What do you want out of life?
What is your purpose for living?
What really puts your heart on fire? When do you feel the most enthusiastic? When do you feel the more alive? When do you feel the most useful, purposeful, and helpful?
What do you want out of life?
“Happiness” can be a distraction
I think the first biggest mistake we make in life is focusing on being “happy.”
To be “happy” is to have dopamine and seratonin flowing into your brain— hormones and chemicals that put you in an elated mood. We often feel these “feel good” hormones in our brain when we make money, when we have sex, when we take drugs, drive in a fast car, or play video games.
But this feeling of “pleasure” is a fleeting sensation. It fades. We get used to it. Psychologists call this “hedonic adaptation” — we get used to a new lifestyle, new fancy food, new fancy gadgets, and pleasures. But we always want more, and are never satisfied.
What we want to do is to do meaningful and purposeful work in life — not to just seek “happiness” and “pleasure.”
What is meaningful?
To do work that is “meaningful” means to put the needs of others above your own. To do “purposeful” work means to do work that has a greater purpose — to help empower others, and humanity as a whole.
Of course you need to fulfill your own basic needs before going off and empowering others. You need to feed yourself, pay your rent, and pay your living expenses.
But is the purpose of life to travel the world, see exotic things, make nice photos, and “culture” and educate yourself for the sake of it? I don’t think so.
Traveling, learning, and building your mind is beneficial when your ultimate aim is to teach others. To share this information with others— to empower others.
Ask yourself “why” three times
Most of us live miserable lives. We are stuck in jobs we hate, we do work we aren’t passionate about, and we think that “happiness” in life is to travel the world, pursue what we love, and to make an impact in the world.
My suggestion to finding what your purpose in life is to ask yourself the “why” question 3 times.
For example, ask yourself, “Why do I want to travel the world?”
- To see new things
- To expand my mind
- To not be biased by just one way of thinking
- To hopefully share the truth of reality with others
So perhaps the goal isn’t to travel and see the world— but to discover the “truth” of reality, and share it with others (which can be achieved by searching within yourself, and reaching philosophy, and not going on a plane).
Another example: “Why do I want to earn more money?”
- To have more financial cushion in my life
- So I am not stressed or anxious anymore
- Because when I am stressed and anxious, I feel miserable, and can’t be creative
- Because I am a stressed out, fearful, and anxious person
So perhaps the solution isn’t to try to earn more money, but to address your own stress, anxieties, and fears in life. Because you can earn a billion a year, and still feel anxious and that your money isn’t “enough.”
The most difficult question
What do you really want out of life? Really ask yourself this question, and write down the answer somewhere. Find the core of what you want— often the steps to get there are just distractions.
How can you “leapfrog” past your certain barriers in life, to achieve and do what you were designed to do?
I don’t have any answers, it is something you need to pour your entire energy into figuring out — and working everyday towards your goal in life.
Then once you’ve figured it out, put aside all distractions, and race towards the finish.
Read more: Philosophy >