Ever since I was in high school, I kept wondering what the purpose of life is – why we are here, what we are supposed to do and what the meaning of everything is.
In order to find an answer for myself, I started asking people around me what their purpose was. I thought they might be able to give me some ideas.
And I got a set of interesting answers ranging from “My purpose is to be happy” to “I want to leaving a mark behind me in the world/ I want to make a difference”.
My next question would then be “And what does being happy mean for you?”. “What kind of mark do you want to leave behind you?” or “How exactly do you want to make a difference?”.
Now I would get a blank stare from nearly everyone. Most of my friends considered that a wacky question (that’s just an euphemism for “what on earth is wrong with you, why are you asking me such freaky things!?”) and said something like “Well, for me to be happy means to have a well-paid job, lots of money, a house and a family”. That wasn’t exactly the answer I expected, to be honest.
Others told me they didn’t exactly know how they would make that difference, but they wanted to leave some kind of legacy and be remembered for the great things they’ve accomplished.
I noticed two distinct groups of people, based on the answers I got: the materialists and the idealists.
The materialists were interested in deriving happiness from the possessions they acquired during their lifetime, while the idealists were more keen on getting recognition and appreciation.
I recognized a need for security and a drive to stand out. Both are human needs according to Maslow, but they are on different steps of his pyramid.
I personally found myself in the latter category. My answer back then was “My purpose is to bring a smile on people’s faces“. Kind of broad too. And no, I had no specific ways of accomplishing that.
But I did fantasize of having the answers to life’s questions and providing other people with those answers – thus bringing a smile on their faces. I guess that’s what eventually led me into personal development.
Why it’s crucial to have a mission in life
I believe we are active participants in life. We are the ones who determine the course of events, we make decisions and we are responsible for what happens to us. We are constantly in charge of things. Yes, there will always be unpredictable events which do occur, but we are still given the choice of how to respond to them.
Having a mission will take your life to a whole new level. It will turn the purpose into something tangible and it will allow you to make a difference both in your life, as well as in the lives of others.
1. A mission will give you a sense of direction
Since we are the shapers of life, we are setting the direction in which we want to grow. Having a mission will give us this sense of direction. It will help us drive our actions towards achieving what we desire. Action without a purpose is random. It’s not justified.
A mission will give your actions a specific purpose and a meaning. It will connect the dots between everything you did so far and help you see how that fits into the greater puzzle of life.
A piece of puzzle in itself is worthless, but when you put it next to others, everything makes sense. When you know exactly what to do, each action you take starts counting, just like every piece is crucial to build a complete puzzle.
2. A mission will keep you inspired
Whenever you lose your drive to do something, having your mission will remind you why you are on this path and what you chose to do.
A mission will keep you excited, because it’s a statement of what you ultimately aspire to in life. If you combine your mission with a purpose (your “why?”), you will constantly be inspired to move in the desired direction.
A mission will be so powerful, that you won’t even need to constantly motivate yourself to reach your goals. Everything will flow naturally and effortlessly, because you have the necessary energy.
Having a mission and setting corresponding goals will make you jump out of bed energized every morning and go back to bed fulfilled every night.
3. A mission will help you make better decisions
Whenever you are faced with a tough choice, having a mission will make everything easy for you. It will all boil down to the following question:
“Does this option help me achieve my mission and bring me one step closer to reaching my goals?”
If it does help you achieve your mission, then do it. If it doesn’t fit into your big picture, then don’t. It’s from a different puzzle, so leave it aside.
Decision making becomes incredibly simple, as soon as you define your mission. And being able to make quick and smart decisions, will allow you to free up much more time and energy for what matters most to you.
4. A mission will give you flexibility
Your mission is the “what” you want to do. But it doesn’t tell you “how” to do things. That’s actually the beauty of it.
A mission won’t confine you. It won’t limit you to just one way of achieving things. On the contrary, it will allow you the freedom to choose your own ways.
If one method fails, there are numerous others which will get you the same result. You won’t get attached to just one path, since there are plenty to pick from.
Let me give you an example.
Let’s say your mission is “To shape the character of young people and enable them to have a bright and promising future”. You can do that through teaching, but it’s not the only way. Results can also be reached through counselling, mentoring, building a private school, creating a youth association, writing books, composing music and so much more.
Likewise, if your mission is linked to art – let’s say you want “To create beauty through music in people’s lives”, you’re not limited to singing in a band or becoming a composer. You can also be the agent of a musician, you can be a PR manager, a DJ or even a sound engineer.
A mission will never confine you. So if one path doesn’t suit your personality and skills, you can always choose a different route to the same destination. Find what fits you best.
5. A mission will help you plan your future
Having a mission will help you create the future you desire. Instead of just getting by and reacting to what life brings your way, you will be able to shape your future as you like.
Your mission will give you a sense of fulfillment. It will allow you to set goals for yourself, take inspired action and grow. Life becomes much easier when you know what you want to achieve.
Challenges and setbacks are also dealt with much easier, because you have a clear image of what you want from life. Even when the winds are not blowing in your favor, having a direction will allow you to adjust the sails and keep going.
Without a life mission you will be just like a ship in the middle of the ocean with no exact destination. You will be at the mercy of the tide, winds and storms. Don’t rely on luck to help you reach the land, because the closest land might just be the bottom of the ocean. Become the ship’s commander and take charge of things while you still can.
How to find your mission
In my next article I will cover some fast and efficient ways in which you can define your life’s mission. Make sure you subscribe to the newsletter to get notified when it’s released.
In the meantime, I’d like to know if you’ve already thought about the importance of having a mission in the past. Did you already define one for yourself? Or are you still struggling with it?
Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.