you are good at?
The secret sauce formula?
So if you’re not good at career counselling right now, but it’s what you needed 5 years ago, and you like helping others with advice… you can learn career counselling.
What are you good at doing? Anything that you practice. Anything.
Except in some cases, there might be some physical boundaries, but nonetheless.
This is on you to decide what you want to be good at. If you want to be good at manipulating people, kudos! You’ll become good at that.
If you want to be good at something you love doing, let’s say dancing… practice dancing every day for the next 5 years, and you’d be a world-class dancer.
If you want to be good at something the world needs, let’s say a career counsellor… learn and practice career counselling every day for the next 5 years, and you’d be an exception career counsellor.
To read more about this 5-year formula, read James Altucher’s Reinvent yourself.
Make a list.
What are the things you are/want to be good at?
16-20 minutes: How to find what you can be paid for?
Are you currently earning any money? What skills do you have? What can you do that others will pay you for?
Make a list. Note them down in your notebook.
Figure out what you love doing, and take help from business mentors. Ask them – “How can I earn money from this?”
Figure out what you’re already good at doing, and take help from business mentors. Ask them – “How can I earn money from this?”
Figure out what the world needs, and study business and economics. Figure out how you can turn this into a business.
21-22 minutes: Analysis of your notes
Check all the 4 sections we filled in the last 20minutes. Is there anything common in those 4 sections, or maybe there are 2-3 items common in 2 or 3 of those sections?
Note them down.
These common items are the closest options for your Ikigai.
(Little secret – the more you start working on each of these lists, the closer you’ll get to finding the purpose of your life.)
But hold on. Stay with me for some more time.
WHAT IF I DIDN’T FIND ANYTHING COMMON IN THE 4 SECTIONS?
Ah, Alright. It’s okay.
By listing down what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can get paid for… you have already taken the first step in finding your ikigai.
What’d be your next step in this journey?
Keep trying and learning activities that overlap those 4 sections.
Finding your purpose of life isn’t a 1-day task. It takes months and years to find the sweet spot where you can call it your life’s purpose.
But guess what? Today’s the first day of the rest of your life.
And you’ve done a tremendous job in working towards your life’s purpose on this day.
If you are just reading this post, and not doing the exercises mentioned above… no issues, you can start after reading this. Deal?
So, congratulations. I am super proud of you.
AND in case you need help in finding the purpose of your life, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Let’s talk 🙂
1. Design an imaginary compass, and use it to align all the decisions and actions towards your goals
2. Find your purpose of life with the 22 minutes exercise as mentioned above in the post.
3. In case you need help in finding the purpose of your life, drop me an email at email@example.com Let’s talk 🙂