By Amarachukwu Okpunobi
Purpose doesn’t have to be this elusive and confusing concept that so many people make it to be, where the more you ponder, the more the word becomes devoid of meaning. Finding purpose is a much simpler process than you may think.
Purpose is very subjective. Everyone will want something different out of life and so we ultimately have varying perspectives of purpose. I think that young men nowadays are not actively trying to improve themselves and are not seeking challenges to grow. Instead, they are indulging in addictive behaviors fueled by modern society’s pressure to ‘fit in’.
Every day I walk home from school I pass this one window, in which I see the same boy, no more than a year or two younger than me. He would always be either on his phone or playing video games, and what sticks in my mind most is how trapped he seemed, as if the very screen he was so immersed in was engulfing him, trapping him behind the steel bars of social media and video games.
I was once like that, yet I still ask myself, why is this? Why is it that such a small device could make someone seem so lost and desultory? Maybe it’s a way for them to feel safe from the outside world, to fit in in an environment where they might have felt insignificant and powerless.
It was as if he was trapping himself and he could get out of this cage if he wanted to. He could make a door, make a key or walk through the walls. He’d only ever be trapped as long as he wanted to stay. But there he was trapping himself anyway.
The correct approach
At first, the purpose may seem like a very vague concept, and it may just well remain one despite your countless attempts at uncovering its meaning if you don’t take the right approach.
Imagine the journey of finding purpose to be a video game. As in any other level-based game, we must go through a process of clearing levels to reach the ‘final boss’, in this case, the grand reveal of your purpose.
Being so eager to dive straight into finding your purpose will only leave you feeling defeated and broken, inevitably leading to you giving up. You may even laugh at yourself in the future for trying! But finding purpose is so important when it comes to all aspects of life, and ignoring it just because you failed once is not going to help you one bit.
My point is that before even considering purpose you must first take the necessary steps to grow as a person. As you understand yourself better you will naturally have a much clearer idea of what your purpose is and what you want in life.
The first step to finding purpose is to embrace your true self. Go beyond what others think and look deep within. The truth is, we are on this earth for a reason, and to understand what that deeper reason is…simply begin with purpose.
What gives successful people their mindset?
Often those most in need of money are the ones working the least, whereas the rich, even after ‘making it’ in life, continue to work 24/7.
That’s exactly why they’re successful. They have the mindset of ‘I’m not content to stop there.
But why is this?
To be successful? To make money? Maybe.
Or is it because they enjoy what they do, and are following their purpose. With something to stand by and work towards in life, these people have a reason to fight the urge to just shrink down with the rest of the world and instead rise beyond their limits.
Passion is a slow-burning fuel that can last a lifetime. Greed and the desire to be rich is a quick-burning lust that fades as the burden of work saps your life force — Stephen Guise
Finding success through purpose
There are times in life when we are called to take the road not traveled, as a sort of scout, testing the waters, ensuring that it leads to some place of greater love than to stick to well-known routes. Such exploration takes a degree of courage but it is a necessary step for you to find your purpose after all success doesn’t come to you, you must go to it.
The spark of fulfillment and peace from stepping into your purpose is only the beginning. When you truly embrace your purpose, it becomes a case of doing what you love over what others think you should do.
Inevitably there will be down days, but it is only natural because we are only human. The difference is that you can wake up with a WHY in mind, a reason to push past the challenges and not let them bring you down.
No purpose? No problem
If you wake up and have no real purpose to follow, no cause to fight, and no mission to accomplish, it may feel like it strips you naked of your entire existence. But don’t let this stop you. You would never tell your best friend to give up, you’d tell them to keep pushing forward no matter what, so give yourself that same respect.
You’re the only one that’s with you 24/7. You’re the only one that is responsible for your life. You can blame someone else, but they’re not the ones living your life. Only when you start to take the wheel in life can you start to feel a change.
But how do you do that?
As mentioned earlier, taking time to better understand yourself is essential to finding purpose in life. In the end, you are the one who decides what you do. Mindset is key.
With a fragile mindset that only knows to give up, you are setting yourself up for misery and regret. You need to callous your mind, to learn to be tough, as only this way can you take on the obstacles life throws at you.
Things you can do to self-improve:
Find what you are passionate about, something you want to pursue and can see yourself doing in the far future. Looking so far forward can seem daunting and honestly quite scary, but only this way can you visualize who you want to become and truly strive to achieve that.
Take care of your mind. A great way of doing this could be picking up meditation, and making it a habit. This is something I do and daily meditations are great for clearing my mind so that I could focus on my goals. In the beginning, meditation may seem uncool or a waste of time, but trust me it isn’t.
Be active, and go outside. Whether it’s running, weightlifting, or just going for a walk, being active is great for your mental health and a valuable use of your time. You may be sitting there with very little motivation to work out, and that’s understandable. I was the same a year ago, yet nowadays I find myself working out 6 days a week and going on regular runs. Trust me, When you stick around in the fitness world you’ll inevitably start progressing in other aspects of life as well. See here to read about my experience.
Get rid of bad habits. This is a slow process and something that requires dedication. If your goal is to say, spend less time on social media each day, then instead of depriving yourself throughout the day, you should decrease time spent a little bit at a time. This way you can stay consistent by not being overwhelmed by frustration, because after all, this is in many ways an addiction you are trying to overcome.
Set goals. Think of a few things you want to get better at or do more of. It could be exercise, meditating, reading, or studying. Set yourself achievable goals; goals that involve taking small steps at a time, under doable time-bounds. You mustn’t set unrealistic goals, as this can harm your motivation, and you’ll find yourself giving up before having even truly started.
Once you feel ready to take on the final boss of finding of purpose, ask yourself these questions:
List down the first few things that come to find. Don’t overthink it, as if it’s something you truly enjoy. It should come to you naturally. Forget what other people think and don’t let them stop you from doing what you love. This encompasses all the previous points; everyone is different, and you, and only you, can decide what you want in life.
This one may seem silly, but we’ve all had that experience where we got so wrapped up in something that “I’ll be done soon” turns into “Holy crap, I forgot to have dinner.” If the thing you are doing makes you forget such necessities then it surely has some significance!
When we are children we do what comes naturally. What was the go-to thing you enjoyed doing? Where did you do it? Did you play outside or inside? Did you use tools to make things or did you mostly run around?
Me, I loved doing hands-on things, whether it was playing with Lego or drawing. I found fulfillment through being able to produce something out of hard work. I also loved problem-solving, and believe it or not, I quite enjoyed math as a kid. The good old days of playing with Lego and toys are over but nowadays the things I enjoy still follow the same nature.
For example, I enjoy coding and it’s something I want to pursue in the future. Other things include writing and calisthenics.
These are things you are willing to do, things you don’t mind spending hours on end doing. How would you choose to occupy yourself? Would you work on improving a skill or hobby? Go out with friends? Travel? Play sports? Think about it now and ask yourself, what would you do?