The meaning of a purposeful life

Purpose is more important than you may realise

In our busy lives filled with responsibilities, desires, and commitments, it’s helpful for us to reflect on what it means to create — not just a life — but a life lived fully, and purposefully.

In the first week of January 2000, coroners across the western world began to notice a strange trend — from London to New York, the death rate for that particular week was 50% — 60% higher than usual. After some investigation, it was determined that the strange statistics arose out of a determination to stay alive.

Specifically, across the world, people on their deathbed had willed themselves to live to see the dawning of the new millennium.

In the years since that astounding display of purposeful living, researchers have discovered that a sense of meaning is, indeed, a powerful tool for greater health, well-being, and longevity. As well as compelling us to live longer lives, injecting meaning into our days can have profound benefits on our overall health, well-being, and happiness.

What is purpose … and why does it matter?

Living with purpose means rising above “just going through the motions”; it’s about infusing meaning into our actions and personal goals and seeking out activities that are filled with personal significance.

When we do this — when we make meaning a priority — the benefits extend far beyond the immediate satisfaction of completing a task. In fact, purposeful living has been proven to boost life satisfaction and well-being in numerous ways:

· a heightened sense of identity

· increased social interaction

· improved physical and emotional well-being

· improved self-expression

· increased confidence

· higher levels of life satisfaction; enables “thriving”

· longer life

Image: Melissa Askew | Unsplash

Unlocking the Keys to Purposeful Living

Some of you will understand the incredible sense of engagement, vitality and joy that comes from engaging in truly meaningful lives. However, for those of you who may be seeking a more purposeful life, there are two important factors to understand.

Firstly, aligning your actions with your core values is key to unlocking a life rich in purpose. Understanding what truly matters to you and living in alignment with these values leads you towards activities that resonate with you at a profound level. This alignment not only boosts your energy and engagement but also brings a profound sense of fulfilment.

Additionally, the pursuit of intrinsic rewards, those that come from within, holds more power for your happiness and well-being than external validation. Rather than chasing goals solely for recognition, wealth, or external validation, it’s more powerful to focus on the intrinsic joy derived from living authentically and with a sense of personal satisfaction, healthy pride, and inner growth.

“Your purpose will always energize and inspire you”

Tips for Cultivating Purpose in Your Life

Struggling to find what’s most meaningful for you? Here are some simple tools that can help you recognise where purpose may lie:

Know Your Values: Take a moment to identify and embrace your core values, letting them guide your journey towards purpose.

Embrace the Feeling: Shift your focus from how tasks look to how they make you feel. Prioritize engagements that resonate with you authentically.

Align with Your Strengths: Seek opportunities that align with your values and allow you to express and nurture your unique strengths and talents.

Celebrate Your Uniqueness: Recognize that your most meaningful actions may not conform to external expectations. Embrace your uniqueness and let it shine.

Balance self with the needs of others: Altruism is a powerful tool for personal and social wellbeing so, if you tend to be self-focused, seek out ways to use meaningful actions and activities to lift and support others. If you are someone who constantly puts others before self or has trouble saying “no”, appreciate that your purpose will always energize and inspire you. If an activity leaves you emotionally or physically depleted, it is probable that your giving is not ‘purposeful’ but habitual.

Together, let’s make 2024 the Year of Living Deeper — a year filled with meaning, purpose, and a profound sense of well-being.

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