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Finding Meaning and Purpose in the Things You Do

Updated on March 16, 2013

How Do You Fill Your Days?

Attitude and gratitude play a role in the meaning and purpose we give the things we do.
Attitude and gratitude play a role in the meaning and purpose we give the things we do. | Source

Seeking Meaningfulness

We seek success and importance, significance, and happiness from the things we do.. To each of us, these have a different and personal meaning and motivation, yet they are universally intrinsically desired.

Feeling significant has a great deal with knowing that we are valuable to others and our lives have a sense of meaning.

Look at where you have been, and what part of your past has led you to where you are today. What are your beliefs and values? Who are you, and what do you have to offer and can share with others? What are your strengths and achievements that you can build upon and further develop? Where do you want to go? What vision do you have for yourself and why?

We find meaning in relationships. Intimacy and a sense of belonging are basic human needs. We are social creatures and we need relationships to help us develop and grow. Relationships reflect a lot about our identities. Spirituality and religious connections help us gain an understanding that transcends beyond ourselves. Through spirituality we gain inspiration, and gratitude, with the awareness that there is more to our world than ourselves. It encourages ourselves to push beyond the limits and become more than who we are.

To strive for personal growth, pursuing our passions and doing what we love is an important aspect of giving our lives meaning and purpose. All aspects of our lives affect this, from our career and hobbies, to our everyday activities. When we use our talents, skills and strengths, we make a difference and can begin to tap into our potential and expand beyond what is our comfort zone. We learn by doing and by doing new things we grow.

Having a Purpose

Having a purpose in our lives helps make a sense of our world and give us confidence to deal with the obstacles and pleasures we encounter. A meaningful life helps us achieve greater health and happiness and become more involved in the things we do, which give us greater satisfaction and control in our lives. Passion and enthusiasm are keys to your personal development.

How we spend our time, what we do, does matter to ourselves. When we do things that has purpose and meaning, it has an effect on what matters to us. It can make the difference in having a spring in our step and waking up excited to start the day.

Gratitude and mindfulness, and the meaning from the things we do has been studied by science for decades.
Showing compassion - in a study done at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Daryl Cameron and Keith Payne instructed people to hold back their feelings of empathy when looking at images that tugged at their hearts. There seemed to be a correlation between regulating emotions the importance of moral values. Selfishness, lacking compassion and how we feel about ourselves has something to do with our morality and prosocial behavior The less connected people are to others, the less compassion they show.

In a study done at the UC Berkeley by Cameron Anderson and Keltner showed that happiness is achieved, not by money, but by the respect and admiration that we get from our colleagues and peers. It is known as sociometric status as opposed to socioeconomic status. People who are held in high status within their group were happier than people who were had higher socioeconomic status. When people feel like they are valuable and able to contribute to the group they belong to, they feel more self satisfaction and happiness.

Tips for Adding Meaning and Purpose

Some tips on how to add meaning and purpose to your life
Some tips on how to add meaning and purpose to your life | Source

How to Find Meaning and Purpose in the Things You Do

Here are a few tips to finding meaning in your actions:

  • Become self aware
  • Ask yourself what is important to you
  • Spend time with the people and pets you love
  • Do what you love, go after your passions.
  • Discover your purpose
  • Forgive yourself
  • Take care of yourself
  • Be kind to others
  • Avoid multitasking
  • Aim for a target
  • Focus your energy
  • Spend time to nurture your dreams
  • Pay it forward
  • Simplify things

Helpful Tips to Gain a Purposeful Life

Become self aware- Being mindful or your actions and your actions will help you stay on the course you want for yourself. What are your values and your principles? What are your interests, your skills, your passions? What are your beliefs and your perspective about the world around you? Look at your own actions and behavior. What do you find yourself doing? What occupies your thoughts? What do you envision for yourself?

Being self aware will help you understand yourself better and help you learn what motivates you, and why you make the choices you do..Self awareness will help you understand your strengths and weaknesses. Self reflection leads to improved self awareness.

Ask yourself what is important to you - How do you want to live your life? What are the main things that are your priority. It might be family, it might be living a life of simplicity, it might be to see the world, it might be to write a book. Only you know what is important to you . Live your life the way you want to and for yourself, not to please someone else.

Spend time with the people and pets you love - Sometimes we get preoccupied with our work. Sometimes we get caught up in material things. But it is people and our pets that really matter. The relationships we have matter and add meaning to our lives.

Do what you love, go after your passions - Passion is a strong emotion. When we do what we love, we give our lives a purpose. Passion creates a joy within us that motivates us to do more, and to do it more intensely. Some people can be passionate about their work. Even if you don’t love what you do, you can find your passion in your leisure time and still find pleasure in your day.

Discover your purpose - Only you know how to channel your talents and skills to give meaning to how you spend your time. By knowing what you are about, your principles, your values, your greater vision, you will know the true meaning of why you want do what you do. You are unique and special and you have a gift to give to others. There are deep and satisfying reasons each of us attribute to our purpose in being.

  • Some of us are creative and find their purpose through their creativity.
  • Some of us find meaning in their relationships with others.
  • Some of us find meaning in helping others.
  • Some of us gain a purpose from their achievements.
  • Some of us find meaning in competition and surpassing themselves or others, and in new challenges.
  • Some of us find meaning in new opportunities, new possibilities, new discoveries
  • Some of us find meaning in personal growth and knowledge.
  • Some of us find meaning in relating to others, through humor, empathy, in bonding

Forgive yourself - By setting yourself free from your past and finding closure in things that have happened you will open yourself up to new opportunities and find more purpose in th thing you do. By being compassionate towards yourself you show compassion towards others, which has its own rewards.

Take care of yourself - Self care is important because you count too. In order to help others you need to take care of yourself. Getting enough rest will help you find the energy to accomplish thing that are important to you. Take the time to appreciate what you have. Gratitude helps you keep the right attitude. It is your attitude that helps you find meaning in the things you choose to do.

Be kind to others - Helping others can be very rewarding. Kindness comes from real feelings for concern for others instead of concern for oneself.

Avoid multitasking - When we try to do too much at once, we use our energy on many things, and can actually stress ourselves out. When we dedicate ourselves to one thing, we will be more successful. Being more successful helps us feel more joy, pleasure, and satisfaction in the things we do. Our energy becomes focused, and we gain an inner drive to work hard and do things well.

Aim for a target - Mig towards a purpose you ake a short list of things you want to accomplish in the short term and long term. Achievements add fulfillment and meaning to the things we do.

Spend time to nurture your dreams - Take time in the course of a day to dream and believe in your dreams. If they are realistic you will be able to achieve them. Honor yourself by honoring your dreams. The pursuit of achieving meaning in the things you do will come from doing the things you can see yourself doing.

Pay it forward - Doing good by giving back is extremely rewarding. When we give back we find purpose in the things we do. It feels good to help others and bolsters our own success.

Simplify things - Doing with less can actually reduce your stress and make your life easier. Your productivity will improve and in your efforts you will find greater meaning and purpose

Purpose and Meaning

How we think affects what we do.
How we think affects what we do. | Source

What Do You Want?

No one can really tell you how to find meaning in your life. It can come from the smallest of things we do that have big and lasting impacts. But it always come when you are true to yourself and others. It comes from a sense of knowing who we are, not in the identity we give ourselves from our work, or from doing as others have told us. It comes from knowing that what we do does make a difference. It comes from aligning our beliefs and actions with what we really want. There is meaning and fulfillment, purpose and satisfaction in the things you do.


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