Ask Yourself These Questions to Find Meaning and Purpose


Illustration for article titled Ask Yourself These Questions to Find Meaning and Purpose
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One of the many unanticipated aspects of the COVID-19 pandemic has been being forced to (or having the opportunity to—depending on how you see it) reflect on what you want to do with the rest of your life. Maybe you lost your job and want to use this as a chance to figure out what other type of work you might enjoy more. Or maybe you’ve been working more than ever over the past few months, and that has caused you to consider whether that’s really how you want to continue to earn a living.

Of course, it’s not always possible—or even advisable—to “follow your passion” when it comes to finding a job. But it can be useful to figure out what, for you, has meaning and purpose. The result may not necessarily be a career-related epiphany, but it could help you figure out how to bring meaning and purpose to different parts of your life (including your job). Here are two questions to ask yourself to identify the driving forces in your life.

How to find meaning and purpose

The questions come courtesy of Cleo Wade, a community builder, TED speaker and the author of books including Heart Talk The Journal: 52 Weeks of Self-Love, Self-Care, and Self-Discovery, and are found in a post that’s part of TED’s “How to Be a Better Human” series.

First, Wade points out that despite all the pressure, we shouldn’t feel as though we have to identify our one, single “passion” in order to give our lives meaning. This is because, as she puts it: “We are all such multilayered beings with an abundance of gifts, talents, interests, and ideas.” So why limit ourselves?

Next, Wade explains that our passions may shift throughout our lives (which is completely normal), and attempting to focus our time and energy on one single passion may leave us feeling inauthentic and stressed. Instead, she suggests bringing passion and purpose to everything you do, starting by asking yourself these two questions:

What type of kindness, care, joy, and patience must I harness in order to bring purpose and passion to my relationship with myself and those around me?

What level of openness and curiosity must I own in order to bring meaning to jobs and tasks in my life (even, or especially, the roles that don’t spark an immediate sense of excitement within me)?

Once you have a better idea of how you’d like to approach life, you can start applying it at work, at home and when you socialize.