Why Is It Important To Have A Sense Of Purpose In Life?

Do you ever feel like working at a 9-5 job is making you unhappy? Perhaps it's because you don't feel like what you do has a purpose.

Why do you get up in the morning? Do you have a goal, or are you just going through the same old routine? 

For far too many people, there isn’t any kind of force driving them through their day. Life often turns into a cycle of waking up, going to work, coming home, and then going to sleep. Is that really all there is to life? Surely there has to be a way to break this cycle, right? Thankfully, there is.

Even if we follow a routine, there is a way to make sure that life doesn’t become a pointless cycle. Simply put, we need to have a sense of purpose. Even without a sense of purpose, life is still meaningful, but it often might not feel that way.

Arnold Schwarzenegger sums up the importance of purpose in life perfectly through the example he set in his lifetime. He decided that he would one day become Mr. Universe, and he strived towards this goal every single day. He regularly spent five hours a day working out, but this didn’t bother him. In fact, he actually said that he would often be smiling throughout these arduous workouts. You might ask why, but the answer is simple: his goal gave him a sense of purpose.

Even when nothing else in life seems to be working out, having a sense of purpose helps to keep us grounded. It helps us to push through stress, and it even gives us the determination to work harder every day. If you ask most people what their purpose in life is, they won’t know what to say. At that point, what separates us, humans, from machines? Whatever work we do will always seem meaningless if there isn’t a purpose behind it. 

Now, many people disagree with me about how life without purpose can seem meaningless but give me a chance to explain myself. If the only reason we live is to go to work so that we can pay bills, that often leaves us feeling empty. Unless you are absolutely in love with your job, spending eight hours a day working can start to feel agonizing. One of my friends told me that he works really hard five days a week so that he can do hobbies that he loves on the weekends. That fascinated me because I didn’t entirely understand the logic.

Why would anyone work five days a week so that they can enjoy just two days of the week? The thing is, most people don’t have many hobbies that they are really passionate about. Instead of working to have more time to follow a passion, most people only work in order to survive. This leads to a cycle that often doesn’t bring any genuine satisfaction in life: work, eat, sleep, repeat.

I am not saying that work is the source of all misery, in fact, I would strongly disagree with that. People who managed to earn enough to stop working forever often start to become miserable over time. Not having to work sounds great, but there is only so much we could do before we eventually start to feel empty… Rather than saying work causes us to feel miserable, I am trying to suggest that it is working without a purpose that makes us feel miserable. Regardless of what we do, if we can find a purpose in our labor, it does not seem meaningless anymore. Just knowing that we are doing something that is important to either ourselves or others can give us a special feeling of pride in our work.

So how do we find purpose in life?

Well, it’s actually a lot simpler than it may seem. All we need to do in order to establish a sense of purpose is to find some kind of value in what we do. For example, a lot of people find value in their families. The feelings of unity and togetherness that family can bring holds a lot of value. This can give someone a sense of purpose and belonging, but what we find value in does not have to be this profound.

We can learn to find value in even the smaller tasks that we do. Without switching careers, we can learn to appreciate our jobs more if we start actively searching for what makes our work matter. People who find value in what they do are often far happier than those who do not. Oddly enough, we get to determine what is valuable to us.

I will never forget the day that I met a certain man. I don’t remember his name, but I cannot forget how proud he was of his career. He had retired a few years ago, but he was telling me about his life with such passion. He seemed so much happier than almost anyone that I have ever met. What was his career? Well, he was a bus driver. He understood that what he used to do for a living had value, and this gave him a strong sense of purpose. He helped many people commute to work or to visit loved ones. Whether people realized it or not, he helped them a lot by providing them transportation. 

Every single job provides some kind of value, all we have to do is examine how our job helps people. It doesn’t have to be a life-changing impact, even a small impact makes a huge difference in the greater scheme of things. Societies run because of all of the work that individuals do. In realizing this, we can often feel a sense of purpose, and then work doesn’t seem so meaningless anymore.

I strongly urge anyone who reads this to start looking for the value in everything you do. As you start to see how important your actions are, you will undoubtedly feel more satisfied. Find value in not just your career, but in your friendships and relationships. I even urge you to start finding value in the chores that you have to do around the house. Watch and see how your life will start to change… After all, a sense of purpose helps us see how meaningful our life really is.

finding purpose in life
finding purpose. image source: freepik

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