“The person who lives life fully, glowing with life’s energy, is the person who lives a successful life.” ~Daisaku Ikeda
In everything we do, we seek happiness. Or at least what we think will bring happiness.
But this goal can often get us into trouble. It’s how you find yourself in a career that doesn’t represent you, consuming things lacking real value, and living a life that misses its impact on the world.
Most of the things we think create happiness don’t.
We get caught in a spiral and life suddenly becomes a race to be won instead of a game to be played and enjoyed. Our focus on ‘success,’ as society calls it, blurs our more important intangibles of life—our relationships and experiences.
The fear (and sad reality for many) is that we wake up thirty years from now, stressed, unhealthy, and unfulfilled, wondering what on earth happened to those wonderful dreams we once dared to dream.
I’ll tell you what happened: We fell into the trap of being what others felt we should be as opposed to who we were meant to be. Others’ dreams became ours, only to realize they never mattered to us in the first place. We adopted the world’s definition of success instead of understanding and pursing our own.
Well, there is good news. No matter when you wake up to this reality, it is never too late to take a stand and travel down that fresh path.
In all of my experience as a friend, writer, husband, personal freedom coach, and citizen of the world, I’ve learned that there is nothing more consistent with unhappiness than spending your time in a way that doesn’t serve who you are. And to the contrary, there is no more profound source of fulfillment and happiness than knowing you are traveling your own path and making the dent in the world you know you’re capable of.
The Simple Answer to Lasting Happiness: Living Your Purpose
While purpose is a nice concept that is often overused in the personal development space, it can be a lot to sink your teeth into. It’s one thing to believe in the idea but an entirely different one to vicerally experience and live it.
Until you find your own life path, you will forever be trying to follow someone else’s. The inauthenticity will eat you up. Without a path, your true potential will be lost. But to confidently begin the journey, you must better know the traveler—you.
3 Steps to Blazing a Trail and Discovering Your Purpose
1. Know your values.
These are your building blocks. What’s most important to you above all else? I’m talking the zero compromise areas of who you are. Family, health, freedom, honesty, intimacy, playfulness, love, adventure, achievement. The list is infinite.
Pick your top few. Prioritize them. What events and experiences allow you to feel them? This is your foundation. Your compass.
2. Know your super powers.
We all have things we naturally knock out of the park. Your core strengths. Some might even call them gifts. Is it public speaking, teaching, analysis, social interaction, influencing, positivity, discipline, problem solving? Most of us have a gut feeling of what these are.
What have past experiences shown? What have people consistently complimented you on? What’s your favorite type of project to put your heart into? The book Strengths Finder 2.0 is an awesome place to start.
3. Know your passion moments.
We’ve all had them. A moment or time in your life when you felt invincible. It could come during a work project, caring for a child, exploring a new place, or cooking a meal. Anything as long as you feel it at your core. You’ve likely had more than one.
Keep a list of these passion moments. And noticing this in others is just as important. What have you seen people around you do that inspire purpose? This list will never stop growing and with every addition, you will gain more clarity on what lights a fire in your belly.
“Don’t be pushed by your problems; be led by your dreams.” ~Unknown
Note: The above are huge topics. For a much deeper dive, I invite you to spend some time with The Beginner’s Guide to Being Congruent, where I’ve compiled the most powerful resources I’ve found on understanding your purpose and traveling your path.
Notice Opportunity and Do Something About It
The intersection of your true values and super powers, backed with relentless passion, is where the magic happens. It’s where adventure ultimately begins.
It takes confidence to set out on your own. No two of us are the same and no two of us will have the same path and impact on the world. Recognize this and let it serve as your inspiration. With the right tools anything is possible. Your values, super powers and passion moments are those tools. With them you can go though life with open eyes, able to notice even the hint of when your purpose is calling.
Expect these opportunities. Be waiting for them. When you know what you’re looking for, they’ll start to appear.
It may be in the form of a new friend, career, volunteer position, or random adventure. If it lays at the heart of who you are, recognize this and do something about it. These chances pass by only once. Now it’s on you to weave them into your story. You are no longer a spectator.
You Are Not Meant to Live Anyone Else’s Life
Why would you want to anyway when you can live your very own? This is what will impact the world in a way that no other can. Happiness is not something we finally reach one day. It’s something that becomes a part of every day or none at all. Happiness not experienced today does not mean more happiness tomorrow.
Once you’ve found your path, the superficial destination the world defaults to becomes unimportant. Comparison disappears and all of a sudden it’s the travel itself that becomes meaningful. No longer are you trying to get somewhere. You’re there. Simple as that. You’re there today and you’ll be there tomorrow.
Photo by law_keven