I know too many people who have no specific direction in life. And it doesn’t come as a surprise that they can’t get anywhere if they keep it this way.
Your mission in life is closely related to this direction, to your goals and dreams, passion and interests, ideal lifestyle, satisfaction, level of success, and even daily habits, having peace of mind and sleeping well.
It all starts with being aware of your purpose. Once you find it, you’ll know the answers to the following questions:
- Why are we here on earth?
- What is the best use of our time?
- Do we have free will?
- How can we leave a mark?
- Is our existence meaningless?
and so on.
Yes, the answer to all existential questions, and the solution to all our doubts, problems and uncertainties, lies in knowing the why behind all this. And that can only happen by defining our true missions in life.
After a lot of contemplating, reading and writing, listening to others, and knowing from experience, I’ve come to the conclusion that we all have two of these.
The first is serving. The second is different for each person and it’s our job to find it out.
Here’s what Leo Babauta says in How to Build an Empire:
“How do you build an empire? You let go of the fantasy, and focus on your true mission in life. And if you don’t know what your mission is, then that’s your mission … figuring it out.
How do you build an empire? By serving. By connecting with others and caring. By helping others build their empires. By seeing that the empire that really matters is already here, in this moment, in your heart, in the goodness all around you, in the goodness in others. This empire cannot be taken away, will never crumble, and will fulfill you.
You build an empire by letting go of everything that doesn’t matter, of the fantasies, and seeing what’s here now. And then acting out of love.”
Mission #1: Helping others
Before anything else, we need to learn how to let go of our egoistic nature and open ourselves to the pain of others instead.
Not acting when someone around you needs help and there’s something you can do about it, is equal to the opposite of doing good.
Many people get serving others wrong. They think of the great causes of our generation and consider anything less meaningless. But that’s not true.
You don’t change the world by giving money to feed the children in Africa, or by being an aggressive environmentalist and starting arguments with politicians and turning people against each other.
True service comes in the simplest forms, and it’s part of our daily life. As anything else, it can become a habit. Once we make it our norm to give advice, share what we have, be a role model, give direction to those who need it, listen, smile, be polite, and so on – that’s when the world will become a happier place.
Another paradox of today’s world is this: Some individuals are being bad for too long, then have a deep realization, see themselves for who they really are, feel guilt and seek salvation. And they decide to make the world a better place. And they go out there and create chaos trying to save the planet.
What they should have done, however, is raised their children to be leaders and feed the hungry in their neighborhood first before they head to a Third World country.
Tim Ferriss talks about that too in this post:
“Service to me is simple: doing something that improves life besides your own.
This is not the same as philanthropy. Philanthropy is the altruistic concern for the well-being of mankind–human life. Human life and comfort have long been focused on to the exclusion of the environment and the rest of the food chain, hence our current race to imminent extinction. Serves us right. The world does not exist solely for the betterment and multiplication of mankind.
Before I start chaining myself to trees and saving the dart frogs, though, I should take my own advice: do not become a cause snob.
How can you help starving children in Africa when there are starving children in Los Angeles? How can you save the whales when homeless people are freezing to death? How does doing volunteer research on coral destruction help those people who need help now?
Service isn’t limited to saving lives or the environment. It can also improve life. If you are a musician and put a smile on the faces of thousands or millions, I view that as service. If you are a mentor and change the life of one child for the better, the world has been improved. Improving the quality of life in the world is in no fashion inferior to adding more lives.
Service is an attitude.
Find the cause or vehicle that interests you most and make no apologies.”
Now let’s move onto the second one of your two true missions in life.
Mission #2: Finding your passion
Yes, the second thing you should do with your life other than helping others is doing what you love. The earlier you find what that is and dedicate time to it daily, the better.
The problem is we live in a world full of distractions, our mind wanders all the time, we get lost in the daily worries and other people’s issues, we jump from one project to another, have many goals at once, and so on.
Too many people spend months, years or a lifetime trying to find out what their passion is. But their approach is wrong.
According to Mark Manson – the accidental self-help entrepreneur, a man who has a strong opinion on just about anything, and one of my favorite writers on the Web, life is about not knowing. And that’s completely alright. This immediately makes complaining about not knowing what to do with your life pointless.
So much energy is wasted is comparing your life to those of others, living by someone else’s standard, working on one goal for years just to leave it after that. So enough with that.
