While the term “purpose-driven life” originated in evangelical religious teachings. The Purpose Driven Life is a devotional book written by Christian author Rick Warren and topped the Wall Street Journal bestseller charts as well as Publishers Weekly charts with over 30 million copies sold by 2007.
The phrase has also come to signify a much broader interpretation that transcends any spiritual affiliation or beliefs. Everyone wants to feel their life has meaning, right? Yet many feel like they don’t really understand how to lead a purpose-driven life. If that’s you, here are some ideas to help carve out your own life goals:
Compassion is the key
For yourself and everyone around you. Practice it constantly; make it your way of life. Be kind to yourself when you have challenges or failures in life, and accept that these are part of the journey. Show compassion to friends, family and coworkers and your personal relationships will not only fulfill you but the people you know as well. Finally, show compassion for your greater world. Continuously find ways to be involved in charity work, or at the bare minimum, donate money to help causes that have importance to you.
Control what’s in your mind
Every life has some negative aspects, but if you allow your inner dialogue to be consumed with negativity, your purpose becomes jaded and unclear. Life seems like a chore rather than an adventure, so make sure you regularly do a clean sweep of pessimistic and unhelpful beliefs in your psychological make-up. Affirmative action starts in your head.
Focus on people, not stuff
While you may feel temporarily over-the-moon when you buy that million-dollar home or fancy sports car, the feeling isn’t permanent. Like recreational drugs, the problem with investing your happiness in “stuff” is that the novelty wears off and leaves you yearning for your next hit. Satisfying relationships with people, on the other hand, provide so much more. The best part is that you don’t have to completely give up your enjoyment of stuff in order to invest in enriching relationships with other humans. A purpose-driven life can include both!
Live with enthusiasm
Have you ever met someone who just seems to sparkle? They live with passion. Try it. Say “Yes!” to things you’d normally say no to doing. Stop doing things that don’t bring you joy. Keep planning events or trips or whatever creates a sense of anticipation in your life. Try to work at a job you love, or at least with people you enjoy being around. Ultimately, a purpose-driven life is lived for happiness, so find your own and spread it around.
Savour “right now”
Too many get caught up in planning for their future; tomorrow, next week, next year or a five-year plan. Worse, even more people spend countless hours ruminating on the past. It can’t be undone! Let it go and learn from your mistakes. Don’t get so caught up in looking ahead or back that you neglect what’s right in front of you.
Sometimes staying in the moment can be hard, but try to appreciate what’s going on in the here and now. Put down your phone or tablet and enjoy your kid’s story! Stop trying to find a way to impress your boss and actually listen to your partner talk about what’s on his or her mind. It’s the little things that add up to a larger purpose.
Leading a purpose-driven life can have a different meaning for everyone, so be sure to define for yourself what you’d like it to represent for you, then make it happen!