How To Find Your Purpose In Life (With Video)

By Kenny Lee | Life

Jul 11

After reading Dr. Marcia Reynold‘s article on PsychologyToday, I decided to rewrite this post to give it the clarity and justification it deserved.

Her post title Living a Good Life Without Purpose caught me off guard initially. I have to admit I am quick to judge as I was having thoughts that she is encouraging people to live aimlessly. (I need to get rid of my bad habit of making premature judgements. Read my article on breaking bad habits here) Is she not going to address those who has acquired wealthy but still feel a certain emptiness in their life? What about teenagers these days who seek purpose in everything they do, including life itself?

As I read further, I understand that some people are exactly happy with the way they are, and the ongoing hype of “Having A Purpose” becomes a burden to them. In this case, I truly agree that they should not be reading articles such as this.

And I agree with her well-delivered point that sometimes over-anxiousness in finding our purpose could  be counterproductive instead.

As such, the what I’m going to write below is only for those who felt they need a life purpose for them to be fulfilled. So what I’m writing here is for those who can’t answer this:

Why Are You Doing What You Are Doing? How To Find Your Purpose In Life

It is never too late to question your purpose in life. If you are in your 20s or 30s and start wondering what’s life all about, rest assured, you are not alone. It seems that this is such a common issue that so many books related to life purpose are created out of it. A quick check on Amazon shows almost 100K hits on books related to life purpose.

If you are on Facebook, just check out the occasional laments by young people questioning their life purpose or the lack of them. If you pay attention to their posts and comments, you would see how uninspired and aimless many of them are. (And that’s only for those who are vocal on social media)

Call it quarter life crisis or mid-life crisis. The fact is, I’m hearing people lost motivation in their jobs. I’ve seen people getting into depression. Existential Depression to be exact if you want to go by the technical term. According to Dr. John M Grohol’s post at PsychCentral, existential depression could happen when people come face to face on issues regarding life,death,freedom and the meaning of their existence.

Well, I guess if you are still clueless (as I was back then) about what your life purpose is, then let me tell you this.

Your Job Is Not Your Life Purpose, but That Doesn’t Stop You from Expressing It.

Well, with the exception of few, your job is normally not your purpose in life. Remember when you were enrolled in your college. Some thought they want to be a programmer and they went for an IT course. Some end up in the banking industry. Some made big money and live comfortably. But 80% never felt truly happy what they do.

Do not confuse your ROLE and your PURPOSE. Your job is your role to play in the society. It is your means of making a living. Whether it is your life purpose or not is secondary. But getting bills paid is definitely good enough purpose for survival.

Finding your life purpose is not about quitting your job. It is about finding the balance that keeps you fulfilled in life. Sometimes responsibility of feeding the table clashes with those of living your purpose. If that’s your case, this article from ThePerfectJob  has a very good article about People Expressing Their Purpose Through Their Job.

Your Life Purpose Is Within You, You Just Need To Listen To Your Heart

There is about 7.4 billion world population as I am writing this. Each and every individual is unique. So are their purpose in life. Therefore, I believe the way to unearthing life purpose is unique for each individual. What works for me many not work for you and vice versa.

So let’s take a look at what Adam Leipzig, a movie producer has to say about discovering life purpose in this TEDxMalibu talk.

I was checking out the comment on the Youtube and I found contrasting views on his talks and methods. But for me, that NOT really the point. The point is when you answer to question like “What do you love to do? and “How they change as a result?” without really putting much thought into it, you are actually answering from your heart. And it normally knows the best for you.

Here’s another post from StevePavlina that uses the similar method to clear your head of social conditioning to get your truest answer on your life purpose.

Your purpose in life is already within you. All these methods are just a way to make you aware of it.

I wish I did a Google search on methods of finding life purpose two years back when I’m really searching for an answer to this big question. If I did, then I probably would have found some guidance that could help me. Well, for some reason, I didn’t do so and I have to find my purpose on my own.

When I began my own quest to discovering my life purpose. I didn’t really know I was in the discovering process back then.(Well, realising you are living without a purpose is pretty disorientating) But looking back, there was a few process that I’ve undergone that helped me to discover my purpose in life.

