We all have strengths and talents, but we don’t often recognise them and use them actively in our daily lives. Write down a list of 5 to 8 things that you’re really good at. Things that just come naturally to you. Don’t be modest, be honest. If you’re struggling then you might want to take the VIA Survey of Strengths.
We all have things that we’re passionate about and love to do, but very often we think of these things as hobbies rather than involving them at the heart of our life and work. Write down a list of 5 to 8 things that you’re passionate about. Things you love to experience, talk about, think about and do.
Our purpose is most meaningful if it contributes to some wider social benefit or greater good – for example by helping to overcome a pressing societal issue (e.g. sustainability, fairness, alleviation of suffering, equality). Write down a list of 5 to 8 things that anger you about how society operates at the moment. Be specific. What are the things that make you really mad?
Now see if you can find a way to combine your talents, passion and anger in a positive and coherent way. If you can this could be the foundation for your life’s purpose. This might take the form of: “My life’s purpose is to use my (talents) and (passion) to (suitable verb) (anger)”. Here are a couple of examples;
“My life’s purpose is to use my talent for engineering and my passion for alternative energy to help develop solutions to the climate crisis”
“My life’s purpose is to use my talent for teaching and my passion for children’s well-being to help reduce the number of kids suffering with anxiety and depression”.
Having made a first attempt to articulate your life’s purpose spend some time thinking about it and discussing it with trusted friends and family members. Is it really you? Does it reflect how you’re living your life at the moment, or does it suggest that you need to make some changes in order to follow your purpose?
Finding your purpose or calling is not easy and pursuing it may not be practical immediately. But if you can then it leave you with a significantly greater sense of well-being and fulfilment – as well as potentially contributing to the wider social good.
“Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it.” Buddha