Knowing your true purpose in life

Published: Sunday, May 01, 2016    

Self-fulfilment is the greatest motivator of them all, but the path towards it can be slow and demoralising. Calum Clarke-Brown offers sage advice for your journey to discovering your true potential.

We live in a world where the discovery of our true purpose in life is one of the most difficult conundrums. ‘What am I meant to do?’, ‘What is my true calling?’, ‘What do I enjoy doing?’ - these are common questions which many of us will ask ourselves throughout our lifetime.

Discovering one’s true potential is perhaps one of the greatest motivators a person can find. Those who know what direction to take in their lives tend to be more focussed and more willing to try new things without fear of failure. Such people generally feel better about all aspects of their being, and have more confidence and pride in themselves.

Understanding what individuals find self-fulfilling changes from person to person and motivational drivers can take multiple forms - whether we want to be wealthy, more family-oriented, or to live life in the pursuit of helping others. What people perceive to be self-fulfilling doesn’t conform to any particular formula.

However, the path towards true self-fulfilment is one that has become riddled with dead ends. Too commonly these dead ends require you to take a number of steps backwards before being able to move forward. This is a journey that can be slow and demoralising.

How often have you come across someone who says: ‘You have it lucky, I never had the opportunities you have today.’? That statement holds some truth. There are certainly more opportunities for us all in the 21st century but this hasn’t necessarily made the quest towards self- fulfilment any easier, in many ways it’s becoming more difficult.

With advancements in digital technologies and networking, increasing global mobility and a rapidly growing world population, our environment is moving at a phenomenal rate. The planet we occupy is developing in a way never witnessed before and it’s taking its toll on everyday people.

Opportunities which can help you discover your true purpose in life - further education, a new career path, or social activities - are increasing in volume. So too is our access to these opportunities, and more people are taking advantage of them.

Increasingly, side-effects generated by the modern world have made the discovery of true self-fulfilment a more taxing task than ever before. For example:

Increasing pressure:

An expectation to succeed is the focal point of modern society. Comparing yourself to others through social media or through social cycles is too easy, people just know too much about each other. When you see success in others, you begin to doubt the life choices you have taken, even if what you are currently doing is something you really enjoy.

Too much choice:

Choice has become something of a burden. We are surrounded by countless opportunities, whether they be career paths, university courses, or even choosing food from the supermarket. Aim to be more focussed and eliminate the options which interest you but don’t excite you sufficiently to investigate them further.

A need to achieve quickly:

People tend to rush into making life-changing choices without giving them much thought. An individual may have 100 potential avenues to explore but must pick one relatively quickly. If you’re lucky, you will have already chosen the right path. But, many people are left disappointed with their choices, because they fail to meet expectation.

We fail more than succeed:

Years of hard work aren’t guaranteed to get you where you want to be, as there are likely to be hundreds of others competing with you over the same path towards self-fulfilment. People thus tend to fail more often than succeed, making it difficult to try again as the motivation to do so diminishes.

Despite this, finding your true purpose in life isn’t something you should give up on. There are many ways to successfully accomplish what you want to achieve.

Don’t compare yourself to others:

Your own personal achievements have merit. If someone appears to be more successful, it doesn’t make you a failure because you don’t know how he or she has achieved that success.

Widen your knowledge:

Try to understand what motivates you and look for new experiences: the more knowledge you’ll subsequently gain, will give you an advantage over others.

Be honest:

Be honest about your strengths and weaknesses. This helps you identify which directions in life to take and helps you eliminate those that won’t work for you.

Get talking:

Speak to people who are involved in areas that interest you. This will give you a more informed perspective and help you decide if they would be right for you.

Never give up:

Accept that failure is likely for not everything works out.Try again sing a new approach or attempt something completely different. With every failure, there is a lesson to be learnt.

Discovering your true purpose in life isn’t easy and something that some people have great difficulty with. But if you don’t try, then dissatisfaction is something you’ll come to experience all too often.

One must be fearless and unwilling to give up. Once you understand what you were put on this planet to do, then you will flourish, for self-fulfilment is the greatest motivator of them all!

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