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How to Live a Life of Purpose

Aug 17, 2007
What does a successful life look like? When we ponder that question, we might first think of money in the bank, a beautiful home, and a great-looking car. Or we might think about someone who has gained fame in a sport, art, or profession that they value. We might think of a successful career. All these things can be part of a successful life, but if a life is not lived with purpose, these things become nothing more than external trappings. Purpose gives a life its heart and soul.

To live a life of purpose requires a certain amount of soul searching. Success experts often say that if you listen closely to your heart, you'll be able to determine your real purpose for being here on this earth. Surely you are not here just to breathe the air and take up space. And just as surely, you are not here to take all you can from the rest of the world without giving something back. Living with purpose is all about finding out what it is that you can give back to the rest of the world.

Every person is uniquely suited to make some important contribution to the world. The Bible says, "Give and it will be given to you." A life spent selflessly has rewards that will surprise you if you've never tried it. Those rewards are feelings of peace, happiness, fulfillment, and personal worth. It's good for the soul to do something useful and helpful for others, even if it is just sharing a smile or brightening their day with a good joke.

The 1980's were called the "me decade" because people began to quit valuing their family and their fellow man, and started putting themselves first. They started "looking out for number one." The result of this type of outlook is not as joyful as it sounds. Fortunately, popular wisdom has turned the corner and people are again putting others first. Yes, there is truth to the idea that you need to assert yourself at times. Being a doormat isn't good for you or anyone else. Still, it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.

So what is your purpose? Maybe you have a strong sense of it. If you don't, consider these questions. What are five things in your life that you value deeply? Can you name five issues or causes that matter most to you? What accomplishments from your past were the most rewarding to your soul? And here's a challenge. Try to express what you believe your mission on earth is in only twenty words or less.

There are many causes and groups who could use your helping hand. Even if you don't know your one main purpose, you can still get involved in helping. You could write letters to the editor about causes you care about. You could send a percentage of your income to a charity you admire. You could volunteer to help someone learn to read. You could take the time to visit someone in a retirement home, hospital, or prison. As you branch out and give of yourself, your purpose is sure to emerge.
About the Author
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