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4 Life-Changing Benefits of Having a Purpose

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Do you know where you’re going? And do you have a plan to get there? If you don’t, you’re likely to be forever drifting from one thing to another – without making any genuine progress in your life. A purpose is what you need! It is something for you to aim towards and something for you to be genuinely excited about. Having a definite purpose in your life will bring you some amazing benefits, four of which I’ll talk about right now.

Benefit #1: You’ll Feel Stronger and Braver

One of the biggest causes of fear is not knowing what’s going to happen next in our lives. This fear can be so paralyzing that it can literally stop us in our tracks. This is where having a definite purpose can really help.

Once you’ve worked out what you want, you can plan your route to get there. And not only will this set you up for achievement and success in your life – but it’ll also eliminate the unknown and unleash a hidden strength.

You’ll have drive, you’ll feel confident and you’ll feel brave. These are all traits that you’re unlikely to have if you’re currently drifting through life. You might at this point be wondering…What exactly IS a purpose?

Some people refer to a life purpose as a ‘calling’. But, whatever you choose to name it, your purpose should contribute positively to society in some way, while at the same time bringing satisfaction and a sense of achievement to yourself.

Your purpose will also provide meaning to your life. And, this will give you the mental tools you need to face the ups and downs in life that you’ll inevitably encounter on the way to reaching your goals. When you’re able to find meaning and purpose in your life, your fears will dissipate. That’s the power of knowing where you’re going and what you’re aiming for.

“Activity without purpose is the drain of your life.” – Tony Robbins

Benefit #2: A Purpose Will Boost Your Health

You may be surprised to know that finding and following your purpose will give your physical health and mental well-being a positive boost. This was confirmed in a recent study published in The Lancet, which looked at how our attitude to life affects our happiness, health and longevity.

The eight and a half year study of people with an average age of 65, found that those with the highest well-being were 30% less likely to die over the study period, living on average two years longer than those in the lowest well-being group.

Professor Andrew Steptoe, Director of the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, who led the study, said: “We have previously found that happiness is associated with a lower risk of death. These analyses show that the meaningfulness and sense of purpose that older people have in their lives are also related to survival. There are several biological mechanisms that may link well-being to improved health, for example through hormonal changes or reduced blood pressure. Further research is now needed to see if such changes might contribute to the links between well-being and life expectancy in older people.”

The study also found some unexpected health benefits of having a purpose, such as an increase in walking speed over time. This effect was the equivalent to the purpose-driven participants being 2.5 years younger. Imagine that.

While more research is needed, it’s clear that having a sense of meaning and purpose cannot only boost your health – but it might help you live longer too.

Benefit #3: A Purpose Will Improve Your Time Management

Another key benefit of having a purpose is the effect it’ll have on the management of your time. Let me demonstrate this through an example: Imagine for a moment that you’ve discovered your calling – to be a school teacher. You could class this calling as your major goal. But to get there, you’re going to have to accomplish several smaller goals. These would be things such as:

  • Finding a college course to enroll in
  • Finding the funding to pay for your course
  • Ending your current work/study commitments
  • Starting your course
  • Gaining work experience
  • Passing your course
  • Looking for work
  • Starting your first job

Look at that list again. It’s an ideal roadmap to accomplish your major goal of becoming a teacher. It also naturally breaks down the necessary steps into bite-sized chunks, making it straightforward and time-efficient to achieve each of them. It’s important to remember that time isn’t an infinite resource for us.

Which is why a definite purpose scores highly in this area, as it will drive you to take specific steps at specific times. Compared to someone drifting aimlessly through life, you’ll use time to your advantage and you’ll inevitably reap the rewards of your efforts.

“Clarify your purpose. What is the why behind everything you do? When we know this in life, it is very empowering and the path is clear.” – Jack Canfield

Benefit #4: A Purpose Will Help You Gain a Sense of Accomplishment

Think for a moment about the major things you’ve achieved in your life so far… graduating school, learning a new language, getting promoted, losing weight, becoming a parent, etc. These achievements will have given you a greater sense of purpose in your life, as well as boosting your confidence, health and happiness.

Now imagine that you’ve discovered your major life purpose, and you’ve plotted a route to get there. This will put a rocket booster under your confidence and drive. You’ll feel super-energized to progress towards your goal – as it something that means the world to you.

And, as you travel along the road to your purpose, you’ll begin to understand how failure and mistakes are all part of the road trip! No one is perfect, and no journey in life can be without the occasional hiccups and setbacks. But you don’t need to worry about these. As your inner drive to achieve your purpose will overcome any and all difficulties that you face.

Coming back to gaining a sense of accomplishment, you can magnify this by celebrating the successful achievement of all your minor goals as you work your way to the BIG ONE.

So now you know some of the great benefits of pursuing a purpose, and I hope you feel inspired to find and follow yours.

Leon Ho is the Founder and CEO of Lifehack, which he started in 2005 as a way to share his personal productivity hacks to make life easier. With over 30,000 articles published at Lifehack and millions of monthly readers, he is widely recognized as a productivity and management expert. Influenced by both Western and Asian culture, Leon has decades of experience in technology and the internet. Because of his pioneering work at discovering, applying and spreading the secrets of personal development to the world, Leon has been listed as Business Week's #4 "Top 24 Young Asian Entrepreneurs".

Life

What The Lion King Can Teach You About Self-Esteem

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The lion king
Image Credit: Disney

Did you know that having high self-esteem can make the difference between being truly successful or a total loser? If you’re suffering from low self-esteem, your success probabilities are highly impaired because your confidence level will be reflected in all the areas of your life without discrimination.

You’re Not Alone

Maybe you think that you’re born insecure and that there’s no cure for that. Perhaps you believe you can change, but you don’t know how to make that transformation happen. The good news is you can change. Your self-esteem level is something that can be hacked, just like any other psychological factor.

However, what if your disbelief in improving your self-esteem is the real cause to why you’re still stuck? Keep reading because in this article I’ll give you 3 simple tips with which you can raise your self-esteem today.

What’s Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem, as the American psychologist Nathaniel Branden said, is the psychological condition when we feel effective in front life’s challenges and when we feel worthy of success and happiness. As I said before, everybody can increase their self-esteem levels naturally. The bad news is that authentic self-esteem never comes for free, and we need to work hard to grow our self-esteem through our thoughts and actions.

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” – Mark Twain

What ‘The Lion King’ Can Teach You About Self-Esteem

To help you better grasp this concept, I will refer to my favorite Disney classic, the Lion King. When Simba’s father (Mufasa) died after having been hit by the herd of wildebeests, he was advised by Scar (his uncle) to leave his father’s kingdom and never to come back since Scar made Simba believe that Mufasa’s death was his fault.

Simba left the kingdom with a heavy feeling of guilt, consequently losing his own identity and self-confidence. He had also lost his primary reference point in life, his father, who taught him everything about life on the savannah, and the natural order of the “Circle of Life” that had to be respected to make everything function harmoniously.

Simba was supposed to be the next king of the savannah, but he didn’t feel confident to come back and reign over the animal kingdom. He also didn’t feel worthy of the king role he was destined to have because his true identity had been taken away.

Only when he meets Rafiki (that holds the position of wise mentor), he goes through a forest (his subconscious mind) and arrives at a small pool (his subconscious self-image) where Mufasa appears again in the form of a reflection. Then, Simba gets into a trance-like state where he has the vision of his father taking the nebulous form of a cloud that tells him, “remember who you are.”

The trance state is so deep that Simba is shocked by his vision and realizes who he really is along with his role in the circle of life. He thus gets back his self-worth and self-confidence, along with the drive to come back to the animal kingdom to bring the order back again.

As you can see, this cartoon that is destined to children, holds so many truths that we adults can benefit from as well.

My Struggle With Low Self-Esteem

In my personal experience, I also had periods of time where I lost my identity and struggled with my own self-worth. An example was after I had been bullied during my teenage years,

I didn’t feel worthy anymore to succeed, and I sabotaged myself many times on various occasions, especially with women as I didn’t feel enough for their attention and love. Then, I realized that I had let those bullies take control of my self-worth that was indeed intact before being insulted. 

I had allowed the bullies to transfer their problems onto me, just like Scar influenced Simba because of how much he hated himself and his life. As soon as I got this awareness, I started to gain my power back because I knew that deep within me, I had so much potential to express. That was my story, but this post is for you, so it’s time to talk about how you can raise your self-esteem.

Here are the 3 steps you can apply from today to build your self esteem:

1. Remember Who You Are

Remember who you are. Remember your true identity that might have been stolen from you from somebody else as it happened to Simba in The Lion King or to me after having been bullied. 

To understand this, you can ask yourself the following questions: Who are you at your best moments? Who are you when nobody’s watching? Which kind of person are you deep within?

2. Acknowledge Your Strengths

Only by knowing what your strengths are, you can leverage them to reach the goals you really care about faster and more effectively. Everybody has some strengths; we just need to have enough self-awareness to understand what those strengths are and use them to our advantage.

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” – Arnold Schwarzenegger

3. Acknowledge Your Weaknesses

You also need to know what your weaknesses are because we all have vulnerabilities and unless we spot, acknowledge, and accept them, we can’t really unleash our full self-acceptance. 

That’s true because our weaknesses are what make us imperfect and thus humans. Moreover, the acceptance of your weaknesses is another way to raise your self-esteem and to get help from other people that can complement your shortcomings with their strengths.

To conclude, your self-esteem levels will highly determine how successful you’ll become in any area of your life. Everybody has to find his or her worth and confidence within, and unless you see it for yourself, nobody will ever be able to give it to you as that’s something that even the richest man in the world can’t buy with his billions.

Self-esteem must be cultivated consistently and, if you do this, then a tremendous amount of self-confidence and self-respect will be naturally brought to you.

How do you cultivate your own self-esteem so you remain strong and level-headed? Share your thoughts with us below!

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Life

How to Harness the Power of Your Personal Narrative

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Are you “living up” or “living down” to your personal narrative? When you set out to achieve an important goal, you’ll come face-to-face with many obstacles, such as starting a new business and not having your prospects reply to your prospecting emails. Perhaps you’ve had an interview for a new job and learned you didn’t make the final round of applicants. 

In those difficult moments, you have to have an internal conversation with yourself, known as self-talk. What do you say? How do you feel? You may find yourself succumbing to negativity or failing to believe in your own self-worth. If so, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’re all easily overwhelmed by our doubts and fears, because it’s what makes us human.

However, these feelings can not only shape a sense of identity, but also allow our doubt and fear to determine the outcome. When this happens, it’s vital to understand how to have the courage and conviction to move forward despite the obstacles. This includes moving forward in the midst of struggling, even when success seems lightyears away. This may seem daunting, but the answer is right in front of us. It lies in our personal narrative.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

What is a personal narrative?

A personal narrative is a life-script that is often followed without question or protest. The conversations you have internally, known as self-talk, make up the core component to our personal narrative. Your self talk represents a powerful belief system that’s baked into our day-to-day existence.

Each of us possess a personal narrative that encompasses a belief system that shapes us and what we see as possible in our lives. As a result, we either ​live up or ​live down to that personal narrative.

While a personal narrative is the starting place, it’s a powerful one. On one hand, when a negative narrative becomes suffocating, it can be hard to escape. This will lead you to foster the belief that you’re incapable of accomplishing something, ensuring that you’ll be less likely to continue to take the necessary steps in the direction of a dream

Your narrative may be so powerful that you may just assume the worst, ending any possibility for you to put in the necessary time, effort and perseverance required to achieve a different outcome.

“The inner speech, your thoughts, can cause you to be rich or poor, loved or unloved, happy or unhappy, attractive or unattractive, powerful or weak.” – Ralph Charell

Cultivating positive narratives

On the other hand, what if we possessed personal narratives that were more positive? This  is not just positive thinking, because it is the practice of consciously cultivating a narrative that you could live up to instead​. Imagine how a more positive narrative could support more preferable outcomes.

In life, this may sound like, “I plan to do well in this interview, so I am going to take every action to support that expectation – like working with a career coach.” Or it may sound like, “Because I am someone who tries hard even when I am overwhelmed or uncomfortable, I am going to ask for help if I feel stuck.” That way, when a challenge arises – as they always do, you will grow to trust in your ability to navigate it.

The more you practice this, the more you will come to realize that your personal narrative really represents the essence of who you are. Your self-talk will evolve into someone who plans to do well during an interview, a business meeting, or a workout class because you become someone who invests in their personal well-being as an extension of your self-concept.

Cultivating positive narratives is not a what-if situation. It is an intentional practice that everyone can benefit from. It provides the framework for who you can become. Most importantly, it’s the key to help us transform into the best version of ourselves, while defending our dreams against a spiral of fear or self-doubt.

So, what does your personal narrative sound like? And how can you live up to it? Share with us below!

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5 Reasons It’s Important to Understand What You Want to Do With Your Life

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No matter your age or your place in life, it is perfectly normal to not know exactly what your next steps should be. There are many factors that can contribute to this situation but it is always important to remember that everything happens for a reason and that this will help you build a much happier you.

There are many ways for you to understand what you should be doing with your life and there are just as many reasons why you should work towards getting a better understanding of those reasons.

If you wish to turn any situation around and start working towards finding your purpose, here are some of the most important reasons why:

1. You will be able to set long term goals for the future

Setting long term goals is one of the things that will help you feel more secure and certain about your future. Instead of relying on living day by day and trying to figure out what your next steps will be without having a future ultimate goal, you will now be able to plan accordingly so that your every step will bring you a step closer to making that dream come true.

One of the things many people forget though is that every plan, no matter how well-organized and planned out it is, will need to be adapted to every situation the person is experiencing. Knowing what your ultimate goal is will help you handle every change of plans with more confidence and will allow you to manoeuvre every situation and turn your problems into positive outcomes.

2. You will get rid of a lot of anxiety

One of the best things about finally getting a better understanding of what you wish to do with your life is that you will finally start feeling less anxious and unsure about the future. Having a certain plan you can follow and looking forward to making a big goal come true will help rid yourself of negative thoughts and allow you to be able to focus on achieving your dreams.

Anxiety is a very common problem in the time we live in and it can make a lot of people feel less productive and scared to take risks, especially in a professional manner. As a result, they tend to hold themselves back and do fewer things than they are capable of, simply because they are too scared to dare.

Realizing what you wish to do in your life and working towards achieving your goals will help you feel less stressed and even if you do, this type of anxiety could actually help you be much more productive and eager to do your best in order to make your dreams manifest into reality.

3. You will be much happier

Understanding what you wish to do in your life will truly help you finally figure out what you are meant to do in your life. For some people, it can help them find their purpose and give them a new perspective on everything they do in their everyday life.

This will help you feel a lot happier and will put your mind at ease, as you won’t have to continue wondering if the path you have chosen to follow is the right one for you or not. Feeling more certain of your decisions will help you feel a lot more confident and happier since you will feel strong enough to overcome anything that might come your way from now and on.

4. You won’t lose time or energy on smaller goals

Setting shorter goals without knowing what you are meant to do in the long run will cost you a lot of energy and time. This will happen as you will spend a lot of time planning out your every move and it will cause you to feel stressed and worried about every little thing going wrong.

Smaller goals will still be important but you won’t spend much time planning them as you would if you didn’t know what your end goal would be. Saving energy and preparing both mentally and physically for reaching your goal will help you achieve a much healthier outlook on dealing with everyday situations and it will make you more excited to complete your ambitions.

5. You will become an expert in one field

Last but not least, another important reason why you should try and understand exactly what you are meant to do in your life is that you will be able to focus all of your time and energy on learning as much as possible and growing only in one certain field.

The uncertainty of having a set goal for your future can make you feel like you need to know many different things in different fields in order to be able to succeed in life and make a living. While having knowledge in various fields is something that will prove to be useful, you will never fully be able to become an expert in one field and make a name for yourself in that sector.

A long term goal will allow you to either study or work full time on one subject you truly enjoy and are good at. This will help you build your reputation, make connections and allow yourself to enjoy and love the path you have chosen even more. As a result, you will be much happier and content with the end goal you have chosen and you will be able to work even harder to achieve all of your dreams.

Working towards a happier you

You might be at a point in your life where you feel like not a lot of things are truly worth your time but the truth is that every little thing you do will help you find what you are meant to do. This will help you feel happy and content and allow you to tackle every issue you come across with much less anxiety and fear.

You will find a lot of stability and comfort in setting a big and important goal for your future and this will allow you to start being more productive and happy to tackle every problem that might come your way. Your life will always be full of surprises and unplanned events but hard work and dedication on your goals will allow you to become the best version of you and enjoy every step of the way.

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Life

3 Ways to Stay Strong and Push Through When Hardships Arise

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We all have trials and tribulations, and most times they are out of our control. I believe that’s why it can be so frustrating when trouble arises, because we feel powerless. But this isn’t true! How we perceive these times gives us power, and will ultimately dictate the quality of our lives.

Each event can have many interpretations. You can ask two people about a situation they both went through, and sometimes you’ll get two completely different answers! Most times this isn’t because one was being truthful and the other wasn’t, but because of how they perceived the events that took place.

That’s how powerful perceptions are, so why not use this power to our benefit? Instead of thinking on what was lost, think of what there is to gain. When you think positively, it helps you from not feeling stuck, and helps you look towards the future. 

Below are three things to consider whenever a hardship comes your way:

1. This is an opportunity for me to grow

Viewing troubling times as an opportunity to improve and grow will give you a sense of freedom and happiness because you’ve decided to lead your life, as opposed to just accepting your life. Some people just accept the things that happen to them/around them. When you have this mindset, you are telling yourself there is nothing you can do in that situation, and you are giving away your power.

This will affect not only your mood, but also the people around you, especially if you’re a leader. They feed off your energy and body language. When you focus on growth, you can think more clearly on solutions, which is what you want. It’s ok to feel sad, frustrated, or confused. If you want to be successful, you will feel all of these, and quite often. When you do, recognize what your feeling, but don’t feed it. If you do, it will grow.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn

2. Don’t focus on the problem, find the solution

This sounds pretty simple but how many of us focus more energy on the problem and why it happened or who did it, instead of trying to focus immediately on the solution? I learned this in the military. If something goes wrong, my superiors were less concerned with who did it and more concerned with finding a solution to the problem, and as quickly as possible.

But I was once guilty of this thinking, and sometimes I slip back into that mode of thinking when my emotions are strong. Changing your mindset to focus on solutions will give you a sense of power, which will calm you, because you feel in control. This in turn, will help you think clearly and rationally, as opposed to emotionally. Furthermore, being in a more relaxed state of mind will allow you to absorb information more clearly so you can learn from the incident and become a better you.

3. Determine how the hardship improves your character

What was being tested during your hardship? Patience? Empathy? Communication? Understanding? Endurance? I remember working for a boss I did not like. He seemed to pick on me, and I couldn’t understand it. I went above and beyond what was asked of me, but people were still being promoted quicker than I was.

To give a little depth on my perception at the time, I was born and raised in Brooklyn NY. Not poor, but close to it. So respect is something that is valued greatly in neighborhoods I come from, because we don’t have much else. Respect was your money, and could get you things money couldn’t buy.

Now everyone wants respect, but me, I need it that much more. So when I felt he wasn’t giving me respect, I almost convinced myself to handle these matters. Imagine the people you train, passing you by and you know their work ethic doesn’t match yours. It sucked.

I talked to my dad, who always gives great council, and he told me it wouldn’t be wise. He told me to look for ways to grow, and I did. And let me tell you, during that time I learned things that cannot be taught in classrooms because you can only be learned through experience. My endurance was really challenged, but made me wiser and stronger, which made me better equipped to deal with future troubles I’d have. Because of those lessons, I was able to teach others about my experience and give wise counsel.

“Lead a life of your own design, on your own terms. Not one that others or the environment have scripted for you.” – Tony Robbins

When those times come, ask yourself where you’re weak and what you can you do to improve on that weakness. Finding something you’re not good at should make you happy, because it gives you a chance to improve! If you suck at something, do something about it! Don’t wallow in self-pity. It’s not a fruitful exercise.

When hardships come your way, your perception is a powerful weapon that you must manipulate, don’t let it manipulate you. Ask yourself how can this help you grow, what positive opportunity is hidden in the hardship and focus on the solution, not the problem. Doing these things will put the power back in your court. Give it a shot, it changed my life!

How do you keep your head up high when hardships arise? Share your thoughts and advice down below!

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