What’s The Purpose of Having A Purpose?

purpose in life, inspiration, positivity, self improvement, work in progress, bpd, bipolar, depression

I’ve worked a variety of jobs over the past 14 years, over 30 the last time I counted. Since the age of 16, I’ve had jobs in retail, corporate offices, two different mailing companies, a gas station, and a fast food place. A lot of these jobs sucked. Most of them did, in fact. Jobs that paid too little but demanded too much. Toxic environments, bad scheduling, lack of policies, or lack of enforcing of existing policies. Asking too much of the staff. Saying you can come to them as managers, but when you do, they dismiss you or hold a group meeting and tell everyone to stop “getting upset over every little thing”. I admit that I hastily left some of these jobs in my impulsive youth, but objectively, many of them were challenging positions that were draining on both physical and mental health.

Despite those negatives, I noticed many of my fellow employees stayed for years. You will run into them at any job, no matter the type. I’ve talked to the veterans of a company, who agreed that the systems were inefficient, or that management didn’t hold anyone accountable, or that the general culture was lacking passion or enthusiasm for the job. But they didn’t want to leave because “the money is too good”, or “I need the health insurance”, or “I like my schedule here”. They loved to complain, but they loved those benefits more. I got a lot of excuses like that at multiple companies, from multiple people. Some of that goes into the fear of change, but it turns out quite a few people are happy just making a paycheck and going home.

I need to pay my rent, too, but I won’t stick around a crappy job for them. To me, a job should be more than just the benefits you get out of them. I like to feel a satisfaction and sense of accomplishment from what I do. I enjoy helping others, being in a bright, positive environment, feeling like I have the resources from my managers to do so, while solving problems, maintaining my autonomy, and having the right people around me.

In short, I crave purpose.

Humans, as a whole, seek purpose because it’s key to finding fulfillment. When we lack it, we feel directionless and lost. When we have it, we are confident, motivated, and more relaxed. Everything falls into place.

Having purpose is such a universal human experience, and yet, in my 14 years of employment history, I have found that many, if not a large majority, of my coworkers did not seek purpose.

At least, not in their job. Your paycheck doesn’t have to be your purpose, though some absolutely see providing for their family and paying bills as the utmost valuable thing they could do–and I see you. I am not driven that way, but I admire you.

What if you’re one of those lost, wandering souls, still looking for your purpose? Should you pursue a degree in a field you’re passionate about? Or look for fancy job titles and high-level positions at your most desired companies? Well, yeah, you absolutely could, if you want. But, it’s not a universal answer to finding your purpose.

I met a cleaning lady from Venezuela at my college who was dirt poor and barely spoke English, but she was so passionate about doing a good job as a janitor and getting to interact with people on a daily basis. She was a light in everyone’s life. She didn’t have a college degree, or a high school diploma, for that matter, but she loved what she did. She said that she loved doing this for the young people and being able to make a difference at the school.

That’s the kind of passion I’m talking about. It’s not tied to a job, but for her, it certainly was, regardless of whether it was a glamorous or prestigious position.

So, is it just finding something you’re good at then and like doing? I think that’s important, too, but it’s still only part of the story.

The important thing about finding purpose is finding something that you feel passion for, that you feel you belong to. It’s a cause, field, hobby, or industry that you feel needs you. It’s better for having you in it, and you’re better for having it, too.

How do you find your purpose? Well, that could be an entire article by itself. In fact, Google is full of them! Amazon, likewise, has tons of books on the topic that you can get for relatively cheap. Maybe I’ll write a post full of resources on this topic, but for now I’ll say this: you’ll know your purpose when you see it.

The amazing thing about not knowing what to do with your life is that you can do whatever you want! It’s so freeing. You can write a book, write a movie, be a counselor; advocate for an oppressed, victimized, or minority group; work with kids, work with animals, work with the elderly, learn to make or build something, be crafty, be YOU.

It can be your job. It can be your side hustle. It can be on a volunteer basis. It can be your hobby that no one knows about but you.

The best way to find out is to do. What do you care about? What gives you light? What are your values? Think about options that tick those boxes and find a way to incorporate it into your life. It may require a bit of sacrifice and rearranging of priorities, but it’s well worth it. I had to cut down on video games to make room for more writing. I do not regret it. We make time for the things we care about most. This is worth the space on your agenda!

If you’re still not sure what answers those questions, then try some things! What are your friends into? Can you try it out with them at a class or workshop? Can they introduce it to you and teach you about it? Look into niche subreddits on Reddit and see what it’s like to get into gardening or woodworking or video editing. It might draw your attention in more, or you might realize it’s not for you at all.