Here Are My Personal 3 Steps to Discovering Purpose In Life.

1. Stop and observe.thoughtful-721507_1920

You go to work, get your pay cheque, pay bills, and probably watch some movies. And you repeat this day in day out. If it is not done with any solid purpose behind, soon it becomes nothing but a blur of noise.

When your daily routine become noise to you, then you need to stop creating the noise. You need to take a break from everything. Perhaps you do not realise the power of solitude, but that’s where all the important realization happens. If you have doubt on the benefits of spending time alone, then check this very good post on the power of solitude.

Some people go for a meditation retreat. Some just go for a solo travel trip. Either way, when you spend time away from the familiar routine, your priorities become clearer. Knowing what’s more important in life is a good start in discovering your purpose in life.

2. Discard False Belief

You are what your belief defines. That’s who you are today. And if you feel you lack a life purpose, then look into your belief system. Are you told that you need to be a doctor, an engineer or that life is about doing what others are doing?

These advice are often given as a guidance and they serve you well in the early part of our life. But it is your responsibility to move on and grow from there. It is your responsibility to discover yourself and see what you belief you hold true to. Don’t take others belief as your own. Find yours.

Your existing belief limits your view and your potential to growth. For you to realise your true purpose in life, you need to move beyond your existing belief. This article on ZenHabits talks about getting out of your personal bubble. To me, that’s about getting out of your existing belief system.

These false beliefs had to go. I did an extensive energy healing program to clear these beliefs off my subconscious mind. And guess what, because some beliefs have been there for decades, it takes months to be totally rid of them.

3. Give Unconditionally

community project

This is the one thing that gave me the ‘aha‘ moment that I really know what I must do to have a purposeful life. I was working on a couple of community projects back then(if you must know, I’ve been busy chasing the money trail back then)

One such group that is big on community projects is Dance For Love Malaysia (which I have the privilege to join and give back to society) where they gather dance enthusiast and gave back to the society.

If you experience joy in your service to other, then maybe your life purpose is about making a difference to others.

Can you incorporate this into your job and live your purpose through it? Definitely. When you start shifting your mindset that your job is ONLY about paying the bills, then your purpose shines through.

Or you can always start an initiative running your own community projects to help those in need. After all, I’ve been told that “Life is a service to humanity“(I can’t see how it could be true back then)

It’s Not About Taking The Easier Path

Some people thought that after you’ve found your life purpose, your life would be easier. But that’s the totally wrong idea. Finding your purpose in life has nothing to do with making your life easier. Sometimes it means taking the tougher path. But you get stronger from serving your purpose. That makes the journey easier.

What do you think about finding your life purpose? Have you found yours ? Do you need one? Share with me in the comments below.

About the Author

I struggled with social anxiety for at least 15 years, without really knowing what I was going through. Eventually, I defeated my social phobia and conquered the fear of public speaking.

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(38) comments

Alvin972016 July 12, 2016

This is a deep thought we all must go through to figure out how to live our life fully. Yes, life is not a job. It is filled with mystery and uncertainty waiting for ones to experience and discover its meaning. Is there any good book you recommend reading in order to help us figure
out our life’s purpose?
Thanks for sharing your thought Kenny!

Alvin

Reply
Sue Lee July 12, 2016

I am in my mid 50s and finally came to the realization that I have not been living m life’s purpose. I too am on that journey of self discovery. A year or so ago I finally realized that my job was not who I am, but simply what I do.

I am finding it both difficult and rewarding. As I work to clear my head of my old programming and seek the answers to the ‘why’ of my existence, I am feeling a sense of joy, calmness and purpose coming to me. Thank you for sharing this wonderful article.

Reply
    Kenny Lee July 13, 2016

    Hi Sue,

    It is always not too late to discover your purpose and passion. The only regret is people who would did not have the courage to put one step out of their comfort boundary. Sometimes they missed the magic that would lift their spirit.
    Thanks for reading.

