We recently came across an inspiring talk by film producer Adam Leipzig in which he shares a simple and effective way to define our life’s purpose. He begins the presentation by recalling his 25th college reunion from Yale University, where he was shocked to discover that around 80% of his former classmates were unhappy in their lives. This large group was comprised of many who had achieved outstanding levels of success in their respective fields, yet still felt they had ‘wasted their lives’. With some research Leipzig learned that during college this 80% had selected their courses based on future career goals while the happier 20% had chosen them based on personal interest. One finding stood out most: Every person in the happy 20% understood his or her life purpose.
Inspired by this knowledge, Leipzig sought to simplify the process of defining one’s life purpose. The nearly 152,000 books on the subject available on amazon.com indicate there is widespread interest on the subject. However, Leipzig wisely warns that although the unexamined life is not worth living, “if you only examine your life you are not living it.” Below is his quick and effective solution.
5 Quick Questions to Know Your Life Purpose:
- Who are you? (just your name, yes)
- What do you love to do? *
- Who do you do this for?
- What do these people want or need?
- How do they change as a result?
* If you love to do many things, narrow your answer by asking yourself what you love to do and feel qualified to teach.
Notice that only 2 of these questions are about you. The other 3 force you to be outward facing. The most successful people in any field have this outward facing approach; they know very clearly whom they serve and how they affect this group of people. Similarly, happy people make it a point to make others feel taken care of and more secure. By making others happy you are taken care of as well.
The answer to #5 is your real purpose. A commonly asked question upon first meeting someone is, “So, what do you do?” This can make us feel uncomfortable or vulnerable when what we’re paid to do doesn’t reflect how we define ourselves or our life’s purpose. However, once you know your purpose (#5) you can easily answer this question with confidence. And when you do, you’ll be cutting through a layer of BS that can easily cloud or detract from who you really are rather than sparking an interesting conversation.
When you recognize what matters to you and the unique qualities you possess (just by being yourself) the world opens. You feel happier and more self-assured. And you’re able to make decisions that reflect your authentic self rather than wavering between what you could, should or would do. And you’ll have that much more energy and positivity to share with others.
* Song For This Moment: “In Your Bones” by Color Guard.
Because you only need to look inside to find your real purpose. Trust it + embrace it + be happy.
“How To Know Your Life Purpose in 5 Minutes”, Ted Talk by Adam Liepzig: https://goo.gl/QeUvnR