Finding Purpose: 5 Practical Suggestions You Can Do Today

Work doesn’t give you purpose. You give meaning to work.

“The purpose of life is not to be happy, but to matter…” Leo Rostein

Contribution makes you matter. Seek to contribute.

The affirmation of your contribution by others enhances fulfillment.

Finding purpose includes understanding your response to pain and suffering. Image of a Jack Russell in a round frame.


  1. Energizes action.
  2. Ignites emotion, sometimes painful.
  3. Makes life challenging. Life doesn’t get easier when you know why you’re here.
  4. Gives direction.
  5. Informs and evaluates decisions.
  6. Brings value to you and others.
  7. Explains intention. An intention provides a reason to act.
  8. Enables endurance.
  9. Creates dissatisfaction.
  10. Makes life feel like you’re always beginning. You never fully fulfil your aim in life.

5 Suggestions for finding purpose:

#1. Reflect on painful experiences.

Finding purpose includes understanding your response to pain and suffering. What pain are you solving?

How are you turning hurts into healing?

#2. Consider reasons behind recurring frustration.

Frustrations reveal something you want but don’t have. Finding purpose is understanding what you deeply want.

What pain or injustice or unhappiness have you witnessed that you just can’t live with?

List your dissatisfactions with others, yourself, and the world. What themes do you see?

#3. Explore your formative people.

Who are you emulating?

#4. Notice motivation.

What are you willing to do for free? What value does that bring to you? Others?

#5. Discover the value you naturally bring to others.

What do you do without trying? All my life people have told me I make them think. I don’t try to make them think. I just do.

What are you doing that feels like effortless effort?

What do people often say about you?

Contribution is about who you are before it’s about what you do.

What might people do to find or clarify their purpose?

Still curious: Who Do You Want to be When You Grow Old