To find one’s life purpose seems to be the biggest search that’s going on in the world right now. Especially among young people. The drive to be of meaning, to be inspiring, and successful in this new way. Things have shifted, from first pursuing a religious cause, then physical things, to financial success and wealth, to now finding one’s life purpose. All of these are pursuits. Searches for something to bring us what we truly want. But what is it we truly want? What are we after? Why are we searching for something greater than ourselves?
The search for meaning and a grander purpose in life has kept me busy over the past few years. I am young, just barely turning 22 this month. Being this young and already thinking about the larger purpose of life has brought me much good. It has given me something to occupy my time with, not merely to escape from reality, but to be more indulged in it. I have thought a lot about larger life questions, and lessons. For just one reason. My quest to feel alive, to each day, get closer to this feeling. I have made that my larger purpose, my meaning on this earth. Not just to find that, but to share it with others as well. To inspire them to feel alive, to enjoy the beauty of living as well.
This quest has brought much good to my life, but why do I pursue this larger cause? Why is it so important to me? This is truly a question and a lesson that has been keeping me busy for the past couple of days. As I have been poking through the ever continuous cycle of work and constantly doing more. I wondered if having a life’s purpose didn’t make me lose out on life more.
Thus I figured why not write about it, and share with you my thoughts on this. For I think it might help you massively to figure out what it is you are after, instead of blindly pursuing either success or finding your life’s purpose, forgetting what it is all about.
I have broken this down into three parts, as I do in every article. The first part is about why we want to search for meaning in this life, the second about what’s next, and the last is about the real purpose for life. That is universal for all of us. So enjoy, be fully present, and hopefully learn something from my thoughts and findings.
Part One: Why Do We Search For Meaning
Our search for meaning. Viktor L. Frankl has written one of the most famous books about finding one’s meaning in life, and thus I read it. It’s a magnificent book about finding meaning even in the harshest of situations. Viktor lived during the period of World War Two and has spent a large amount of that period in a Nazi concentration camp. There he came up with the idea and wrote a portion of his book, and therapy practice. Which is called man’s search for meaning.
What is wonderful about his work is that he doesn’t write about finding some larger purpose in life. He couldn’t have any larger purpose in life as we can right now. We are so privileged, so wealthy that we can think of doing something good for the world and call it our lives purpose. That is a wonderful gift, something to cherish. But Viktor couldn’t do this. He had to survive. It was all he could do. To survive the horrifying years in a Nazi concentration camp, where the soul of many jews and freedom fighters were crushed and eradicated from the face of the earth. He could do nothing but that, to make sure he and many of his fellow prisoners would survive. And in those bare circumstances, he found the meaning for life.
The reason why we are all searching for some greater purpose in life. It is this:
We search for meaning in life, purely to feel valuable, and therefore to feel like life is worth living.
In his time all most men and women had no other purpose than to survive, so they could hopefully see their loved ones again. They lived day by day, trying to get by, trying to not get killed, and hoping to not be gassed. Not just that but to remain strong of mind, for that was their greatest asset. If their mind was weak they wouldn’t die of hunger, of hard work, or the gas chamber, if they were weak of mind they would die of that. Of not seeing the meaning in all of it and giving up. Therefore making everything they had to go through more unbearable. Viktor found that many men in his camp were not crushed by the work or the lack of food but by the lack of inner strength.
That is not to say that these are horrifying situations and that most of us wouldn’t get through these times as well. What Viktor showed was that it wasn’t one’s luck in life, or the situations one was in that made his life bearable, but one’s mind. One’s acceptance of suffering and giving it a greater purpose, a greater meaning. Therefore he, and many of his fellow prisoners withstood the horrifying winters, working in nothing but thin working clothes, almost freezing to death, not having enough food and energy to warm their bodies up purely because of one reason. They gave meaning to this suffering. They knew that one day they would get out and they would see their loved ones again. They knew the chances of this were slim, but their thought about this slim chance was enough, it was better to think about that than to think about the horrors that were going on.
In some way, I feel like we are going through the same thing now. In some way, I feel like it is comparable. Now we do not suffer anywhere near as much as the heroes, and yes I believe each one of these prisoners is a hero for they have shown us the strength of the human mind. But we do want to find a larger purpose in life for the same reason as they did. We all do actually. We all have just one reason for finding our lives purpose. That is:
Finding one’s life purpose makes every moment of suffering more bearable, therefore making life less of a strain and more meaningful.
We search for meaning in our lives to make them more bearable, and in the end to enjoy it more. That’s why I think that right now we are searching more and more for meaning in our lives. Not because we truly want to bring something to the world, but because we think it will make us happier, and our lives more meaningful. This, in some way, is still running from life’s reality. Trying to hide from the suffering that is inevitable for life, or at least making it more bearable to suffer. It might just be the same as wanting to be successful or buying a lot of physical stuff. All three of these are, searching for a larger meaning in life, success, and acquiring physical stuff are nothing more, but ways for us to escape the inevitability of suffering. That’s why we want to find a larger purpose in life.
Part Two: What Now?
Now that search for a larger purpose in life is far better than blindly striving for success or acquiring things and stuff. Finding your life purpose will give you more lasting and sustainable happiness than the other two will ever give you. Yet what if you have found and achieved your life’s purpose. For example being the best basketball player in the world, or like me building a company to help people feel more alive.
