Some lucky people seem to have been born with a greater purpose in life while the rest of us are left to search for ours.
Umair Haque, director of Havas Media Labs, thinks the problem may be that we’re looking so hard. Instead, he suggests four ways we can approach the world.
- Ditch the cool facade and feel the love. Instead of feeling and expressing real love, we use weaker substitutes such as “passion,” “dreams” or “bucket lists.” These days, we’re more likely to feel the opposite of love—hate, anger, fear and envy—but purpose is a form of love, real love.
- Feel the pain of heartbreak. Part of our modern-day cool facade involves insulating ourselves against everything that could cause an emotional ache or pain. To open yourself back up to feeling, you need to immerse yourself in some things that make you ache and maybe break your heart.
- Drive through life NASCAR style. Most people approach life like a Formula One race, trying to drive the cleanest laps to achieve the fastest time. People who find true purpose and fulfillment, though, take a NASCAR approach, where hits and scrapes are part of the experience. You have to be willing to take hits, fail, start over and keep going.
- Seek forests, not fireworks. Fireworks are exciting, but they just spark, flare and fizzle in a matter of seconds. Purpose and the love it takes to achieve it come from a calmer, slower process akin to the growth of a great forest. As you go through that life, you will be bruised, scarred and hurt, but if you’re lucky, purpose will find you and redeem you from the void of an empty and unfulfilling life.
— Adapted from “How to Let Your Purpose Find You,” Umair Haque, Harvard Business Review.