In this article we'll sum everything up and give you some tools to clarify your Life Purpose.
So far we've looked at a number of factors that contribute to your life purpose. Note that each one alone is not necessarily the sole factor - they all combine.
Firstly we looked at childhood influences. In childhood, particularly before the age of 7, we absorb a lot of ideas from our parents and caregivers.
This information is absorbed without filtration and stays with us until something else in life causes it to be changed or removed.
Second, we looked at your passions and interests . We looked at why what we love to do may or may not be our life purpose. We also looked at our values, from which our passions and interests arise.
Next we considered talents and skills. Things that we are good at naturally, or which we have learned to do, are strong contributors to our life purpose.
Our personality plays a role in our life purpose as well. Some people are very outgoing and naturally fit into roles such as social organisers, broadcasters and public speakers.
Others are less outgoing and excel in professions such as computer programming, music composition and the arts.
Funnily enough, coincidental events such as 2 people being in the same place at the same time can contribute to our life purpose.
We may find ourselves in a situation that accords with all the factors above that tell us 'this is the way forwards'.
This coincidence may not be anything magical and might be as simple as 'like attracts like.'
Beliefs - whether limiting or empowering - lead people to take certain actions, or to NOT take them.
For instance, someone who is profoundly religious may consider going into the priesthood.
Other beliefs can cause someone to be unfulfilled and to always be seeking that fulfilment.
The stronger someone's beliefs, the more likely they are to be certain of their life purpose - but they may still be wrong!
Finally we looked at life changing experiences and their role in defining your life purpose.
A good example of this is St Paul's conversion to Christianity. Set in AD 33, Paul was a Pharisee (a Jewish sect), a group who persecuted Christians.
On the road to Damascus, he had a 'revelation' - visions of Christ asking him why he persecuted Christians - and not only converted to Christianity, but became one the key proponents of the religion.
Whilst revelations can appear to be mystical in nature, they also can be as simple as a profound paradigm shift in your thinking that sends you off in a radical new direction.
Other life changing experiences may be as a result of factors outside your control.
Clarify Your Life Purpose - Exercise
The following exercise is designed to allow you to consider everything we've covered so far and to put it all together coherently. Kind of like a jigsaw puzzle. It's a reflective exercise that helps to create momentum and a trajectory towards your ultimate purpose.
It helps to do this exercise in a place you won't be distracted and where you feel comfortable and relaxed.
So sit back and look at everything we've covered so far. Consider each question carefully and in a non-rushed manner and take as long as you need to answer them.
- After looking over the influences from your childhood, what do you feel is your world view and role in life?
- Once you have reviewed your passions and interests, which of them stand out as the most meaningful and inspirational?
- Considering your talents and skills, which are the most useful and purposeful?
- How have coincidences played a role in your life?; Where have they been leading you?; Have they always been leading you down your true path?; Do you believe they always will?
- Have there been turning points in your life that have propelled you toward a life of purpose and meaning, and if so, what were they?
- What does it seem you were born to do?
- Do you seem to be in the business of doing something that could lead to your life purpose?
- What does it seem your life has been leading up to?
- How does it all fit together?
- What trajectory is your life taking and in what direction are you going?
To sum up, ask yourself what are the 3-5 main points that stand out above the rest? How do they clarify your Life Purpose?
Finally, summarise your main mission or purpose in life:
"My purpose is to..."
Coming Next: Writing Your Manifesto
Previous Article In This Series: Life Changing Events and Experiences