*This blog is a participant Amazon Affiliates Program and this post may contain affiliate links! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases at no cost to you*
We often hear about finding our purpose in life or following our North star. But, what does this mean in the grand scheme of things, and how can you apply it to your own life?
At Lifehack and Lifehack academy, we stress the value of discovering your purpose as the backbone of living a successful and happy life. And for an important reason! Your purpose determines everything you do in your life and is the main driver of your actions. It is something for you to aim towards that brings you excitement and passion. It can be as simple as: “I want to help people”, or, “…to visit as many countries in the world as possible.”
The benefit of having a purpose is so you know which direction you’re heading, which will make it far easier for you to actually get there! It’s good to think of it as a North star because it can be your guide. Imagine if you are simply driving around aimlessly with no destination in mind. This can be rather fun and exciting in the short term, but in the long term, it can present a variety of issues–and questions. Eventually, you’ll need to stop and refuel, but where will you be?
Just as you drive your car, you drive your own life. It’s important to know where you are going, so you know the stops to make along the way (or at least whether you’re in the right neighborhood!). These stops are individual goals that can be set that help you make progress towards your North star.
For example, if someone’s North star is to travel to as many countries as he can over his lifetime, he would likely need to set several individual bigger goals to accomplish this.
1) Obtain a job where he can work remotely from anywhere in the world
2) Save money for travel
3) Create a general overview and budget of travel plans in 5-year increments
These bigger goals can each be broken down into smaller goals, and those into smaller goals–the key is to simply make progress towards your main goal, which will then help you make progress towards your North Star.
Having a purpose can be the first step to living the life you really want to live.
Once you’ve discovered your North star, you can plan your journey to get there. By doing this, you will lessen the fear of the unknown and set yourself up for success with reaching your goals. It’s the difference between driving aimlessly and winding up in the middle of nowhere and out of gas, versus knowing exactly where you’d like to be and planning accordingly to get there.
Your purpose can also provide meaning to your life by bringing you a definite sense of accomplishment and satisfaction. This will help your fears diminish and give you a sense of courage and strength.
It can also help extend your lifespan.
There was an 8-year study of older adults, and researchers found that those with a purpose lived longer on average. Professor Andrew Steptoe, Director of the UCL Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care, states:
“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.”
Another benefit of having a North star is that you’ll become a time management master. Let’s break down how this works in a relatable example.
Say that you’ve discovered your North star was to work as a children’s Psychologist.
This calling would be your main goal, but to get there, you’d have to accomplish several smaller goals. These would be goals such as:
- Finding a college degree program to enroll in
- Finding the funding to pay for your degree
- Transitioning or modifying your current commitments
- Starting your coursework
- Completing an internship
- Graduating from your University/Obtaining Your Degree
- Looking for work
- Starting your first job
- Earning your licensure
- Opening your own private practice
As you can see, this is an ideal roadmap to accomplish your main goal, or North star, as it breaks down the needed steps into smaller steps, which are much easier to deal with than a larger goal all at once.
Time is a very limited resource for all of us. Once it’s gone, we cannot get it back. With a purpose or North star, you’ll become so much more in tune with time management because it will drive you to take very specific steps in a specific order. And unlike an individual who is drifting along aimlessly through life, you’ll have a concrete roadmap to help you along the way.
Of course, no journey is perfect, and you will hit obstacles along the way. This is okay! In fact, these obstacles can provide amazing opportunities that you may have never before considered. A purpose or North star will give you a reason to maintain a positive attitude and overcome obstacles that you’ll inevitably run into along the way.
It’s all about your mindset.
If you have a positive mindset about obstacles, you will be better equipped to rise up from a challenge, rather than stay stuck in it.
Instead of looking at an obstacle and saying: “This has gotten in my way, so I can’t move forward.”, say, “This obstacle is detouring me in a slightly different direction, but I will still get there.” While taking the detour, you may find a more scenic and exciting path!
To successfully reach your goals, you must embrace all obstacles that come your way and accept and believe that they will help you to grow and mature and become stronger and more resilient in life.
Remember, our time is limited and life is too short to be drifting around aimlessly. Decide what’s important to you and go after it! It is absolutely possible to live a totally fulfilling life, and it all starts with discovering your true purpose, or North Star, and not backing down when an obstacle gets in your way.
With a solid sense of purpose and direction, you’ll feel happier and more confident as you’ll know where you’re headed. With a positive and open mind, you’ll begin to enjoy your life’s journey so much more–and fall in love with the opportunities you’ll enjoy along the way.
By Leon Ho