I went into a lot of detail in that last chapter because I want you to understand just how important the process of finding a purpose is.
Over the first five chapters, we focused on excelling at some of the more basic aspects of your person: your look, your health, and your esteem.
What we now know though is that you need to be striving toward something and growing as a person in order to get that real sense of fulfillment and satisfaction.
What might surprise you though is just how much this will also change the way others see you and the way that you come across to others. Once you find your passion, you become a leader and you become much more attractive.
People who have a purpose and who have something they believe in to give off an entirely different energy and enthusiasm compared with those who do not. Others gravitate toward them and they inspire all those around them.
The only problem then is how you find that purpose. This chapter is going to help you do just that.
What Are You All About?
The easiest way to find a purpose or a meaning in your life is to simply turn your attention inward and to reflect on the person you are and on the things that make you tick. To do this, you are going to do some reflective exercises and ask some questions…
What Makes You Happiest?
For example, chances are that there are certain things in life that excite you and that make you very happy. I want you to think back to the last times you can remember being truly happy and truly alive. What were you doing the last time that everything seemed to make sense? Write down a few examples and see if that can help.
Assess your hobbies and interests and the things you’re already pursuing. What do they have in common? What are the common themes and threads that run through the things you do? Maybe it’s all about helping people, maybe it’s all about expressing yourself artistically, or maybe it’s all about strength training!
A similar question is to ask yourself what you would do right now if you could do anything. Answer this question quickly: if you won the lottery today and had no responsibilities: what would you spend the money on? What would you become?
What Did You Always Want to Do?
You might also be able to spot clues as to what you should do with your life by looking at your history. For example: what did you want to be as a child? Or when you were at college? Do you still have any interest in that subject matter?
Likewise, look at your role models. What is it that they have in common? What is it about each of them that you have responded to?
One of the most important things to do when you go through this process is, to be honest with yourself. You don’t get to choose what excites you or what matters to you. This is not an opportunity for you to try and make yourself look and sound impressive. You might wish that your ‘life purpose’ was ‘to end global warming’ or ‘to help others get through their hardest times’. For most of us though, it will be something more selfish and possibly more insane.
Maybe your life purpose is to chase down beautiful moments and sights. Or maybe it has become the best at the piano. Maybe it is to protect your family. Or maybe it is cheese. Maybe it’s My Little Pony.
Be 100% honest with yourself and don’t worry about what others think. Focus on how it makes you feel and what honestly speaks to you.
The next thing to do here is to note that your life purpose might not just be ‘one thing’. More likely, you’ll have numerous things you care about and that you want to improve upon and grow – if you’re lucky, they’ll have a common theme.
Life would be easy if your life purpose was ‘to become a great surgeon’. That may be the case, but more likely it will be a mixture of things.
Simon Sinek gave a fantastic speech at TED on the ‘golden circle’. He looked at the most impressive companies in the world and tried to find out what made them so successful. What he found was that these companies all utilized the ‘golden circle’ rationale in everything they did.
The golden circle can be thought of like an onion with layers. Each layer represents a different motivation as to what makes the companies tick and what motivates them. On the outermost layer we have ‘what’. In other words: what does the company do? Does it make hardware or socks? Does it provide legal advice?
The next layer is ‘how’. Here the company assesses its methodology and its processes. This is how it delivers on its overall promise and often this is one of the first things that sets a business apart from others.
Most important of all though: and the core that should motivate everything is the ‘why’. Why does a company do what it does? If it is to ‘make money’ then that company is likely very cynical and this will be transparent for the consumers.
The most successful brands are the ones that have a real ‘purpose’ and ‘mission’. These are the ones that make something different from all the competition, that come up with a unique idea and present it in a unique way – with real care and attention.
Think about the difference between a company like Apple and a cheap knock-off manufacturer. Think of a website that has something important to say and a stunning logo versus a site covered in spam and adverts. Companies that lack a ‘why’ are shallow and they fail. The same goes for people.
One way to find your why is to use the ‘five whys’ technique. Here, you just ask yourself the question ‘why’ five times. Why are you interested in the things you’re interested in? Why? Why? Why? Why?
This can help you to get to the route of your interests and that can help you to find a calling.
Let’s say you want to be an astronaut. This might be impossible if you are too old but if you ask why enough, you might realize that what you’re really interested in is discovering new worlds and frontiers. There are many ways you can do this: from helping to explore the depths of the ocean to become an astronomer!
Write Your Mission Statement
With all this in mind, you’re now going to continue to follow the advice of most business start-ups and write yourself a ‘mission statement’. This is a statement of intent that should contain everything you’re interested in along with your objectives.
For example, your mission statement might be:
“To create a safe and happy home for my family and to build a legacy that will protect my children for generations to come.”
It might be:
“To express myself artistically in everything I do and to work toward creating a true magnum opus. All in a manner that is conscientious and brings happiness for those around me.”
“To travel the world and to experience true freedom. To meet new people, discover new sights and make every day different.”
“To create a device that will feed the hungry.”