Some people who have come here may not have purpose in life. However, many have purpose and are already successful and excel in what they are doing. Yes or No? Anyone who doesn’t have a house?… Anyone who has not been on vacations?… Imagine 75% of people on this earth do not have these privileges. But do we want to remain here?… or Do we want to make a difference, to ourselves and the world around us? Yes?
Let me share a small story from great epic Ramayana.
Once upon a time Lord Rama was taking a morning walk at the beach before final assault on Sri Lanka. He was contemplating strategy to cross the Palk Strait. He saw, that along with the morning tide came hundreds of starfish and when the tide receded, they were left behind and with the morning sun rays, they would die. The tide was fresh, and the starfish were alive. Rama took a few steps, picked one and threw it into the water. He did that repeatedly. Right behind him was Hanuman, his loyal devotee, who couldn’t understand what Rama was doing. He caught up with him and asked, “What are you doing my Lord? There are hundreds of starfish. How many can you help? What difference does it make?” Rama did not reply, and he took two more steps, picked up another one, threw it into the water, and said, “It makes a difference to this one”.
Did Lord Rama live a purposeful life?
There must be more to life than just growing up, getting a job, taking a few vacations, retiring and dying. Without a clearly defined purpose, we just wonder through space and time. A purpose is a master plan for our life. Knowing our purpose helps define our goals. It makes life more enjoyable and effortless. Purpose is not something that others choose for us. We must choose it for our self.
What is the purpose of life?
What happens after death? Ask these questions to a young person and he is as clueless as an old person. When it comes to such profound questions the youth today is no different from their ancestors. Yes, they have cell phones, and cars, and access to more money and a faster lifestyle, but their soul still craves for those eternal questions that have eluded answers since the dawn of time.
Does your life purpose consist of the meaningful aims – the reasons you get up in the morning and are excited and enthusiastic about?
Purpose can guide your life decisions, influence behaviour, shape goals, offer a sense of direction, and create meaning. For some people, purpose is connected to their jobs – meaningful, satisfying work. For many, their purpose lies in their responsibilities towards their family or friends. Many seek meaning through spirituality or religious beliefs. Some people may find their purpose clearly expressed in all these aspects of life.
Purpose will be unique for everyone; what you identify as your path may be different from others. What’s more? Your purpose can shift and change throughout life in response to the changing priorities and fluctuations of your own experiences.
My grand nephew Mihir says, “I have a job as a software engineer, which is pretty interesting and pays well. But my real love is music. I love to sing and play guitar. I practice a few hours a day. I especially love to perform for others and bring beauty to a special occasion”.
Recently, I met a girl Shraddha, a history student, on field tour to Kanheri Caves. She says, “Last month, my father was very sick in the hospital. I was so impressed by the nurses there and how they made such a difference to my father and our family that I decided that I wanted to have a job like that. So, I am planning to shift from humanities to nursing school”.
The true purpose is about recognizing your own talent and passion; and using them to contribute to the world. Whether it is playing beautiful music for others to enjoy, helping friends solve problems, or simply bringing more values into the lives of those around you.
Why you must identify your values?
Talents and passions are only part of your action to find purpose. It is your values that support your actions most. The values are your driving force. They can be as simple as equality for all, treating others with kindness, or picking up stuff after others. Often your values relate to how you want to be remembered. So, identify top ten values, such as:
Ambition, leadership, loyalty, creativity, nature, freedom, peace, friendship, pleasure, generosity, security, growth, stability, independence, wealth, inspiration, wisdom, etc.
Then, narrow that list down to five values. After that, choose one value that feels the most important for your life?
Why is purpose important?
Perhaps you have experienced moments when you felt truly connected, when performing a task dear to your heart – maybe when you were organizing an event, comforting a sick grandchild, or creating a piece of art or music. It is likely that this was a moment of being in harmony with your purpose.
What does living with purpose mean?
Enjoying good physical health: life expectancy, heart diseases, Alzheimer, pain management, blood pressure, diabetes, etc.
Leading to better relationship: Overall, people with purpose tend to be more engaged with their families, colleagues, and neighbours, enjoying more satisfying relationships as a result.
Post-retirement effect: The most vulnerable time in a person’s life is the first year following retirement. In fact, you have probably heard stories about healthy person who died shortly after they retired from lifelong career. Some researchers suspect that for these people, the end of their career also meant the end of their purpose in life, which in turn affected their health and wellbeing.
Promoting flexibility: One of the common features among people who live with purpose is that they find meaning in the things that happen to them. People with a strong sense of purpose are better able to handle the ups and downs of life. A person with a strong sense of purpose remains satisfied with life even while experiencing a difficult day.
Are there obstacles in journey of purpose?
During your journey of purpose, you will meet different types of people, with different personalities and natures. On such a journey, there will be times, when the going can get tough, especially when you meet a difficult person. Such a person may not have views like what you may have and it may be difficult to adjust to that. A very common response to such a person is – they need to change; whereas the right response is I need to change.
I adjust my life journey and the path I am taking accordingly, so that the person does not become an obstacle in me achieving my purpose. Moulding myself at every step and using my inner specialties and virtues is the hidden self-effort required from me. This is the foundation of achieving success despite difficult circumstances and difficult people standing in my way. It reminds me of a couplet:
सृष्टि बदली तो चाँद तारे बदले,
नाव ने रुख बदला तो किनारे बदले |
नज़रें बदली तो नज़ारे बदले,
और हम बदले तो सारे बदले |
Do relationships depend on your purpose?
You have heard about Lord Krishna and his elder brother Balram? Krishna had capacity to think, to reflect, to contemplate, to assess, that is he was high on purpose. Whereas, emotions, impulses, attachments, resided in Balram. However, Krishna had lot of respect and love for his elder brother. Yet they maintained a very cordial relationship, despite basic differences in nature? How?
You need to have powerful purpose even for good relationship. It is not whom you meet or what you meet, that matters. You are all the time trying to find the right person, there is no possibility at all. Assess the things around you, but not be judgmental. Respect the views of others. Let there be no confrontation of their views with your body and mind. Say it to yourself: “Shut up. You are right, and I am wrong”. Avoid confrontation.
Ask whether your life is meaningful? It depends on:
- Choosing a worthy purposeor a significant life goal.
- Having enough understandingof who you are, what life demands of you, and how you can play a significant role in life.
- You and you alone are responsiblefor deciding what kind of life you want to live, and what constitutes a significant and worthwhile life purpose.
The purpose is to full-fill the life; not to fill the life…!