There are over 190,000 books listed on Amazon about how you can learn your life purpose.
Thats a lot of books. Everyone wants to know their life purpose. In this video Film Producer and Motivational Speaker Adam Leipzig poses 5 simple questions to reveal your life purpose. However, his video misses one key component.
I don’t like the word purpose. It implies that somewhere in the future I will find something that will make me happy. And until then I will be unhappy. People fool themselves into thinking that the currency of unhappiness will buy them happiness. That we have to “pay our dues”, go on some sort of ride, and then get dropped off at a big location called our “purpose” where now we can be happy.
It doesn’t work that way.
Author and Speaker Laura Berman Fortgang says in her article about purpose being a journey:
Finding one’s purpose in life is not the destination. Once you recognize it, own it and begin to fulfill it, you have launched yourself on a journey of twist and turns that will take the rest of your life to complete.
“Life purpose” carries a cultural connotation of a singular skill or career that defines you as a person. We praise child prodigies who can perform Mozart at age 6 and people who create billion dollar companies before the age of 30. We praise them, then question ourselves: “What am I doing with my life? What’s my purpose?”
The most important point Adam Leipzig discusses in his talk is this: Only 2 of the 5 questions are about you! More than half are about others. In this self-centered society we live in I believe this is a healthy point to take in. You’re “life purpose” impacts more than just you, it affects others as well.
Purpose is not always tangible, not always a task, not always a single skill. Most of all, it’s not just about you. I believe that life purpose is really a collection of themes and principles that you live by. It’s not a singular choice, but a collection of choices you make based on your life themes. Those choices then form a path that takes you on a journey. Life purpose is not a destination. You are not a static entity.
I hated it when friends in high school signed year books or senior photos with the typical phrase “Never change, you’re amazing just the way you are.” That is horrible life advice. You should be continually changing, continually growing, continually learning. Yes, we will always see through the same eyes but that sight can be heightened and made more clear and colorful. We do this by educating ourselves, trying knew experiences, and stepping out of our comfort zones. So really, this is 5 questions to know your life purpose now, at this point of your journey. We are growing and evolving creatures. We are not meant to stay exactly the same. Our principles and life themes should stay constant, but our tastes change, our likes and dislike expand and contract. So although I agree will Adam Leipzig’s technique here, I believe this is not a one-shot. These questions should be revisited multiple times throughout your life.
So with those thoughts in mind, watch the video, then answer these five questions:
- Who are you?
- What do you (love to) do?
- Who do you do it for?
- What do they want or need?
- How do they change as a result?
As your path changes course be willing to investigate yourself and ask these questions again. If you learn how to be self aware and authentically care about other people, the answers will come to you. Now you’ll always have the answer to that common question: “So what do you do?” No matter what your current “job” or situation is, it’s the answer to question #5 because thats how you affect others.