How to find your purpose in life

We’ve seen how knowing our purpose can help us to succeed in a changing world

And we also know that living in line with that purpose will bring us extra focus and energy, enable us to adapt faster to change, and will even make us healthier by altering our genes .

So how do we find out what our purpose is?

Some people just seem to know their purpose. But for the rest of us, the best way to make a start is by following these four steps. This will give you a ‘first pass’ purpose that you can begin to follow: try it out, see how it develops, and then refine and improve it as you go.

Begin by answering these questions:

  1. What are your two best qualities?
    What are the two best qualities you bring to the world? Not skills or knowledge but qualities.
    (If you find it difficult to pick just two, ask some trusted friends. Listen to their answers, keep what you like, ignore what you don’t. And then pick the two qualities you think best describe you: qualities you love to express and which summarise the essence of who you are.)
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  2. How do you love expressing these qualities?
    Next, describe how you most love putting these qualities into practice.
    (You might describe this in terms of how you like to apply your best qualities or the outcomes you love to create. Do whatever way works for you.)
    How do you most love to express your two best qualities?
    .
  3. Describe your ideal world
    Finally, what would the world be like if it were perfect, according to you? 
    What would you see, hear, feel, taste, or smell? 
    What kind of a world is that? 
    What does a perfect world look like to you?

You don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming. You have to do the exercises.

So if you want to find your life’s purpose, don’t read any further until you’ve answered these three questions.

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Once you know your answers, finding your life’s purpose becomes easy.

Because:

The purpose of your life is to express your best qualities, in the ways you most love, in a way that creates whatever an ideal world looks like to you.

So take your three answers to the questions and put them in that order:

The purpose of my life is to express [my best qualities], by [doing what I most love doing], in order to create [what an ideal world looks like to me].

How does that feel?

You might like change the order and say:

“My purpose is to create [my ideal world], by using my [best qualities], [in the way I most love using them].”

Your answers to the three questions give you the basic building blocks of your purpose. So take them and arrange them in whatever way works for you. Play with the wording until you find a way to express this in a way that feels right to you now. (And you can always adapt or improve it later.)

The purpose of your life is to fully express the unique person you are, in the ways you most love, and that create the kind of world you want to live in.

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Once you know your purpose there might be a thousand ways you could put it into practice. So as the world changes, this makes you more flexible to adapt and grow.

What matters now is to start from the best understanding you have today and begin. Then learn, adapt, and improve as you go forward: using the changes you experience to become clearer and stronger. This is how you become antifragile.

What are your two best qualities? How do you most love to express those qualities? What does an ideal world look like to you? Would you like to be spending your time using your best qualities in the ways you love to create your ideal world?


Adapted from Inner Leadership: a framework and tools for building inspiration in times of change.

(The book contains more tools that will bring you deeper insights into your purpose, but this post is a simple starting point.)

You can sign up to daily posts here.

You can also buy the book here and the workbook here.

(And remember: you don’t learn to swim by reading about swimming, you also need to practice.)


Photo By Emilio Küffer via StockPholio.net

2 Replies to “How to find your purpose in life”

  1. Hi, that’s a great way to find the purpose of life, this has always pinched me when others would mention their purpose and passion I was left blank, as I didn’t particularly was good at one thing but there are things like photography that I love to do and consider that as my quality I think now I would be able to speak in front of them of what I am capable of and the quality I like to be always be growing at.

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