    Kenny

    Reply
Holly July 12, 2016

Hi Kenny, Amazing article – thank you for sharing it! I have a similar website to yours actually and I can say that I have found my true purpose… which is life coaching. I have had some terrible experiences and although I have a lot of work to do on myself still, I completely resonate with you when you talking about giving without the expectation of receiving. This is how I feel and believe it or not I actually find comfort in helping others because my pain enables me to guide them through the same journey that I myself have been on. I wish you all the best with your own endeavours… it sounds as if you are on the right path now as well 🙂 What’s your story may I ask?

Lots of Love & Light,

Holly xx

Reply
    Kenny Lee July 13, 2016

    Hi Holly,

    Thanks for your feedback. After starting my blog, I’ve get to know wonderful positive people who are writing on a similar niche. They all have a past that made them appreciate the finer things in life. Feel free to connect with me to know more of my story. i’ve made some good friends after starting this blog.

    Kenny.

    Reply
Matt July 12, 2016

This is so true, I think a lot of people convince themselves that their profession is their life purpose because they spent so much time going to school, learning about all of this but they don’t want to accept the reality that they can be happier doing something else. A lot of people just ‘like’ their job and they settle for ‘like’ because they don’t want to start over. Instead they delude themselves that they love their job. Finding your passion takes a lot of courage I believe, but it’s always worth it.

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    Kenny Lee July 13, 2016

    Matt,

    You got it right on there. Many people are holding on to their job because it is the world to them. It scare them to think what would exist outside of that. It’s ok if they like what they do, but if it’s not serving their purpose or passion then their spirit would die a little each day.
    Thanks for reading.

    Kenny

    Reply
Kevin July 12, 2016

Nice post. I know I have been thinking about this recently, especially because I just turned 50. I keep hearing that life begins at 50. Well, we’ll see. I’m trying to find new purpose in my like. I think that is why I started to work on a new website. I can say what I want, and people can tell me what they think. I also like to travel, and I did last month. I’m hoping to do it more.

Reply
    Kenny Lee July 13, 2016

    Hi Kevin,

    I think life begins at any age we wish to right. If we set our mindset that our retiring age starts at 50 or 60, then our energy level could drop, and we may be going downhill from there. It all depends on us. What the world lack is people with the right blend of experience and skill and the willingness for them to share their thoughts. All the best to you.

    Kenny.

    Reply
Bri July 12, 2016

Hi.
A very well written, think for yourself to know yourself, article. To many times when you run into material on the subject you find someone telling you the path you need to take and what you need to believe. Basically they are selling their own believe system.

You have nicely put together thoughts on finding your own. As I’m sure you well know, this is not an easy thing. But when I discovered most of my thinking and views weren’t really coming from me it was a great relief and my greatest break through. Tearing down or just recognizing those mind sets is challenging and an on going process. My youth unfortunately was not a good one, (I’ll leave it at that), so my mind was a train wreck of self defeating thoughts that were very powerful and strong.
What finally helped me turn my thinking, attitude and life around was subliminal auditory messages. I had to working around my, damaged and very strong, Ego. This Has Worked Wonders Where No Other Conscious process has worked very well, and I have been working at it along time. Don’t get me wrong it didn’t happen over night but slowly it did happen.
I think your thoughts on solitude I think are right on. I see so many that don’t want to or even can’t be alone. It’s sad because it can be such a wonderful relaxing time. I admit it’s much nicer when you can get your thought under control but it also the best time to learn how to do that.

My Arduous journey has led me to animal rescue where with my passion and love I have found my purpose. I am one of the lucky ones. My purpose is not easy physical, mental or emotionally and many times heart breaking but I couldn’t feel more blessed to be doing what I am meant to do.

Nicely done I’m looking forward to reading more.
Bri

Reply
    Kenny Lee July 13, 2016

    Hi Bri,

    Thanks for sharing your journey here. What matters is we knew when to make the change and work on it. Sometimes it’s taking 3 steps forward and 1 step back. Some people who are more extroverted, do not enjoy solitude. For me, I would say a balance of both would do the trick.

    If you would like to share more of your story, feel free to let me know. All the best to you.

