13 Truths On Finding Your Purpose In Life

Courtesy of Jeff Goins’ The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do

Alice Vuong
Dec 1, 2020 · 6 min read

“In each experience, we find certain truths we might otherwise miss”

Every day is a new experience in which we can learn something about ourselves.

The smallest task can often teach us the biggest lessons about ourselves about who we are and who we want to be. Pay attention to these small but significant moments.

“Sometimes the route to our purpose is a chaotic experience, and how we respond matters more than what happens to us.”

Things happen to us all the time. Both good and bad. And sometimes to the point where our lives feel totally out of our control. And sometimes they are. But what matters most isn’t what happens to us, it’s how we respond. We can either get out of bed or crawl into it.

“What makes a life extraordinary aren’t the chances we get, but what we do with them.”

I majored in business in my university days. One of those mandatory courses was English. I never loved English when I was taking it so imagine my surprise when I received a letter from my English professor recommending me to major in it.

Even though I didn’t especially enjoy that English class, I’ve always wanted to be a writer so I was ecstatic to receive that letter. I was also young and too practical for my own good. After weighing the pros and cons, I decided to put that letter away (I still have it by the way) and majored in accounting instead.

Opportunities are everywhere and sometimes when you least expect them.

But opportunities don’t matter if we don’t take advantage of them.

“When “real life” began, you gave up, but called it growing up instead”

Most people live their lives in a linear fashion — finish school, get a job, and then a promotion, find the love of your life, buy a house, get married, and finally have a kid or two.

That’s the dream until we achieve those things and then call it “life getting in the way.” Unfortunately, it isn’t until after we achieve what’s expected of us that we then decide what we want for ourselves.

When we finally decide for ourselves, that’s when life begins. But as quickly as those dreams come to us, we give them up and sacrifice them for the life we built, convincing ourselves that settling down and paying bills is simply us growing up and you don’t have time for childlike wonder anymore.

“There’s more to life than what happens to you and more to a vocation than punching a clock.”

We often let life happen to us rather than actively seek the life that is meant for us to live.

The same logic applies to our vocation. A vocation isn’t simply something we do to get by, it’s more than just the 9–5 job you work to pay your bills. A vocation is something we love to do and know that we’re meant to do.

“When you are stuck fulfilling an obligation instead of chasing a dream, you aren’t your best self.”

When you’re spending your days meeting the demands and expectations of someone else, you leave nothing for yourself. Only when you give to yourself can you be your best self.

“What we all want is to know our time on earth has meant something.”

The reason why we humans are always looking for a purpose is that we want to know our life has meaning so that when we leave this earth we’re not full of regret.

Most importantly, we want to be remembered.

That’s why it’s important to find and do something purposeful because at the end of our time here, we want it to have mattered.

“The trick is to know when to listen to your fear and when not to.”

I’ve learned to listen to my instincts and know when I’m just scared to do something. But I still mistake fear for instinct and it’s usually when I’m scared to pursue something.

The trick to finding something you love is to know when to listen to that voice and feeling and when not to. If we listen to fear all the time, we’ll never have the courage to start anything.

“Our lives are haunted by the ghosts of what might have been.”

I once read a quote that shook me to the core:

“Someone once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.” — Anonymous

This quote is a constant reminder of how I want to live my life. I don’t want a great divide between who I become and who I could become. I want there to be as little separation as possible between the two.

Yes, you could fail, but we all know what happens when you don’t try — nothing.”

Failure is a double-edged sword. Nobody wants to fail but if you don’t try, then you won’t ever know if you could’ve succeeded. Instead, in the words of J.K. Rowling, you fail by default.

“Practice can teach you what you are and are not meant to do.”

When we find our calling, we think it’s what we’re meant to do for the rest of our lives. Until you actually do it. Then you have doubts about whether you should do this for the rest of your life.

I’ve wanted to be a writer since I was in elementary school. I never took the time or chance on myself to do it until recently. I still doubt myself but I know it’s what I’m meant to do because after thousands of hours and after so many rejections, I keep coming back to it even if I’m not making a living out of it.

I also thought I wanted to switch careers and do something in environmental studies. I took a few classes, wrote a few reports, and completed a few projects and realized it wasn’t for me after all. The best part of those courses were writing the reports.

If I never published my first piece or took those classes, I never would’ve found out that I was meant to write and not meant for environmental studies. In fact, I’d still be wondering. I’ve been writing for a few years now and those courses took me a few months to complete.

Practice isn’t simply taking one course or writing one post, it’s dedicating a portion of your life to find out if it’s what you’re meant to do.

“We prize comfort above nearly every other virtue.”

I love my comfort zone. I worked very hard to create the comfort zone I have now. I endured countless sleepless nights to get to where I am now and I love where I am now. But that doesn’t mean I don’t want to change — I’m just scared.

Our comfort zone is what keeps us from challenging ourselves; it keeps us from pursuing what we truly want to stay in something we already know how to do. The thought of achieving our purpose, or doing something remotely different than what we’re used to, is scary.

Comfort is a prized possession that many of us aren’t willing to give up, at least, not easily. Comfort makes us feel safe. But to start the work of finding your purpose, the first thing you need to do is to expand that zone of security.

“Every calling is marked by a season of insignificance, a period when nothing seems to make sense.”

We often have this idea that once we find our calling, we’ll be willing to work non-stop and love every minute of it.

That’s never the case.

No matter how much I love writing, I have a hard time staying inspired and motivated every day. Regardless of how long I’ve been writing, I still doubt myself as a writer. Pursuing this path doesn’t make sense to me but it’s still one I want to take.

Alice Vuong

Written by

Living life imperfectly and as creatively as possible.

ILLUMINATION

We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

Alice Vuong

Written by

Living life imperfectly and as creatively as possible.

ILLUMINATION

We curate and disseminate outstanding articles from diverse domains and disciplines to create fusion and synergy.

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