Are you living a purpose-driven life? Is your life full of meaning, wonder, and fulfillment? Are you happy?
Happiness is something that we could all use a little more of, right? Day in and day out, we’re all seeking happiness in the people we surround ourselves with, in the things we do, the things we buy, the places we visit, and so on.
But what if I told you that happiness isn’t a temporary state of mind that can be found between moments?
According to The Pursuit of Happiness, Aristotle believed that happiness is an end that encompasses the totality of one’s life. It is not something that can be gained or lost in a few hours, like pleasurable sensations.
Happiness is the ultimate value of your life as lived up to this moment, measuring how well you have lived up to your full potential as a human being.
Makes you stop and think, doesn’t it?
What kind of life have you been living so far? Are you living up to your potential? Are you living a purpose-driven life? Do you have a life plan that centers around happiness?
If you’re unhappy with any aspect of your life—your love life, your career, your relationships, or even your life as a whole—I encourage you to keep reading.
Like I mentioned before, happiness isn’t something you can find using a quick-fix—it’s something we have to build towards every day by living a purpose-driven life.
Living a Purpose Driven Life
Have you ever heard of Teleology? Before reading Brian Tracy’s book Goals!, I hadn’t either. Teleology is a word derived from two Greek words: telos (end, goal, purpose) and logos (reason, explanation).
Essentially, Teleology means that without a goal or purpose in life, we have no meaning or reason to exist. Without a reason to exist, we have no happiness. Failure to live a purpose-driven life leads to feelings of emptiness, confusion, yearning, discontent, unhappiness, and in some cases depression.
So, can we live purpose-driven lives by merely setting some long-term goals? No, not exactly.
To truly live a purpose-driven life, we can’t just set obscure goals—we have to dig down deep and discover our core values and beliefs and then set meaningful goals that are congruent with our values and belief system.
Identify your Values
Have you ever stopped to think about what matters to you? Like, what truly matters to you?
This is a question that many people fail to think about, but it’s tough to live a fulfilling life if you’re living a life that isn’t congruent with your values. For example, I value honesty, integrity, hard work, and trust.
What kind of life would I be living if I were always breaking promises, avoiding work, or lying to those around me? Probably an unpleasant one, right?
What are your values?
I recommend that you sit down and journal your way through what matters to you and attempt to discover most important to you.
But, Don’t Start with a Generic List
You may be tempted to search for a list of human values and identify the ones that stand out to you, but I don’t recommend doing this. If you start with a list of values, you’ll be tempted to circle aspirational values, or values you think you should have.
For example, I might scan a list of 400 values and see Compassion or Kindness and select those because I feel that those are important. While they may be important, they may not be my top five values.
On the other hand, I might see Power and Wealth and refrain from selecting those because they don’t seem like respectable values to have.
It’s not about which values are good or bad, but if you start with a list, your mind will try to compare them to see which ones are “better” and this will ultimately influence the values to select.
What Matters to You?
Instead, sit down with a cup of tea, some tranquil music, and start writing out what matters to you in life.
Do you love spending time with family? Do you enjoy volunteering and helping those who are less fortunate? Do you like standing up and fighting for those without a voice?
Whatever it is, write it out in your journal and then make a list of values that stem from the things you love to do.
Once you complete your list of values, you’ll need to start setting goals that are congruent with your new-found values.
Set Goals that are Congruent with Your Values
To live a purpose-driven life, we have to live a life that has value, and we have to live up to our fullest potential.
One of the worst things you can experience as you get older is the nagging feeling that you could have done more, been more, or achieved more. This is where those feelings emptiness, confusion, discontent, and unhappiness come from.
So many of us coast through life, merely floating along with no thought of our potential or our purpose. If you want to live a fulfilled life, you need to explore your potential, tap into it, and see it realized.
The best way to do this is to set big goals for yourself, but be sure to set goals that are in alignment with your values.If you value family, spend as much time with your family as possible. Set goals around family time or shared goals that include your family.
If you value the environment, do your part to save our planet. Set goals that contribute to a healthier Earth such as getting involved with local government and environmental issues or volunteering for city cleanups.
If you value wealth, freedom, and prosperity, set goals around your finances. Aim to be debt free, start a retirement plan or start a side hustle.
Once you know your values and what’s important to you, setting goals becomes so much easier. Your values are going to give you a new lens for viewing the world and for filtering and prioritizing opportunities.
Filter Out the Noise
Opportunities are everywhere, and one of the things I see that keeps people from living purpose-driven lives is trying to do everything. The fear of missing out (FOMO) causes us to chase far too many things that are unimportant to us.
I have found myself doing things in the past simply because I was afraid of falling behind or missing out—not because I valued the activity, the reward, or the outcome.
I see so many people around the world following the Dave Ramsey plan and eating beans and rice to become debt free. For a short time, I thought my wife and I should be trying to live debt free using Dave’s Seven Baby Steps too. “Everyone is doing this! We should be too!”
We do have financial goals that include savings, retirement, and debt-reduction, but our values of living in the present, having fun, and building fond memories outweigh our values for future security and wealth.
That may seem silly, but it’s the reality, and fighting against those values and setting goals for things we don’t truly value lead us to feel unhappy.
So, what about you?
Are you chasing things that are unimportant to you? Are you setting goals that aren’t congruent with your values?
If you want to start maximizing your lifelong happiness and live a purpose-driven life, take time to evaluate your values today. Take some time and reflect on yourself and gain some clarity about who you are and what’s important to you.
Take action today! And until next time, take care.