Finding purpose - a beginning

In my last post I explored the considerable benefits of developing a sense of purpose in life and work. But knowing about these benefits only takes you so far. The important question remains: how to go about finding purpose?

First the bad news. Finding purpose is not easy, or straightforward. It will take time, and will require you to develop competencies (for example, of self-reflection and assessment) that may be unfamiliar to you. 

Now the good news. It is possible for everyone to connect with a sense of purpose, no matter your background, status, or even stage of life. Also, this may not take as long as you think.

The benefits of developing a sense of purpose

In my last post, I wrote about the increasing attention being paid to purpose by academic psychologists, among others. Why all the interest? 

Let me start with a confession. For many years, I assumed that purpose was a woolly and unscientific concept. I knew how good it felt to have a sense of purpose in my life, but I hesitated to talk about this, especially around my rational, scientifically minded friends. I thought that any discussion of purpose was best left to self-help guides and daytime TV. I was wrong. 

What is purpose?

For millennia, the question of how to find meaning in life and work has been of central importance to philosophers and theologians. More recently, the topic has become of increasing interest to psychologists. A key figure in this move was Viktor Frankl, whose book 'Man's Search for Meaning', I can't recommend highly enough. Frankl, referring to his experience in the Auschwitz labour camp, described the discovery and pursuit of purpose as a key human need. More recently, the field of positive psychology has paid particular attention to purpose, identifying purpose as a central component of human thriving.