I was asked to speak on the topic of purpose and happiness on the radio. I got my talking points ready and alas we focused our 4 minute airtime discussion on financial wellness.
Mission: You can feel more happiness and life satisfaction when you’re serving a purpose.
Passion and purpose are two distinct things. It’s important to clarify the differences. Passions are personal interests that you invest time and resources. Passions can come and go as your interests in people, things and projects may wane. You may decide your time and resources are better spent elsewhere hence why you’ve lost passion for whatever interest you were focused on.
Purpose is serving something greater than yourself. Purpose can serve your family, your community, and various projects. In a Time article, the act of giving back to others scientists are discovering “activates the same areas of the brain as food and sex.”
Purpose gives us connections. We’re social beings and need human connections. When you spend time with others whose purpose is aligned with yours, you feel connected, and thus the feeling of happiness follows.
Example: You may be passionate about your pets and when you decide to contribute your time and resources into preventing animal abuse you’ve found a purpose.
Obstacles and Methods
Not enough time. Be honest with yourself on how much time you can invest in your purpose. Time is finite and we all have other obligations that require our time. Manage your time. Manage your time by understanding how much of it is allocated on work, projects, interests and your passions.
Not enough money or resources. When your basic needs are met, serving your purpose becomes a much easier task. Finances impact our overall wellbeing and ability to serve our purpose. You cannot think of helping others when you’re struggling to keep yourself afloat. Focus on helping yourself first and find stability before adding more on your plate that requires use of your money and resources.
In You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life, I addressed the importance of achieving financial wellbeing that will lead to more time and resources to invest in your passions guiding you live a more purposeful one.
In order to thrive, you must survive and this means you must take care of yourself before you are able to take care of anyone or any project. The reason we don’t feel as satisfied while serving our purpose because we’re stressed about our situation. You can feel happiness by escaping your situation by focusing on your purpose, but avoidance won’t provide long term satisfaction.
To serve your purpose you must take care of yourself first. You must be physically and financially sound. You cannot serve your purpose if you’re tired and ill. You cannot serve your purpose if you’re stressing about your finances.
Identify Your Purpose by Broadening Your Interests
List all your interests and determine how much time and resources you’re devoting to them. This helps you discover things you’re passionate about (more time and resources devoted to an interest shows your passions). Don’t have any interests that compel you into action? Broaden your experiences by trying new things, meeting new people, and having different conversations.
Now, look at the list and identify the passions that impact the wellbeing of others. You’re now going through the process of identifying your purpose. When you decide to devote more time, energy and resources to a specific purpose you’re living a purposeful life.
When you’ve made this conscious choice it impacts your wellbeing. You feel happier in your ability to give back and help others because you can and able to.