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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.

Having been listed as Business Week's #4 "Top 24 Young Asian Entrepreneurs," Leon Ho is the Founder and CEO of Lifehack - a productivity blog he started in 2005. He has grown Lifehack into one of the most read self-improvement websites in the world - with over 12 million monthly readers. Grab his latest book The Full Life Essential Guide here.

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