Five reasons that drive us to live with a purpose
As humans, we sometimes hit a slump and feel unmotivated to do anything. Sometimes it’s just a matter of circumstance, but other times it’s something deeper. We are wired to look for meaning and purpose, whether it is for daily routines like exercise or big things like our careers. But why does the idea of living a purposeful life energize us? Perhaps, these are the reasons:
1. We are excited to learn the lessons.
Cliché as it may be, every experience is an opportunity to learn. And unpleasant experiences are easier to accept if we view them as avenues for growth. Having a growth mindset – always seeking out the lesson – helps us make sense of why things happen, and how to make the most of the situation. Even if we don’t really figure things out, we can come away with a greater sense of calm as we process what happened. Going through challenging circumstances also sets us up to help others in similar situations, which brings us to the next point.
2. We want to realize what it means to make a difference.
Giving always brings more benefits than costs. Helping others gives meaning to an otherwise mundane life, because it draws us out of our immediate circumstances. When we extend ourselves, we look beyond our own life and start seeing things from another person’s perspective. Giving also makes life more meaningful by knowing that someone else is better off because of something we’ve done. So if you’re feeling purposeless at the moment, try giving to a cause that is close to your heart. You can even make giving a habit and sign up for long-term programs like child sponsorship.
3. We are encouraged to explore our passions.
Always wanted to try playing the drums? Or take up dancing? Pursuing a new passion is not only good for your mental well-being; it also helps bring color into your life. If you’ve ever started a new hobby, you know how it feels – you get charged with a different kind of energy. Sometimes, picking up a new skill or activity is the motivation you need to get out of bed. Rather than seeing it as selfish, investing in your personal growth is one of the most purposeful things you can do. You can achieve a lot more if you’re energized and filled with passion.
4. We are inclined to reconnect with other people.
We are made for relationships. On days when you’re feeling particularly ‘meh’ or ‘blah’ and feel like you have to do something worthwhile, take that as a signal to reach out to someone. It could be an old friend you haven’t spoken to in a while. Or maybe you need to make new friends through a new hobby group or event. Whatever it is, try to build a deep connection with someone. Friends are the ones who help us get out of a rut, and now is as good a time as any to reconnect. A fulfilling friendship is good fuel for building meaning and purpose, but you’ll only reap the rewards if you invest in it.
5. We are moved to work towards a worthy cause.
Few things drive purpose more than contributing to a change-making movement. Whether it’s education or climate justice or girls’ rights, find something that compels you to take action. Then go do something. Find a local group to support and join their activities. Make new friends and build memories in the process. Knowing that you’ve helped make the world a better place will surely help you sleep more soundly at night.
Finding purpose doesn’t have to be a big existential process. You can build meaning into your daily activities by approaching each activity with the right intention. More than what we do, it is how we think about things. Find your inner reason for day-to-day activities, and see how your attitude changes.