Passion + Daily Action = Purposeful Life
All of that = happiness
It can be a life-long battle: what's your true purpose in life? This abstract question can be daunting, like an underlying nagging thought you keep pushing further and further away. But if you consciously focus on your purpose, it's possible to have clarity around what it is. I am proof.
In your 20's, you spend a lot of time exploring, growing and having fun. Not many 20 somethings have their shit together, and they're not supposed to. I sure didn't. That's why so many of us hit the inevitable 'quarter-life crisis'. Whether you take it seriously (it's on Wikipedia!) or tend to laugh it off (as seen on Buzzfeed), it exists for a lot of us. As you get older and approach your 30's, you'll likely start to feel more comfortable in your skin and have a clearer vision around your purpose. But why wait?
Here are some thoughts to help you focus on finding your purpose sooner rather than later.
It's all in the action.
"The experience is the reward; clarity comes through the process of exploring. Action is where you get results."
You can't think your way into finding your life purpose; you have to do your way into it. Take a mental note from Nike and Just Do It. The more we act, the clearer we get. So instead of overthinking it -- Will this work out? Should I try that? What if I don't like it? What if I don't make money at it? -- start taking steps toward your goals and start trying new things. This will help you get out of your own way. I struggled for years to find my purpose. This cycle only created a deeper lack of clarity for me which was frustrating to say the least. It wasn't until I started doing that things changed for me. I began making quicker decisions and seizing opportunities that emerged in my life. Everything I experienced, every job I took, every person I met, served as a stepping stone and helped lead me to the chapters in my book.
Something else to keep in mind: everything in life happens for a reason; there are no coincidences.
Feel your fear and do it anyway.
It's normal and natural to feel scared when stepping into your life purpose. Fritz Perls said, "Fear is really just excitement without the breath." So, keep breathing, and take the next step. If it's worth doing, you're probably going to feel a little scared doing it. Just think of the fear as the energy you need to take the next step.
If you're like me, you need constant reminders to make decisions in life based on what you want, instead of fear. My reminder is my tattoo on my wrist. Yours could be a photo, a memory or anything else meaningful. If you find yourself making decisions based on fear (what could happen if you don't do something), then stop and begin to re-program your thought process.
Being present means you have to stop freaking out about the future, and you can't keep looking back in the past. One of my all time favorite quotes is this: life is 10% what happens to you (uncontrollable) and 90% how you react to it (very controllable).
So roll with what life throws at you, even if it's not fair, and do something with it. Living in the present is one of the single hardest things to ask of yourself to do, but it's one of the most important. After years of uncertainty and worry, I taught myself how to be present. It wasn't easy but I didn't want to live life the way I was. So how did I do it? Here are three quick thoughts that helped me:
- Take out the garbage. Realize that 95% of the thoughts that enter your head are just crap. Being present means that you are able to realize the crap from the meaningful thoughts.
- Allow yourself time (to fail). If you catch yourself too focused on the past or future, acknowledge the mishap, and bring yourself back to present. It's okay to have these small "failures" as long as you continue to consciously practice being present.
- Find your "me time". It's important to refocus yourself when needed. Clear your mind with a favorite activity or detach completely from the daily grind. For me, it's spinning, bootcamp or a simple hike that does the trick.