According to Daniel Pink‘s Drive, purpose, the yearning to do what we do in the service of something larger than ourselves is one of the three main motivators in life. It’s on purpose, that Rick Warren wrote his books The Purpose Driven Life (2002) and Purpose Driven Church (1995) to help individuals, groups and churches find their purpose(s) for being here on earth. Self-help books suggest that people should look within, at their own desires and dreams, but Rick Warren says the starting place must be with God and his eternal purposes for each life. Real meaning and significance comes from understanding and fulfilling God’s purposes for putting us on earth.
A good approach is to consciously think about which activities, people and beliefs bring us the strongest sense of purpose and passion. Then we can focus on making sure that we prioritise these things in our busy lives. Often we’re so busy just hurtling ahead and end up exhausted at the end of each day without ever finding time to think about what really gives our lives meaning.
Sometimes it is only when we reach important new stages in our lives, such as parenthood, middle age or retirement – or when something happens to disrupt our lives such as a trauma – that we start to think about the point of being here and what is really important. But it’s never too soon (or too late) to start putting the really important things first.
If we can find and pursue our true purpose, it can fundamentally change our lives for the better and also help us make a more positive contribution to the world around us.