Purpose is defined as a sense of knowing that your life has meaning, importance, and value. Living and knowing your purpose in life mean that you believe your life, your work, and your contribution (will) make a positive impact on the life of others. Living with purpose means you are committed to serving society in a positive way.
A life with a purpose (and passion) is a life well-lived. Take David Davey for example. Dave, then 12-years-old, was struck with polio during the epidemic of the 1940s. (At the time, polio was known by the dread name of Infantile Paralysis.) He was fortunate he survived but the disease took away the strength of his legs. He was confined to the wheelchair for the rest of his life.
Nevertheless, he saw past the wheelchair – and his disability and was determined to lead a pretty normal life. Thanks to his mother’s persistence, he was allowed to complete his junior and senior years at a regular high school. (He had attended a special school for handicapped children.) He became a member of the Honor Society and was elected president of his senior class. He later went to Wayne State University (WSU) to study Accounting (as it was an accepted belief that occupants of wheelchairs, with a college education, would want to make a living as an accountant) but later switched his major to Business Administration.
Inspired by his conversation with a roommate who also happened to be a polio survivor, Dave recognized his purpose in life: to improve the health and wellbeing of people with disabilities. He and his roommate would often discuss services and equipment they would like to see available to wheelchair users and shared dreams about making a difference in “their” world. They both believed God has spared them and put them together at WSU for a reason, which was to encourage each other to fulfill God’s purpose in their lives. They were confident that God would give them the ability to help people receive the tools to allow them to succeed.
Dave believed it was his destiny to make life easier for individuals with handicaps and help them obtain opportunities to make a decent living. He knew this was only possible if they could obtain jobs they were capable of doing. He felt God would help him to educate the public that people with handicaps should also have the same opportunity. He was convinced that God wanted him to make a difference by developing rehabilitation programs to deal with the real needs of the differently-abled.
Dave spent the rest of his life fulfilling that purpose. He was concerned for anyone whose life circumstances prevent them from working a conventional job and living a normal life. In doing so, he made a difference in the lives of most people.
I share Dave’s story to illustrate an example of living a life with purpose and demonstrate the good a life with purpose could do to an imperfect world. A life with a purpose is indeed a life well-lived.
Knowing your purpose in life creates a sense of meaning in your life. You know what your gifts are, what you need to do, and how you can contribute to your community. When you know your purpose in life, you’ll find it easier to focus on what matters the most in your life. You’ll be able to find your direction and stay away from distractions. You’ll also become more confident because you know that you’re here in this life for a reason and that your contribution to society counts.
By knowing your purpose in life, you’ll also achieve a sense of place or belonging in your environment or community that you benefit from connecting with. It’s easier to know where you belong when you know and live your purpose in life. You know what good you could do to the community you belong to. Living and knowing your purpose in life is the heart of service. Service is the path to become meaningful to your community.
Above all, knowing your purpose in life allows you to have a much greater impact on society. Your purpose allows you to have the most profound impact but only if you actually live it. Find your purpose today and help contribute to a better society.