Try This if You're Struggling to Find Your Purpose and Live a Fulfilling Life
Updated: Sep 16, 2020
Yesterday, United Kingdom has officially fallen into recession for the first time in 11 years. The economy shrank significantly and many people were made redundant due to COVID-19 pandemic. What happens next, you may ask. While there is so much uncertainty in the world, I believe that now, more than ever, we need to be mindful about what we allow our mind to focus on. Now is the best time to assess our mental health and make sure we are on the right path to live a fulfilling life. One of the best ways to stay grounded during these challenging times is to find a meaning in what you do daily and know your purpose in life. In this blog post, I will share 4 methods to help you find purpose and live a fulfilling life. I will also give you 4 book recommendations if you would like to read more about a particular method or concept.
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1) Visualisation Method
Imagine you have all the amazing things in life: happy family, beautiful house, dream car and a healthy body. Try to visualise as many details of that life as you can. Now, think, if you had everything you wanted, what you would be doing in life? What sort of passion you would be pursuing if you didn't have to worry about financial matters? How would you personally like to improve lifes of many if you knew your own family lives in abundance? What would be your true heart desires, if you knew that you don't need anyone's approval ? Another way to find your passion is to visualise and ask yourself this: if time and money were not obstacles, would you study something new, restudy a subject you used to be interested in, or not put any effort into it? Once you figure it all out - you found your answers. Life is really simple. If you are one the right path and you are doing what you really enjoy - everything else will fall into place in no time. Do what you love as a starting point in life and most importantly accept that setbacks are normal. For example, Jack Ma, the founder of Alibaba, have been rejected from Harvard Business School 10 times but that didn't stop him from starting a $72 billion worth (2020) multinational technology company. Lack of support from your family and friends, financial issues or rejection of your ideas happen to even the most successful ones. The main difference between a success and a failure is to keep moving forward no matter what. Martin Luther King Jr. has brilliantly explained the importance of every step forward: "If you can't fly, then run, if you can't run, then walk, if you can't walk, then crawl, but whatever you do, you have to keep moving". If you would like to learn more techniques to expand your consciousness, evolve your mind, find true happiness, and live your purpose, I highly recommend Designing Destiny: Heartfulness Practices to Find Your Purpose and Fulfill Your Potential by Kamlesh D Patel. This book will give you a list of practises to find meaning and passion to live a fulfilling life.
2) Ikigai Method
This Japanese method will help you realise your true potential in life. Finding your Ikigai will give you motivation to get out of bed every morning and feel excited for the day ahead. If you manage to transform your passion into a well-paid job, you will find you are often in a wonderful state of mind, often referred to as "flow". You lose track of time because you find your job interesting and exciting. 'Ikigai', translated form Japanese language, means 'the reason for being'. If you have a strong sense of Ikigai, you will find it easy to live a healthy, well-balanced life even during difficult times. To find your Ikigai, it is helpful to ask yourself the following questions: What is my passion? What gives me satisfaction in life? What's good for society? What is my calling? What do I do when I am at my best? What would I like to see different in the world? What are my values? Your Ikigai can be anything from being the best pastry chef in your town, creating unique artwork, raising children and grandchildren, growing your own vegetables to making a positive change in your local community. Esseantially, Ikigai is a mix of four elements: what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. If you can't find your Ikigai by deep inner-reflection, don't give up! Many people find their Ikigai by chance or by inner determination to make a change in the world. If you would like to read more about Ikigai method, check out this incredible book: Ikigai: The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life by Hector Garcia.
3) Mindfulness Method
One of my favourite methods to live a purposeful and fulfilling life is enjoying the little things. Practising mindfulness really helps to stay present and truly savour current moment. I have talked about The 5-4-3-2-1 method in my previous blog post One Simple Method to Stay Calm and Present which helps to just 'be' here and now. Another good method to be mindful about a particular current moment or experience is focusing on your breath. Breathe in and out and imagine that you are sitting on the banks of a river. You’re relaxed, just sitting, breathing, watching the river flow by. Imagine, the river is a river of your thoughts. You can watch the thoughts coming and then going, but you never have to follow them into the river. You can just sit on the bank and watch them go by. Focusing on your breath and observing your thoughts and emotions from afar, you will be able to fully experience the current moment. If you are interested in getting to know more about the power of now, have a look at my previous post: Mental Health During Lockdown: 5 Must Read Books to Improve Your Well-Being. There are so many ways to be mindful during the day: brushing your teeth, washing the dishes or even walking. The secret is to focus on your breath and observe your physical and emotional feelings. Once you learn to enjoy a number of little things in your daily life, you will raise your vibrations and will start attracting bigger, positive experiences into your life and see the sort of signs that lead you to your passions in life. If you're looking to read more about mindfulness method, I highly recommend: Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Mark Williams and Danny Penman.
4) Grim Reaper Method
I am certain that everyone has a unique gift in this life and that gift has to be remembered after you die. Another method to find meaning and purpose in your life is to think how would you like to be remembered after you die? In psychology, this concept is called "mortality salience" - the awarenesses that death is inevitable. We need to accept that we live for this brief time and we have an incredible opportunity to experience life on Earth as a human being. Yet so often, it's kind of like we sleep walk through life as if we lived forever. How can death motivate us to live a purposeful life?
Imagine there was no death, how would you live your life then? If we lived forever, maybe we wouldn't worry about every individual day or every moment being precious. It is important to think about death to appreaciate life more. For example, Steve Jobs was battling pancreatic cancer when he gave his speech to graduating students at Stanford University (full speech here). In his speech he talked a lot about death: "I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something". He said that thinking about death was the most important tool he discovered to help him make the big choices in life. If you would like to read more about the life of Steve Jobs and to find out his secrets to fulfilling life, I highly recommend Steve Jobs by Waater Isaacson. In this biography, Walter Isaacson tells the story of the rollercoaster life and searingly intense personality of creative entrepreneur whose passion for perfection and ferocious drive revolutionised six industries: personal computers, animated movies, music, phones, tablet computing, and digital publishing.
If you died tomorrow, what would you want on your headstone? These questions are not easy answer and we often feel fearful thinking about death. However, knowing our life journey has an end should be a valuable realisation that motivates us to live every day to the fullest.
Discovering and claiming something you are passionate about has an amazing effect on your entire life. I hope you find these 4 methods to find your purpose and live a fulfilling life useful. However, it is important to remember that creating a sustainable sense of harmony within yourself takes commitment to yourself. You must accept yourself just the way you are in order to dig deeper into your true purpose. Once you realise what gets your blood flowing and stay consistent with it, you will find it much easier to cope with challenging situations in the time of a global pandemic and beyond. It's all about being aware where you direct your attention to - and it is always a choice you personally make. I hope this article helped you to focus on what you love and inspired you to make a positive change to your life. As Steve Jobs said in his speech to Stanford graduates: "the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle".