Finding Your Purpose
We all need goals – the problem is – what goals will help us to feel fulfilled?
Finding meaning and purpose in your life is one of the great problems of existence. Without a purpose we feel lost. Sure, we get up and eat and continue to breathe, but we don’t feel fulfilled and we don’t have a sense of purpose. Without a purpose or a goal to pursue, we suffer from ennui.
But it doesn’t have to be that way, all you need is a purpose. But not any old purpose. Because people’s whose purpose is just to get rich or get married or have kids, they tend to suffer from mid-life crisis at some point. Basically, once they’ve accomplish their goals – they are left without goals and have to deal with their brain repeating “now what” in an endless loop.
The first time I succeeded in a major life goal (get a college degree), I suffered from this “now what” ennui for a while. Until I realized, all I need is a new goal. As soon as I created one, I felt much better and I once again and meaning and purpose in my life.
As a Humanist and a non-believer, I view meaning and purpose as essentially arbitrary. But they aren’t. Some goals and purposes are better at helping you to feel connected and motivated than others. The goals that work best, are goals that are pursued not just for yourself, but for others as well.
As much as I dislike religion, I have to admit – having “make god happy” as your goal does seem to work for A LOT of people. Why? Because it helps people feel connected to a purpose beyond them. These beyond yourself sort of goals are powerful things. That’s the sort of goal we all need.
The good news is that we don’t need supernaturalism to find this sort of motivation. All that’s needed is for us to dedicate ourselves to making the communities in which we live better. Not just for ourselves but also for others. And then work to put our talents, whatever they are – to use in pursuit of that goal.
This is why Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity. As far as a goal or purpose in life, you really can’t do much better than that.
I rarely suffer from ennui. I have a purpose in life. I am actively working to make the world a better place little by little by little. I get up every morning hoping to make just a little bit of progress. It doesn’t matter how little – every little bit helps to move the social project forward. Today I spoke to a mother with a kid on the autism spectrum. I’ll be giving her a copy of my book, The Bully Vaccine to help her help her son deal with the bullies in his life. Did I change the world today? No, but I did make a little bit of progress one person at a time, and that is actually really very satisfying.
What have you done to help someone else today?