The average lifespan of someone living in Canada is 81.24 years, this translates to 29,652.6 days. If you are 25 you have already lived through 9,125 of those days meaning more than a quarter of your life has passed. By age 50, about 18,250 days would have passed. After realizing there are this many days gone in which we can never get back, it really puts life into perspective.
When we were still in school, we were asked what do we want to do in life or what do you want to be when you grow up. We don't ask ourselves those questions anymore because we have grown up. But we should still continue to ask. Regardless of the number of days that have passed in your life or the stage in life you are in, people should think about whether they are living their life's purpose.
Time is one thing we will never get back and life is short. Given the short time we are here, we should enjoy every second of it. To me, enjoyment entails finding your life's purpose and living it.
The lawyer who spends his weeknights and weekends at a desk reading contracts and legal terms only to get fed up at the end, quit, and move to the Caribbean for a much simpler life (I'm not suggesting you should do that, to each their own). The engineer who gives up his lucrative job to start a website that teaches others how to start their own online business. He quitted his engineering job because he realized his passion in helping others.
So what does living your life's purpose mean?
Well, the answer is up to you to find out. Everyone’s answer is different because living your purpose can mean a lot of things to different people. Living your purpose starts with finding out what really motivates you in life, and doing what you enjoy most. If it seems easier said than done, here are three ways to start finding it.
1) Take a Step Back to Reassess
Often, our hectic lives make us operate in reactionary mode. We scramble from left to right without really thinking through what it is we are doing. So, take a step back, and ask yourself if what you are doing make sense, and making you happy.
I used to stretch myself really thin by staggering my commitments and plans one after another. This exhausted me and at the end of the night I get snappy at those close to me. I stopped making promises first, started thinking how it would fit into my schedule, and creating more buffer times for myself.
Learning to take a step back and assess is also a good character trait. I know some people who often ask themselves whether each new opportunity presented to them really aligns with their purpose. One individual even gave up a potential radio talk show with descent money because it didn’t fulfill their life’s purpose.
2) Try Something New
Going back to the tagline that “life is short,” I am always of the position that people should always try something new. Learn to step outside of the comfort zone. People will realize a lot of things about themselves they hadn’t before.
By learning or trying something new, it builds on to your experiences and you learn to appreciate life more.
Growing up, there were a lot of foods I hated eating. Sushi was one of them. In thinking back, if I hadn’t tried it once I would not have enjoyed food as much as I do now.
Volunteering is also one area I am a big supporter of. I volunteer at a fundraising event every year and although I am giving my time away for free, some of the soft skills I learned have helped me build my character. I have become more organized, (slightly) more confident when I speak, and learn to put things into perspective.
The list is endless here. But doing something outside your regular routine can make life more exciting. Go into each new “thing” with a fresh perspective and give yourself the opportunity to learn, the future you will thank you.
3) Listen to Your Heart
This is something that I recently learned to do and still takes a bit of practice for me. Listening to your heart is akin to follow your instincts. I believe that the brain can logically and rationally explain everything away, but the heart never lies.
Take going to work for example, people can provide an endless list of reasons why working at this job is great for them: the perks, the money, and the prestige. But you feel miserable waking up every morning. You get this acidic feeling in your stomach every Sunday night. This is your heart telling you that you do not enjoy where you are.
If you ask a lot of the successful people out there, they would tell you one of their most successful traits is following their instincts. What does their gut tell them? If something doesn’t smell right, it likely isn’t.
You probably notice by now that each of these steps involves self-reflection. It is all about knowing yourself better. By knowing what makes you tick and what doesn’t, we can begin to get a feel for what we enjoy most in life and eventually figure out our life’s purpose.
Start small, read a book, go out and do something you wouldn’t normally do. Opportunities can happen in the most unlikely places.
Finally, only you know what makes you tick. Your friends and family may have your best interest in mind and can suggest something, but you are you, and only you can hear what your heart is saying.
“You can never cross the ocean unless you have the courage to lose sight of the shore.” —Christopher Columbus