You’ll know it when you feel it. It’ll be what gets you excited. Working at a place that meets all my criteria would be a great way to serve my purpose and feel fulfilled, but if it’s just tolerable while I put my heart into my passion on the side–that’s fine, too.

Have you found a purpose in life? How did you know?

Published by Jessica

Writer, YouTuber, streamer, gamer, yogi, self-improver--still trying to figure it all out

14 thoughts on “What’s The Purpose of Having A Purpose?

  1. Love this. I’ve had a similar experience with jobs, and marveling at people who would stay because of reasons I didn’t quite grasp. Purpose runs so much deeper for me, and maybe that’s part of my problem! Haha

  2. i myself am still trying to find my purpose.
    i dont feel like i have really fit in to anything, and im always lacking in friends.
    i also am tired of being the “friend” who keeps the friendship going, like always starting the conversations, checking in to see what’s up, etc. but, you know the friendship is dead, when it’s only one sided.
    then it makes me wonder if my purpose in life is to find all the flaws in everything, and always being lied too, and the person who will always get hurt in the end.
    if this is my purpose, i sure am not enjoying life one bit.
    like im able to blog, paint pictures, help people with traffic, play facebook games , etc, but to me that is far from having a purpose in life because im still a miserable unhappy person.
    maybe it’s better not knowing what your purpose in life is, so you can just enjoy the life you have and dwell on the life you dont have.

    1. I know exactly what you mean about friendships. And when I don’t do the upkeep, they fall by the wayside. Maybe I’m not forgiving enough, but I just don’t see how people have so many close friends, or even friends on a regular basis. I find friendships to be difficult to maintain. Perhaps that’s on me? But I feel like I put in the work only to not have it reciprocated.

      Perhaps purpose and happiness aren’t always directly linked. Perhaps the reasons for your unhappiness have nothing to do with a lack of purpose, but stem from other, unrelated issues. I hope you’re able to find peace and happiness. I’m glad you do have things you can enjoy, but I know it’s not the same as feeling fulfilled or happy.

      1. thank you for your reply, im glad im not the only one who feels this way. i never was able to keep friends for a period of time. best friends dont exist in my world, i dont know how anyone can keep theirs from kindergarten or school in general. and most of my friends that had in school, majority of them have blocked me.. so it’s like well thanks for that.

        i have never known what my purpose is in life, i just believe im just wasted space and my health doesnt help with anything, especially the money part of life. and my health is also a reason why i dont have friends in person, and most of it is all on social media. because that’s basically my life. i dunno, it just gets hard when you see everyone else is doing things you wish you were doing, or those who have figured out their purpose, and you’re still doing the same thing you have been doing for years, and nothing has changed. or you try something new and it doesnt work out, or relationships dont turn out the way it should be and you’re back at square one again, being this miserable heartbroken person, who cant be constantly happy.

        sorry, i cant help it but i type a lot.

        but im glad you understand what im talking about and im glad you’re honest with your reply as well.

      2. It’s sort of cheesy to say, but I’ll be your friend. Even if only online! I relate a lot to your struggles. I don’t know why it’s hard for us to keep friends. Are we that difficult to remain friends with? Do we just rub people the wrong way? I guess I’m not forgiving enough, if I’m honest. Sometimes I get into fights and then I don’t ever apologize. Sometimes I do and they still don’t want to hear it. I hope that’s not the case for you. Regardless, those people are losers if they don’t want to be friends with you. I’m sorry you’ve had to go through that.

        You’re definitely not wasted space. I’m sorry you have to deal with health problems that impact your life. That must be incredibly difficult and just compounds all your existing problems. I hope you find something fulfilling that gives your life purpose. If not, well, maybe you don’t need one. Maybe you just need happiness because it sounds like you are not very happy. I hope you find it one day. 🙂 You deserve to be happy. You don’t deserve all the pain and misery.

      3. thank you so much for helping me feel better about myself. i have already started to see a change in the way i think and what im doing about it too.

        it’s amazing how certain posts come at the right time and able to help someone out, and i believe your post did that and your replies/comments did that as well.

        so thank you for being my friend, even if it’s just online. and thank you for helping get back on track with my own life, and things that do bring me joy and happiness and trying to just keep at it. and not worrying so much on the friends i dont have or i want, or worrying about the purpose.

        you have been a big help, and i cant thank you enough.

      4. I hope you’re able to continue to see a change in your thinking. You deserve happiness, purpose, whatever you desire. It’s definitely not easy. We’re all struggling together though. I definitely consider you my friend. Thank you for being mine 🙂 And thank you for all the nice comments!

  3. I definitely see blogging about my mental health issues as my purpose. I never found purpose in the “working world.”

    1. Yeah, I feel you. That’s something I struggle with. I need a full-time job for the income, but it leaves me drained and directionless.

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