'Finding Your Purpose' Could Be Taking Away From Your Happiness. Here's What To Do About It
Many books have been written on the topic of purpose, and people talk about "finding your purpose" all the time. But what is purpose, and how does one find it? While the discussions may vary a bit, most contain a common theme: that finding and fulfilling your purpose is the most important thing you can do with your life, and life isn't meaningful unless you do.
While at first glance the idea of finding your purpose might seem to make sense, a closer look reveals that it may not actually be beneficial. Because what happens if you don't discover your purpose? Or, what if you do discover what you think is your purpose, but you don't really act on it? Or what if you act on it sometimes but are always wondering if you've done enough?
While seeking your purpose in life can be fulfilling and rewarding, if you're too hard on yourself, all it leads to is you judging yourself. If you would like to create your life rather than destroy it, give up the search of looking for and fulfilling your purpose and start to live. What if the purpose of life was simply to have fun? Here are my top three tips to stop the endless search for finding and fulfilling your purpose so that you can start to truly live:
1. Enjoy the adventure.
When you get caught in the trap of trying to discover or live your purpose, you lock yourself into that one thing. Whatever that one thing is, you dedicate your whole life to it. How many opportunities do you miss that way? What if, rather than waking up in the morning and looking for ways to fulfill your purpose, you started each day by asking, "Who am I today, and what grand and glorious adventures will I have?" Most of us get bored doing the same thing over and over again.
Most of us like change and fun and contributing to a lot of different things. Starting each day off with this question opens the door to limitless possibilities. There are many opportunities for fun and adventure. There are many ways you can give to others. Rather than limiting yourself to one thing, ask this question and your whole life becomes an adventure.
2. Choose every 10 seconds.
You may have heard that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. When you are driven to fulfill your purpose, whatever you have decided that is, you are closing yourself off to so much. You have decided what is required. You are no longer asking questions. You are no longer actively choosing for yourself and your life.
To change that, use the "choose every 10 seconds" tool. Here's how it works: You have 10 seconds to live the rest of your life; what do you choose? That lifetime is over. You have 10 seconds to live the rest of your life. What do you choose? When you choose every 10 seconds, you take your life off of autopilot and start to have the joy of living.
3. Let go of points of view.
We all have points of view about all kinds of things. Points of view about ourselves, points of view about others. Points of view about education, business, politics. There is no shortage of points of view, and those are what create your reality.
Apply this to the idea of finding your purpose. If you have the point of view that you must find and fulfill your purpose if you are going to be happy, if life is going to have meaning, then guess what? Until you find that purpose and are certain you have the right one and are certain you are doing enough to actually fulfill it, you will never be happy. Not much fun.
Not to worry—you can change this. Simply say, "Interesting point of view. I have that point of view" every time you notice your point of view about purpose. That solid and strong point of view that you have decided is right and real and true becomes simply interesting, and when it is simply interesting, you can let it go and choose something else.
The purpose of life, truly, is to have fun and be happy. To look for any other purpose sets you down the endless road of judging yourself and your life. Rather than destroying yourself with the search for purpose, let it go. Begin to ask for the adventure of life and living, and then choose it. Your choice is all it takes.
Read more from Dr. Heer on the relationship myths that hold you back from love.