The Role of Purpose in Your Life

The three keys to a life of success are:

Focusing first on purpose, how does purpose really make a difference in life? Let’s look at two anecdotes to show how powerful purpose is.

The first is from Victor Frankl, acclaimed psychiatrist, author, and holocaust survivor. In his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” he said: “…survival is dependent on direction. However, survival cannot be the supreme value. Unless life points to something beyond itself, survival is pointless and meaningless. It is not even possible. This is the very lesson I learned in three years spent in Auschwitz and Dachau, and in the meantime it has been confirmed by psychiatrists in prisoner-of-war-camps; Only those who were oriented toward the future, toward a goal in the future, toward a meaning to fulfill in the future, were likely to survive.”

The second is from a Scottish study which clearly showed how purpose can positively affect one’s life. This small study was conducted with patients who had experienced a severe spinal cord injury. The study showed that those who had a “goal” for their rehabilitation were significantly more successful than those who merely went from task to task in their rehabilitation therapy. Those without a written plan did not know how to effectively deal with challenges they faced. Their will power and resolve was not there to help when the patients were discouraged at their progress. Those who had a purpose to their rehabilitation and a plan for that purpose were able to deal with their obstacles more effectively than those without a purpose to their rehabilitation. Those who had tasks to do gave up more easily. Having a purpose can change the meaning of tasks while doing tasks on their own has no purpose.

Having a purpose is critical. The question then becomes how do you find your purpose? By knowing yourself well enough to be able to know what is best for you. The best way you can know yourself is by identifying your core your principles, those values that direct your life in an unconscious manner. They bring goals to life; they make action palatable when the going gets tough.

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