Hundreds of thousands of books have been written on the subject of finding your life purpose. For many of us it is the pursuit of a lifetime. While they say that the unexamined life is not worth living, I am finding that too much examining is not much of life either.
So it is with considerable relief that I stumbled upon some of the most helpful advice I have found so far on a topic I spend a good deal of time pondering. The Teal Swan explains that all of us ultimately have the same life purpose - to find joy. And that to find your ‘passion’ and what you should be doing with your life all you really need to do is follow what brings you joy.
"Find out where joy resides, and give it a voice far beyond singing. For to miss the joy is to miss all" Robert Louis Stevenson
Identifying your life purpose doesn't have to be some grand decision or declaration about the whole of your life. It can be as simple as using this question in order to make the simplest decisions in your every day life. That is information I can use. A structure I can implement. It makes so much more sense to me. Pyramids aren't built in one sweeping gesture, great novels aren't written in a day. They build over time, stone by stone, word by word.
So if you want to know if you are living your life ‘on purpose’, all you need to do is ask yourself ‘what can I do today to bring joy?’. As a guiding principle this really works for me. Trying to identify and articulate your personal values, your passion, your purpose seems daunting. Overwhelming. But when trying to decide whether to say yes or no to an offer you receive, whether to go to place A or place B, asking yourself which alternative brings you joy is much easier to implement. It is also a way to use your intuition. To try to tune in to your own inner voice and figure out what brings YOU joy. Not what you think you should choose, what you have been conditioned to believe is the ‘right’ thing to do. Far easier to do this in each small specific circumstance than to try and identify one grand impressive purpose. One big thing that you are supposed to achieve in your life.
And then slowly, just like each one of those stones in the pyramid or words in the novel, these little choices made by following your joy, show you what your life purpose is. Because life is how we pass each day, not just our grandest achievements. Making the small decisions in line with the guiding principle of what brings you joy will lead you to your grand achievements.