It all started with Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven Life. From there, more and more books about finding your purpose and your passion popped up. It didn’t stop with print media, either. It trickled its way online in the form of eBooks, blog articles, videos, and inspirational Instagram quotes.
Why are we so obsessed with finding our purpose?
While there is no one, end-all-be-all answer to this, there are several reasons why human beings – regardless of age, gender, race, background – seem genetically wired to look for a purpose. Here are three of them:
IT’S GOOD FOR OUR HEALTH
Turns out, having a purpose is not based solely on emotional or spiritual need. There’s a good chunk of science going on in there, too. Studies suggest that people who have no decided purpose in life are 2.4 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other degenerative cognitive disease. People who have a strong sense of purpose, on the other hand, are less likely to get heart attacks or a stroke, and have also been known to live longer.
The reason behind this suggests a flaw in our current accepted model of health. More people tend to choose health because they’re scared of the consequences that come with shirking health; diseases, physical weakness, premature death. It’s a typical carrot-whip scenario, where they want the reward and fear the punishment.
People who have a purpose are led by a purpose live in complete freedom from both the whip and the carrot.
IT GIVES US A SENSE OF TIME-MANAGEMENT
Once we know we’re meant to do something, we are more likely to redefine and rearrange our life around it. For instance, a Physical Education teacher will make time in his schedule to hit the gym a couple times a week, do in-depth research on the fitness levels expected for different age groups, and maybe even brush up on basic first-aid.
His purpose in work is to safely and successfully teach children physical education, and so he unconditionally supplements his current knowledge and fitness level. Having a teaching schedule, a gym schedule, and a study schedule makes it easier for him to plan out his months in advance. If he is also a father, family time becomes another aspect to factor into his schedule.
IT HELPS DECLUTTER OUR LIFEHaving a purpose gives you clarity on what’s truly important to you – and what you can afford to get rid of. Click To Tweet
A lot of us start life out believing that success is defined by your bank account, your three-storey house, and your fleet of cars in the garage. Others are led by the American Dream; graduate, land your dream job, earn a ton of money, find a nice guy/girl, settle down, have a couple kids, retire with enough money to live comfortably – and a nice, white picket fence around your house.
But what if your purpose isn’t geared towards that?
If your purpose is to constantly travel, see new places, meet new people, then five or six luxury cars won’t really fit in well with that. If your purpose is to raise a family, you’d be more inclined to save up for a house rather than blow a chunk of cash on weekly Vegas trips with your friends. Having a clear-cut purpose gives us clarity on what we actually need in our life – and what’s just BS.