"Striving to find a meaning in one's life is the primary motivational force in man." - Viktor Frankl
Why do you get up in the morning? What drives you to rise out of bed and take on each day?
It could be your career, family, passion, or some other source of inspiration.
Without a clear sense of purpose, we drift through life. If we're not sure where we want to go, how do we know if we're going in the right direction?
On one hand, I don't want to be boxed in by a sense of purpose. As Oscar Wilde said, "To define is to limit." If we decide on a purpose, does that mean we're limiting ourselves. Don't we need the mental flexibility and openness to handle life's unpredictability?
Maybe both perspectives are right. We could establish our overarching purpose, but still prepare ourselves for the inevitable twists and turns we'll encounter.
Another one of my favorite quotes is "Be flexible about your tactics but obstinate about your vision." (Vinod Khosla). We can establish a big vision of how our lives could unfold, while recognizing that things rarely go as expected.
It seems like many successful people didn't end up where they planned. They were driven and ambitious, but adaptable enough to adjust when unexpected opportunities arose.
I recently learned about the Japanese concept of 'Ikigai', which roughly translates to "a reason for being". Essentially, it represents the intersection of what you love, what you're good at, what the world needs, and what you can be paid for. Some believe that the long lifespans of the Japanese are partly due to this way of living.
I've tried thinking about how to apply this approach . For example - say I love movies and I'm good at making short films. Maybe there's an important cause out there I could pursue, like helping to promote non-profits through short videos. I could make money by establishing a business around this service.
This is just a simple example, but it shows how you could design your lifestyle. You could build your life around your passion, mission, vocation, and profession.
Ultimately, we're responsible for determining our purpose. Those who have a purpose in life seem to be happier and more successful. A purpose centers us and helps us focus. It reduces the world down to size. But we can't cling too strongly to our purpose. We can expect to experience all sorts of changes along the way.