We can strive to become our ideal selves but what is the point in putting in all the effort if there is no bigger purpose beyond ourselves? It’s like continually trying to climb up a mountain without ever reaching the peak where we mindlessly create and achieve goals without fulfilling a meaningful purpose.
What is the Purpose of Life?
Throughout the course of history, people have approached and attempted to answer the question, “what’s the purpose of life?” but since the topic is highly subjective, researchers have reframed the question as “what is the purpose in life?” (Pisca & Feldman, 2009). The former implies that there are few objective standards that everyone aims to live for while the latter implies that there is subjective quality to finding one’s purpose in life. One of the most prominent theories in finding this purpose is Vicktor Frankl’s “logotherapy”.
“According to logotherapy, we can discover this meaning in life in three different ways: (1) by creating a work or doing a deed; (2) by experiencing something or encountering someone; and (3) by the attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering” (Frankl, 2006, p. 81).
So, What Does This Mean?
First, using your talents and skills to create something or to do something can give purpose. Second, experiencing the positive and wonderful things that life and humanity has to offer, especially that of love, can bring purpose. “No one can become fully aware of the very essence of another human being unless he loves him…he sees that which is potential in him, which is not yet actualized but yet ought to be actualized” (Ibid.). Third, challenging ourselves and changing our mindsets in the face of struggle can provide purpose. Suffering forces, us to observe the “uniquely human potential at its best, which is to transform a personal tragedy into a triumph, to turn one’s predicament into a human achievement. When we are no longer able to change a situation…we are challenged to change ourselves (Ibid.).
Gaining a bigger purpose in life is not limited to the religious or spiritual realm. It has much to do with actualizing our unique sets of perspectives, skills, tools, and experiences into developing our own gifts to share with the world. Without sharing and combining our individual skillsets, most of the modern advances that make our lives easier would have never come into existence.
Thoughts for the Week
We all have at least one special gift or talent that we are very passionate about.
- What is yours?
- Share it with someone.