Most of the times, you’ve already found your passion, You’re just ignoring it.
Mark is absolutely sure that in the 16 hours we’re awake daily, we do stuff, talk about something that amuses us, think of something else we care about. And if we analyze it, one idea always comes before anything else. Usually, that’s our passion.
“The problem is not a lack of passion for something. The problem is productivity. The problem is perception. The problem is acceptance.
The problem is the, “Oh, well that’s just not a realistic option,” or “Mom and Dad would kill me if I tried to do that, they say I should be a doctor” or “That’s crazy, you can’t buy a BMW with the money you make doing that.”
The problem isn’t passion. It’s never passion.
And here’s a real-life example he gives:
“I have a friend who, for the last three years, has been trying to build an online business selling whatever. It hasn’t been working. And by not working, I mean he’s not even launching anything. Despite years of “work” and saying he’s going to do this or that, nothing actually ever gets done.
What does get done is when one of his former co-workers comes to him with a design job to create a logo or design some promotional material for an event. Holy shit, he’s all over that like flies on fresh cow shit.
And he does a great job! He stays up to 4:00 AM losing himself working on it and loving every second of it.
But then two days later it’s back to, “Man, I just don’t know what I’m supposed to do.”
I meet so many people like him. He doesn’t need to find his passion. His passion already found him. He’s just ignoring it. He just refuses to believe it’s viable. He is just afraid of giving it an honest-to-god try.”
So if you haven’t realized that, today is the right time. Tomorrow is a bit late, but still okay.
The point is to take action right away.
No need to ask people for opinion, to read about finding your passion, to expect things to be in a certain way, and so on. Just open your eyes for what’s already in front of you. And then do something about it.
“What most people don’t understand is that passion is the result of action, not the cause of it.
Discovering what you’re passionate about in life and what matters to you is a full-contact sport, a trial-and-error process. None of us know exactly how we feel about an activity until we actually do the activity.
So ask yourself, if someone put a gun to your head and forced you to leave your house every day for everything except for sleep, how would you choose to occupy yourself? And no, you can’t just go sit in a coffee shop and browse Facebook. You probably already do that. Let’s pretend there are no useless websites, no video games, no TV. You have to be outside of the house all day every day until it’s time to go to bed — where would you go and what would you do?
Sign up for a dance class? Join a book club? Go get another degree? Invent a new form of irrigation system that can save the thousands of children’s lives in rural Africa? Learn to hang glide?
What would you do with all of that time?”
The Happiness Formula
Once I spent enough time to realize things like that, to be honest with myself, to define what I really want and to make a step-by-step plan on how to get it, here I am.
Waking up with excitement, having a smile on my face while working, writing daily, inspiring people and being productive and disciplined without needing anyone to make me so.
And I’m still nowhere in terms of having my own business and stuff. My journey is just beginning. But it wasn’t until I found out my passion – personal development, combined it with the best way I can express myself and the right medium for me – writing, and read everything I could on how to turn that into something more.
Then, I found out that freedom and independence were more important to me than I realized. I did what I could to become self-employed, and am almost location independent now.
So barriers like country, having a boss, doing a job I don’t enjoy, being stuck in an office 8 hours a day, being told what to do, having to wake up at a certain time, and so on, just don’t exist for me anymore. Because I did what I could to remove them.
Elimination is one of the most beautiful processes in life. Defining what you don’t want in life turns out to be more useful than trying to figure out what you truly want. Removing the toxic people from your life is better than always looking for attention and approval by finding new ones.
So if you really don’t know what to do with your life, start by eliminating what you don’t like about it.
And don’t get others involved in that. It’s your path to walk. They have nothing to do with it.
I never share my goals with others, I just mention stuff every now and then once it’s achieved. That lets me stay focused and it doesn’t let other people’s opinion interfere.
You can do it too.
For me, it’s easy and pleasant to start by reading about everything related to my passion, field, or the people who’ve achieved what I’m after.
But if you’re not much of a reader, that’s absolutely fine.
You can also get out there and approach such individuals in person. Or simply start working on something and see how it goes.
Just do something.
That’s probably the best advice I can give you.
As for success and happiness, they’re inevitable once you’re on the right path. Stay consistent, and you’ll have the ideal lifestyle.
What do you think?
The Mark Manson’s articles I used as a reference:
Full-time freelance writer. Lifestyle designer.
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