In this article we continue our journey toward finding meaning and purpose in life. This process utilizes the strong positive emotions we experience while aligned with purpose by carefully examining the things we love to do, our passion’s in life.
Start with a list of things you really love to do.
Focus on activities or behaviors that you make time to engage in, or if lacking time, you find yourself wishing you could be doing these things. Whatever the activities that come to mind, these should be things that nearly always bring you joy.
You look forward to them, you plan for them, you enjoy doing them, and when finished you start looking forward to the next time. Doing these simply makes you feel good about yourself. You feel competent, authentic, and valuable; you feel like the real you.
Convert Doing to Being
The list you’ve made is a list of doing-things. In themselves, they’re not your life purpose, but since they bring you joy they’re excellent clues to your purpose.
Re-order your list if necessary putting those activities bringing you the greatest joy at the top.
Now reflect on each activity, especially those near the top. What qualities, values, or characteristics are you using when doing these activities? Drill down on each activity until you feel you’ve identified a quality or characteristic that is you at your core.
For example, let’s say the activity you’re focused on is writing. Whenever you can, you open your notebook or journal and write. What qualities or characteristics might be in action? Perhaps creativity, imagination, story-telling, musing, adventure, exploration, or information organization.
There can be many qualities at work during your writing, but there are probably one or two that are primary; these are the core qualities that bring you the joy you feel in this activity. As you consider each possible quality, you’ll feel more joy and energy with some; you may even notice you’re smiling while thinking about them.
As you reflect on the group of activities near the top of your list, explore your qualities and characteristics when engaged in them. You’ll probably notice some qualities and characteristics present in multiple activities.
Highlight these qualities present in multiple activities.
You’ve now reduced what may have been a fairly long list of qualities to a very short, but extremely important list. These are probably qualities and characteristics at least partially describing your purpose in life, the being part of you, the human being.
You may notice a similarity of qualities in your list to those of people you admire, which was the process we described in Find Meaning in Life Using Personal Characteristics.
Do you find yourself feeling that you’re getting closer to an understanding of the purposeful life? If the flash of insight hasn’t hit yet, don’t despair. By going through these processes you’re increasing awareness and engaging the power of your subconscious to ferret out the information you seek.
Live with Passion
As they close in on clarity, some people feel a bit cheated, thinking their life purpose should point to some magnificent accomplishment for humanity. Your purpose allows you to do with it whatever you feel called to do, whatever brings you a life filled with passion and purpose. If magnificent accomplishments call to you, the good news is that you are more likely to be open to them and more likely to accomplish them when building on the characteristics of your life purpose. Anything you choose to do is better done when you align it with your purpose. A life of passion, whether in pursuit of world peace or personal tranquility, is a life of purpose.
Now that you recognize the role these qualities play in your life, you’re able to focus on aligning your life to utilize them more consistently. This is just one of the many processes you can utilize in your journey of self-discovery. I hope this process produced some insights for you, but if it didn’t don’t despair. I’ll be sharing many more processes for finding the meaning and fulfillment in life you’re looking for.