“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for.” ― Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Purpose is often confused with meaning.
But one requires the other to take root. Meaning provides the fertile soil within which purpose grows. Without it, we are just robotic life forms surviving and reproducing.
Consider the following aspirational statement:
“I am an artist, because I find joy in uncovering beauty in places often overlooked.”
The first part is purpose. The second part is meaning. Imagine striking meaning from the statement. Purpose would be diminished to the point of insignificance.
If there is no meaning, then there can be no purpose.
One might say, “well what about survival as purpose?” I would then say, “well what are you surviving for?” The answer in even this basic state of existence is your meaning.
Meaning is the Why.
When something brings you joy, simply ask Why. This question is the razor of meaning. It cuts through the outer layers of the onion straight to the center.
Purpose is the What.
The acts that bring you joy are good places to look for purpose. They tend to stand out like lighthouses in the fog. You will know purpose for the deep fulfillment it brings.
If you are to live a life of purpose, then first seek out your meaning.
From habits to productivity, everything orbiting the planet of self help achieves nothing of lasting value without it. Every act lacking meaning brings you closer to the existential void.
Your highest charge in life, your greatest quest, is to find your Why. Purpose will follow with happiness in tow.
🤔 Food for Thought:
What have you discovered of your meaning to date?
Has your journey to meaning given you a purpose?
If yes, how does this purpose guide you from one day to the next?
⚙️ One Small Step:
Create an aspirational statement like the one given for an artist. Include both purpose and meaning in the statement. If you are unsure, just focus on what brings you joy. Start somewhere, and let this statement guide you each day.