    Kenny

    Reply
David July 12, 2016

Hi everyone,

interesting reading. I have never asked this question before, but I believe that thinking about our life purpose can help us to focus more on things that can make us happy and that can improve our living.

Reply
    Kenny Lee July 13, 2016

    Hi David,

    Thanks for reading. When we have a purpose, we become more focus and when we stray, we know how to bring back to our path.

    Kenny

    Reply
Pete July 13, 2016

Inspirational post. Purpose is such a different thing than just making a living. Unfortunately it seems that it’s pretty difficult for most of us to actually make a living through our purpose and passion. Although that certainly is the goal. Thanks for the great post!

Reply
    Kenny Lee July 13, 2016

    Hi Pete,

    Realistically, not everyone may have a job or career that serve their purpose and passion. But that doesn’t mean they should not pursue their passion whenever time allow. It’s something that keeps the balance between the spiritual and the physical. Thanks for reading.

    Kenny

    Reply
Jaime July 13, 2016

This is a very strong and motivational article. It is true about sometimes its not about taking the easier path and taking the tougher path. I like the challenges especially the ones that I know are for the better. I joined the military to better the life of my family and start a new journey. It was hard being away for many months but in the end it all paid off and now we are doing well. Thank you so much for sharing this article and giving me that push again to get my head on straight. Take care

Reply
    Kenny Lee July 13, 2016

    Hi Jaime,

    Thank you for reading. You must have gained some very good experience in the military that you would carry on in life. All the best to you.

    Kenny

    Reply
Andrew July 13, 2016

Hi, Kenny

What an amazing article on how we can find our life purpose. A lot of people don’t know because society and the schooling system has ruined the minds of the children. I am lucky enough to have found out my life purpose at the age of 18 due to reading a lot of books and having supportive people around me. I hope you continue to live your with purpose giving unconditionally.

Reply
    Kenny Lee July 13, 2016

    Andrew,

    You are lucky that you have found your purpose at such a young age. All the best in moving forward. Would you mind sharing some books that helps you along the way?

    Kenny

    Reply
Elektra July 14, 2016

Finding purpose in life is not always easy and sometimes we need to try few things before find something we want to do for life. But this process of looking for it is the most important in it, the journey,the learning, and not the destination is your real goal.

Reply
    Kenny Lee July 15, 2016

    Hi Elektra,

    You are right. Some people know what they want early in life. Some only found it later. But the key thing is we must never stop trying. Thanks for reading.

    Kenny.

    Reply
Josephine Crawford July 15, 2016

Kenny, I would like to say a special thank you for a rather thought-proving post. My purpose is to serve others. It does not matter where I go, I am constantly giving and even when placed in a leadership role, I strongly believe that an effective leader must lend him/herself to be led.

I am in total agreement with you that my profession does not have to be my purpose and it certainly isn’t, even though I give of myself in my profession as well. Great post. Keep writing.

Reply
    Kenny Lee July 15, 2016

    Hi Josephine,

    Thank you for reading. I too was once conflicted that my profession may not be the higher purpose that I want to serve. Some are lucky to have it all in one basket. It is not a matter of either all, with some planning, we can have a profession and also be doing something to serve our purpose.

    Kenny.

    Reply
Johnny July 17, 2016

Hi Kenny, I agree with a lot of your ideas about one’s purpose in life. I think taking a real analysis of oneself and what you want to get out of your life is very important. I agree that many people kind of go through the motions with their jobs, never truly being content. I believe we all need to soul search and find our true passion in life. If we do this we will find the universe aligning with us in finding our true purpose.
Thanks again for a great post! Cheers,
Johnny

Reply
    Kenny Lee July 18, 2016

    Hi Johnny,

    Thanks for reading. It’s the fact that we always look outwards for answer instead of inward that we could not identify our purpose in life.

    Kenny

    Reply
Saber July 27, 2016

Hi Kenny, thanks for this deep and meaningful article. I’ve always been wondering what is the true purpose of my life. Until now, I still haven’t found an answer to it. Perhaps finding happiness from our daily life is the key? Anyway, happy soul searching and all the best in finding the purpose of life.

Reply
    Kenny Lee July 27, 2016

    Hi Saber,

    Finding happiness could be related to your purpose. If what you do could bring joy yourself and others. Maybe that would be your purpose?

    Kenny

    Reply
Matt M. July 29, 2016

Hello,

Thank you for this very inspiring and thought provoking article that deals with one of life’s most important questions!

Finding true meaning and purpose in life is one of the most important and noble things a human being can ever search for, but unfortunately, many people go through their entire lives without ever finding what it is.

I completely agree with you that sometimes we need to step away from out daily routines, other people, and our own minds and bring some silence and space into our lives so that we can really hear what are hearts are calling us to do.

Many times, what it tells us is not always what our brains want to hear, as it often requires change and letting go, which are not always easy things to accept.

I believe, however, that when we are still enough to hear the calling of our heart, and find the courage to follow it regardless of what the world around us says, that is when all kinds of doors are opened to a joyful and fulfilling life!

Here’s to following our hearts!

Reply
    Kenny Lee July 30, 2016

    Matt,

    I think some people put off thinking about this question. Maybe they do not know the answer and where to search for it. To make things complicated, each of our life purposes are different because we are unique. But my belief is finding our purpose involve reconnecting with ourselves. We just have to listen to ourselves to get the answer.

    Thanks for reading.

    Kenny

    Reply
Travis Smithers July 30, 2016

Great article that does get you to reflect on things. I have always been one that likes to learn things and read about improving on oneself.

I find if you spend time on self-improvement and self-awareness your more perceptive to what is going on around you.

Articles such as yours on how to find your purpose in life are an excellent concept for people to reflect and see if you’re at the place you want to be.

Reply
    Kenny Lee July 30, 2016

    Hi Travis,

    It amazes me how most people would spend so much on their education, business and career and yet has neglected their personal development.

    Thanks for reading.

    Kenny.

    Reply
Barbara August 5, 2016

Funny that I bumped into your article about life purpose right in this moment of my life. I haven’t found my life purpose and I am stressing out about it a little. Probably because I connect it with a job. I am a military wife and we move often. Everytime is like I have to start from the beginning, not only when it comes to work, but also friends, acquaintances, places, routines etc. I am also foreign (moved to the US 3 years ago) so for me is even harder! It is hard to find your own path in this situation. I’ll try not to confuse purpose with job!

Reply
    Kenny Lee August 5, 2016

    Hi Barbara,

    I can imagine how hard it is to keep starting over. I can relate to you as I’ve been trying and failing multiple times in business and life. Biggest mistake I’ve made is that I thought my job is my purpose. Which is not for me. Wish you all the best and never give up.

    Kenny

    Reply
Marcia Reynolds August 7, 2016

Thank you Kenny for a great post and for mentioning how my writing sent you on this journey. I love step one, Stop and Observe. Sometimes we are so busy looking for something, we don’t see the amazing beauty in this life right now. I often tell my clients to “take time to notice” so they can take into their heart the goodness of the world and people close by. Then, as the Talmud says, “Do good” and you will know why you are walking on this earth.

Here is a verse recently shared with me that I think sums up how to find purpose:

This day is frail, it will pass by,
So before it’s too late to recapture the time,
Let us share love,
Let us share life,
Before the day is gone.

Reply
    Kenny Lee August 8, 2016

    Dr. Marcia,

    Thank you for dropping off a comment here. Your writing gave me a fresh perspective regarding life purpose, a very subjective matter by its own.

    Again, you gave me another inspiration in your verse. Allow me to share it with others.
    Thanks for reading.

    Kenny

    Reply
Matthew October 23, 2016

I am 18 and I found that my life purpose came to me when getting rid of all social conditions and when i stopped listening to my ego. My purpose is simply to help others, once you get rid of all expectations you will find it.
My aim is to help others spiritually, physically, emotional and financially..however I am aiming to master each one myself before i can help others. Great read, and some great tips!

Reply
    Kenny Lee October 24, 2016

    Hi Matthew,

    It’s great that you found your life purpose at such a young age, and what a noble one too. You’re absolutely right that you need to help yourself to help others better.

    Cheers,

    Kenny

    Reply
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