“The person without a purpose is like a ship without a rudder.” – Thomas Carlyle
If you’ve ever questioned the point of it all or found yourself dragging your heels through life, asking, “Is this all there is?” then you may be living a life without purpose. In effect, your purpose is your reason for being, but if you’ve become blinkered to any other reason for being beyond getting up, going to work, paying your bills, going to bed, repeat… you’ve become a ship without a rudder, destined to go around in circles or drift aimlessly through life – but it doesn’t need to be this way.
What Gets You Out of Bed in the Morning?
You could say that your reason for being is your reason for getting out of bed in the morning. In Japan, there’s a name for this daily sense of purpose – ikigai.
The concept of ikigai revolves around four essential elements:
- Discovering your passion, or what you love to do.
- Finding your mission, or what the world needs.
- Discovering your vocation, or what you’re good at doing.
- Finding your profession, or what you can get paid for doing.
Where these four elements intersect, you find your reason for being – your ikigai. Of course, you may not have instant answers to the above. Maybe you’re not sure what (if anything) you’re passionate about, and maybe you have no idea what you’re good at… finding answers might take time, but raising the questions is going to get you thinking and then doing something about finding them, right?
“Our intuition and curiosity are very powerful internal compasses to help us connect with our ikigai.” – Héctor Garcia and Francesc Miralles, authors of Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life
Your ikigai is yours alone to discover, but the problem for many of us is that we stop being curious. We get caught up in the busy-ness of life and bogged down with routine responsibilities, and we forget to make time for new experiences. Unless we keep experimenting and trying new things, how can we know if they are going to be things that give us a renewed sense of purpose – a reason to leap out of bed every morning.
The Power of Purpose
Where you find purpose, you find meaning. Research has found that having a purpose not only gives you a rudder to help you navigate through life, it can also:
- Add years to your life and life to your years.
Studies have revealed a potential connection between the concept of ikigai and longevity. The residents of the Japanese island of Okinawa are amongst the oldest-living people in the world, and they all wake up each morning with a strong sense of purpose.
Other studies have found that a sense of purpose can reduce the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, and it can have a positive influence on pain management.
- Boost your happiness.
Research in the field of positive psychology has shown that having a purpose in life relieves the potential for anxiety and stress to creep into your life when you’re searching for meaning. When you know why you get up in the morning, you feel energised, focused, and positively satisfied with life in general.
These are powerful reasons to begin looking for answers to the questions that will help you to find purpose in your life. Why do you get out of bed in the morning? The last word goes to entrepreneur Tom Bilyeu who summed things up nicely when he said:
“You don’t ‘find’ your why, you create it. So, go discover, go play. Encounter a bunch of stuff and see what captures your imagination. Once you know that, engage more deeply in the process of gaining mastery and you’ll either develop a passion or realise it’s not for you.”
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