Finding Purpose in Life

Ask yourself, “What do I believe my purpose is in this life?” When reading this question it is easy for our minds to go straight to work, and list all of the achievements and accomplishments we strive to attain in life. But, after taking a step back from those answers, we may encounter some falsehood in answering this seemingly simple question.

Is PURPOSE in life really to move up the ladder, build wealth, or buy a beach house? These are some examples of what some of us might set goals to have one day, but can we say with confidence they are our purpose? Consider the fact that our goals may not have anything to do with our purpose in life, perhaps.

If our purpose is NOT to attain nice things, go to cool places or have a house on the beach, what is purpose?

Personally, I identified my purpose(s) in life by following my will for meaning (as expressed by Victor Frankl in his novel, Man’s Search for Meaning), or a feeling that I contribution to a certain area in my life. I found much of this purpose had to do with my relationships with people and nothing to do with work or accomplishments at all at the end of the day.

I believe our society may have purpose and goals mixed up to be synonymous. As a result, our professions can truly distract us from our spirituality and understanding our real path in life. In pre-historic times, our lives were surrounded around maintaining existence, our purpose in life being the need to provide food for our family and keep them alive. Now, we take our existence for granted, and since we have less concern about survival, we embark on a search for some greater purpose to our lives through work and checking off goals. But, are we searching too far? Are we trying too hard? Is our true purpose found in our everyday existence after all?

Perhaps our life purpose is simply relieving another of their suffering by being a friend, giving love to another in a time of need, giving purpose to another, or serving as a positive figure in the life of a growing adolescent. Such examples are not necessarily sought, for these are all opportunities to pursue a purposeful life exist in our everyday lives in our experiences with friends, family, and loved ones. We are given opportunity for purpose no matter what our status, occupation or wealth. Dig deep into understanding yourself, and know purpose can be find in the simplest existence. Then ask yourself, “What is my purpose?”

To be Impressive Vs. To be Admired

When thinking about striving to be admired and to be impressive, one may assume them to be essential the same. Many want fame, fortune, and to be looked up to but read this one more time… Do these aspirations really fall in parallel? Does one always admire someone to whom they find to be impressive?

In this day and age, many of our role models are those who are celebrities, sports athletes, even models, but why? What do we truly believe equals success? Most of the time it is just this… Fame and fortune. Those people must have all of the answers, right?

Well, let’s pose another question to dig deeper. Are these people impressive in their accomplishments? Most definitely. Are these people to be admired for their accomplishments alone? I am not sure that is a black and white answer. I think when it comes down to the question of admiration, perhaps it extends beyond ones accomplishments. Here is where it becomes tricky because we now have to do this scary thing and consider ourselves. What are our values? What do we wish to accomplish in life? Who have accomplished such feat? What are their values? Is this someone we want to be like in the future?

When considering the word “impressive,” it is truly just a perception of another one’s accomplishment. This compliment is outward-looking, all about the observation of another, from a far. But did this person’s accomplishment cause you to “admire” them? When admiration comes into questioning we now ask ourselves, “Was I inspired by this person’s accomplishment?” “Did this person’s accomplishment have me strive to be better?” This now becomes an inward-looking observation. How did this person’s accomplishment impact you and your motivation? Most likely, if you felt more driven, more motivated and more inspired by this person’s accomplishment, you feel admiration, for this accomplishment had aligned with your values.

To summarize this thought, I will take an example of young girls looking up to Victoria Secret models, and considering them their “idols.” These young girls are impressed by these women and believe they admire them, but do they? To consider it admiration, I would have to assume these Victoria Secret models are exactly what these young girls want to be when they are older. They strive to walk runways, travel the world and pose for various lingerie photoshoots. However, in experience, this is often not the case (But , if it is, ok. Do you, girl!). Young girls (and boys, men, women, everyone!) often find themselves looking up to celebrities such as Victoria Secret models because of the more surface-level desire for fame, fortune and yes, a kick-ass body, but how shallow an impression being mistaken for admiration.

Personally, I have recognized the difference between “being impressive” and “being admired” by an advancement of someone close to me in their line of work, which had then prompted this very post. I had initially expressed how “impressed” I was by them. Yes, a great compliment, and I am impressed but still, this expression fails to convey how their accomplishment had rather inspired and motivated me FAR greater. The more meaningful and accurate expression is that I “admire” this person, for their accomplishment impacted me in a more profound way then just being something I was impressed by. Furthermore, to be someone who others admire is a much greater compliment and an accomplishment in and of itself.

To convey the conclusive thought of this post, I truly wish to encourage us to consider ways we can strive to be admired rather than be impressive to others. And also, consider the people we admire and what values are cause for our admiration for them.