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What is our purpose in life?

It’s a BIG question and possibly an anxiety-inducing one. Looking at it from a detached perspective, finding one’s purpose just might be one of humankind’s greatest needs. We cannot accept that we’re just a hunk of flesh wandering around this planet. There has to be some reason we’re here, right?

Fortunately, the answer to that is “yes”.

Better than that, the purpose we’re looking for is entirely up to us.

I don’t know if that idea is comforting or disappointing. When we think of “purpose”, we often feel that it’s written somewhere, it’s destined, it’s pre-determined. And to understand what we’re made for, we have to find that parchment where our purpose is written.

I’d like to think of purpose as a product we’re designing.

We are beings that grow, mature, and change like the seasons. Thus, depending on where we are in our lives, our purpose changes.

Initially, we may have a lot of ideas about what products we want to make. We brainstorm and ideate for all of them. Then, we envision what these products would look like and create a prototype for them. We might ask for the feedback and inputs of others. From those, we go back to the drawing board – ideate, prototype, test. Until we make the product we’ve always wanted.

Just like our purpose.

We might have different visions of what we want to be, different professions that we can become. As we craft our own purpose, we try different things, or maybe learn from people ahead of us. We test the waters, see if we fit, see if that path in life is suitable. If it doesn’t feel right, we learn from it, get back to our drawing board, and try out a different path – a little wiser from our previous experience. Until we designed the purpose that we’ve always wanted.

And it doesn’t have to be one fixed purpose. You might argue that a knife is made for cutting and a pen is made for writing all their lives. But we are not knives, nor pens, nor tools. We are beings that grow, mature, and change like the seasons. Thus, depending on where we are in our lives, our purpose changes.

This is what my current purpose or mission looks like: to empower people and provide opportunities through stories and technology. To give a little breakdown on this:

  • “To empower people…” – I have been in many situations that allowed me to lead. With that, I’d like to think (and hope) that I have the capacity to do so. And I believe that the best thing that a leader can do is to bring out the best in his or her people. To unlock one’s full potential. Not because I owe them or they’re reporting under me. But because I believe that when we work to our full potential, we contribute something to the world.
  • “…and provide opportunities…” – I’m aiming to constantly create something – write a book, create a website, develop a game, write software. And I hope that these things that I create would impact someone. Of course, that impact is something beyond my control. But I can control what I’m creating and I hope to put product/books/software as much as I can.
  • “…through stories and technology” – I am a writer and also work with software. I’d like to think that I can harness those strengths and create something from them.

This is the purpose that I designed for myself and just like I mentioned earlier, I’m constantly thinking about this and checking if it’s still working for me in the current stage of my life (it is, so far). One day, I might be restless again. I might feel that it’s not working for me anymore. Then it’s back again to the drawing board.

Now it’s your turn. Layout those different “products” you have, those visions for yourself that you wish to be. And remember that whatever you do, you only have one why, just like what Simon Sinek said. Don’t wait for the purpose to find you – you are free and more than capable to create your own.

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