What now? What will happen once we find this greater purpose, and maybe even achieve it?
For this, I want to share with you my experience. I have been writing for about 5 years now. Not always that consistent, but in the past year I have. I feel like writing is my life’s career, that this is what makes me come alive. I even went as far as to say that writing was my way to help others, and therefore have a larger purpose in life to fulfill. That is to help you, the reader, to live a joyous life, and to see life’s beauties.
But now what? I know my purpose, which gave me a goal, a thing to strive for, and a reason to bear with the suffering. Now about two months into writing every day and posting a lot of stories, Instagram posts, and podcast episodes nothing much has changed. Yes, I have a larger goal, a purpose, a reason for doing it all, which makes me more willing to sit down and do the things I do. Yet I started doubting if this truly was what I was after?
I still felt like something was lacking, even though I always believed that finding one’s life purpose was the thing that would make one’s life better. More enjoyable in a sense. But I never felt like that. It all felt the same. I got up, ate breakfast, read my books, wrote, created content, worked a side job, ate dinner, spend time with friends, learned, watched YouTube videos, and the list goes on. Everyday life continued and nothing changed for me. Yes, I did something I loved doing, which was to write and to create things. Yet it didn’t change my overall experience of life.
Finding your meaning in life doesn’t mean your life will instantly be happy and filled with roses. Finding one’s meaning in life is just a healthy and meaningful occupation of one’s time.
The search for a larger purpose in life, or to find one’s passion is like choosing just one ice cream flavor at the ice cream shop when there are more than 32 different flavors to choose from. You just have to pick one, but if you pick one you will most likely not be satisfied completely for there is always another flavor to choose from. Therefore finding one’s life purpose doesn’t make you enjoy life fully, it’s just one of the 32+ flavors to choose from. The other flavors are the remaining parts of life, like ordinary things. Having breakfast, going for a walk, listening to music.
So what does make your life full and fulfilled if it isn’t one’s larger life purpose or passion? I’ll explain in the next part.
Part Three: To Feel Alive
Your life purpose is barely one flavor in the ice cream shop. It’s the white chocolate flavor or the pistachio flavor that you love the most. Yet there are 32 more options to choose from which you will likely enjoy as well. This means that finding one’s life purpose, or passion is just one aspect of life. We can not fully feel satisfied if we keep comparing it to all the other options to choose from.
What do I mean by that? I mean to say with that, that when we find our passion or life’s purpose we have just picked one flavor. But we will see many other things we enjoy. That’s what I experienced. For the past few months, I focused on writing fully, yet it didn’t change my life drastically. That was because I still noticed the 32 other flavors of ice cream. Until recently, where I figured out the one thing that changed it all.
So what is this one thing that changed it all? To see the grander meaning of life. That was it. Yes each one of us has a purpose, a gift in life. But that one thing, that one flavor of ice cream is just the thing that makes us experience what life can truly be about. That first ice cream flavor opens us up. We love it, but we know there is more out there, and that is where we truly start to live. This is truly what we are after.
It isn’t just our life’s purpose that we need to find. It is what our life’s purpose makes us experience. That is the beauty of living. It is fully feeling alive. Choosing just one flavor in the ice cream store makes you curious about everything the shop has to offer, and that makes you return. Each time choosing different flavors. And you’ll find that you enjoy most of the other flavors as well.
The same goes for our lives. When we find our lives purpose we have had a taste of what life could be like. But it is only when we experience the rest of life just as fully and meaningful as our life’s purpose that we will fully come to life. It’s not just the thing you love to do that brings color to our lives. It’s the people we meet along the way. The food we taste. The things we experience. The laughs we have. The beauty of nature. Traveling the world. Losing loved ones to death. Overcoming fears and anxieties. Being bold and create new things. It is learning new things. Reading different books. Watching movies. And the list can go on and on.
Our only life’s purpose, is to be alive.
In short, our life’s purpose is to be alive! It is to taste your chosen flavor of ice cream fully every time you go to the ice cream store. Yes, there are 32 more flavors, but all that matters is enjoying the flavor you have right now at this very moment. The next time you come you can pick a different flavor and enjoy that fully. That’s what life is about. It’s not about sticking to one flavor, it’s about enjoying each one of them.
Our life’s purpose is barely a glimpse at what the true beauty of life is. That is to be curious again and to experience it all fully.
That’s why I say that finding your life purpose is just like buying things and wanting success. It’s one of the experiences that life has to offer. Yet it isn’t the only. It isn’t worth not experiencing the rest of life’s beauties just to pursue one’s life purpose, or to acquire success or wealth. Life’s only purpose is to enjoy every minute of it. And with that experience a grander meaning in life. To buy things. To love the things you have bought. To achieve success on your terms.
That realization has changed me. It has reinforced the purpose of Today I Lived. That it is truly about all of life’s experiences, not just about one of them. Realizing this has made me taste of the only purpose that life will ever have. That is to experience every minute of it. And this is a purpose each one of us holds. It’s the only purpose for life. It is the one thing that makes us say, Today I Lived! I made the most of every minute.
See you tomorrow, for now, enjoy your life!