In a world of distractions and unending opportunities, how do you find your real purpose?
That’s a trick question. I don’t believe there is only one path for anyone. Throughout your lifetime, your sense of purpose will evolve, and you should allow and anticipate that growth. Certainty on a single point of view about your life calling sounds appealing, but it also might block you from seeing a bigger contribution.
How do you go about finding a sense of purpose? If you’re young, how do you find your first real drive in life?
It begins with following your curiosity and interests. Whatever you are deeply curious about is worth exploring. Pursue your passions with enough verve, and you will find what is right for you. But don’t feel like you have to settle on one thing quickly in life. It’s crazy to think a 20-year-old should have his or her life completely defined. Give yourself permission to move between jobs, careers, companies and passionate pursuits in search of what really lights up your heart and makes you feel like you’re doing something meaningful.
Accept that you have to try many things before you find your one thing. It’s necessary to be bold in chasing your interests, to bounce around, to try new things, to look within and discover what is important to you.
Once you find several interests you absolutely love, give them your full attention. It’s in giving our all that we experience a life of purpose.
For those still looking for their path, I believe the universe has given us a few insights into what our human existence might be all about. There are three truths I’m sure we can all observe and agree on:
1. We are all unique.
There are 7 billion people walking this earth, and you are unique among them. If that’s true, perhaps our purpose involves being true to our unique selves. In The Motivation Manifesto, I suggest the main drive of humankind is our desire to experience and practice “personal freedom”—being ourselves fully and pursuing our own path unencumbered by conformity or fear. Be you, the universe seems to tell us.
2. We are not alone.
You are unique, but remember those 7 billion other people? They have been put here to be unique as well. They are also a reminder to take your eyes off yourself and help others achieve their own personal freedom. Perhaps the universe is saying, You are unique but you are not alone, so serve your fellow humans.
3. We are remembered for only three things.
Generations have passed and based on what was recorded by our ancestors, it seems we are hardwired to remember others for three reasons: their character, relationships and contributions. Perhaps the hint we are receiving from generations past is to live our lives as people of good character, to seek to connect with others through love and compassion, and to contribute meaningful things and ideas.
What if living a life of purpose is as straightforward as that? This is not the final answer, but rather a series of hints for finding a life of purpose.
Related: 7 Life Truths I Wish I Knew Sooner
This article originally appeared in the July 2017 issue of SUCCESS magazine.