Have you ever wondered why on earth am I here? What is the meaning of this life? Of everything?! Just what am I supposed to be doing with my life?
Well buckle up, because I have spent the last decade pondering this and I actually have an answer for you today.
Obviously this is only my humble opinion, but I have to say, since I've figured out why I'm here and the purpose of my own life, things have become a little clearer, and a lot less confusing.
The purpose of life is to discover our unique talents and to utilize them in a way that serves the world.
That's all. Nothing overly complicated (the good stuff is always so simple, eh?).
Let me expand.
My belief is that the purpose of our lives is to figure out who we are, what is unique about us and just how we can use these gifts and talents to somehow contribute to the world at large.
When we get to the end of our lives, we will be judged not by how much money we earned or how big a mortgage we managed to pay off but instead by how authentically we lived. Did we really allow our true selves to shine? And did we use our unique talents in a smart and intelligent way to contribute positively, to create changes for the better? Or did we live someone else's life? A life full of "shoulds." Did we do what was expected of us? Did we choose to just "fit in"?
Lets delve deeper. There are three main parts to this theory.
Part one: Who are you?
Many, many philosophers have come to the same conclusion over the years that knowing yourself is of the utmost importance. And I agree. I mean, how can we ever figure out our life purpose if we don't know who we are? At times it stupefies me to see how we know more about the latest celebrity or movie than we do about our own selves.
To be fair, it's not our fault. You see, nobody teaches us this stuff... at school we are not taught to understand who we are and what's important to us, instead we are shown how to fit into a mould and answer questions to tests that are quite definitely unimportant. I wonder how different things would be if our education systems were a little more focused on discovering our true talents and skills (with no stigma) rather than encouraging us to focus on those things that might 'earn us a living' down the track.
So let me ask you a question: Who are you?
Do you know? What's important to you? What do you value the most in life? And more importantly what don't you value? Because you need to avoid that stuff like the plague!
Part two: What is unique about you?
Secondly, our journey in life must reveal what is unique about us. Each and every one of us has something special that we do, that no one else can do quite so well. We really do. And it's only when we find out what this is, that we can start to really beam our inner genius. We all have this form of genius inside of us, and we're all different of course, but it's up to us to find out what form it takes for us. As Albert Einstein once said:
"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."
Are you hauling yourself up trees when you should be effortlessly gliding through the water? Are you in a job that drains you and makes life feel hard, or are your true talents and abilities shining out of every pore?
Only you know the answer.
And there is nothing quite so heartbreaking as that person who has reached the end of their life having not uncovered their inner genius. They chose to stay safe. To "earn a living." Doing something that they weren't made to do. Let me tell you something: You were made to do something on this earth and it's your job to find out what it is. Don't waste it. And for goodness sake please whatever you do, don't make the mistake of living someone else's life and pretending to enjoy it.
Part three: contribute.
And last of all, once we find out what our precious gifts are, we must then find a way to use them to not only to our own advantage, but to the advantage of all. Take any famous or wealthy individual and look at what they do next after they have made their millions and bought everything they ever wanted. Every single one of them turns to philanthropy of some sort. Why? Because entertaining our talents for our own sake does not fulfill us. Not long-term anyway. It only goes so far.
And its only when we can make the link between our true talents; our inner genius and a cause that's greater than our own selves that we will get close to experiencing true fulfillment in life.
This my friend, is the purpose of our life.
And once you crack that one, you'll beam like the sun.
Here are three simple steps to figure out your life purpose:
1. Start a journey of self-discovery: learn about who you are. Find out what's important to you. Discover your personal values. And most importantly reveal what you dislike doing (and make sure your life plan avoids this stuff at all costs)
2. Identify your unique talents & skills: Consider what you're good at? Spend some time realizing what really is unique about you? Get clear about what you do that no one else does.
3. Find a greater cause: Think about what problem in the world you would like solve? How can you use your talents & abilities to somehow contribute to the world? How can you help others through the use of your own talents?
My life purpose is to help others to find their passion. And it took me a while to get there, but I know it to be true. And you'll know it when you find yours too. My unique gift is strategy. I seem to find it easy to turn what should be an overwhelming, confusing process into a step by step program. And so I have chosen to use this talent to help others to live out their purpose instead of living out what the media tells us to (husband, followed by mortgage followed by kids equals happiness).
I really hope you find your life purpose too.
To your success!
This article first appeared on SimpleLifeStrategies.com. Zoe B is a Sydney based coach who helps smart professionals transition out of boring, uninspiring jobs into careers they really love.