How to find your passion and purpose in life
This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)
What do you want to be when you grow up? As a kid I didn’t know what to answer when people asked me this question. Not at the age of 4 and even years later I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do for the rest of my life (who does that anyway). But it made me think a lot for sure. I already had a feeling, that I needed to find an answer, better yesterday than tomorrow. But at the same time I also had to find out that people wouldn’t let you find it yourself. No, adults are actually trying to head you in a certain direction. I’m pretty sure you’ve all experienced this too, in exactly this or at least in a similar way. Some of them are doing it to realise their own dreams. Others just care (too) much about you. They basically want your best but they think they know it better than you do.
Adults love to keep telling a kid what they think would suit him the best. “You’d make such a good journalist”, they said to me when I had only started my school career. And yes, maybe that wasn’t too wrong. I read and wrote at the age of 4, I loved to learn the alphabet and it didn’t take me long until I finished my first own short story. I was a curious kid with a lot of questions and I decided to go to optional politic classes at school at the age of 12, just because I loved to get to know more about it. I wanted to understand adults. By this time I also started to read the newspaper daily and wanted to watch the news on television every evening. My parents and also my teachers still were impressed by my “style of writing”. It made me happy to know I was good at it, and better than other teenagers at the same age. Basically, that’s how it all started. I began to tell people that I, when I’d be grown up, would love to become a journalist. I didn’t This brings me to the questions for this blog post: Is this really what life is about? The career? Why do we have to know so early what we want to do for living but not what we expect from our lifes? Is this the reason why so many of us are unhappy with what they do?
The purpose of life
I truly believe that every single one of us has a path. We all have that certain purpose in life and we are on this planet to try our best to fulfill it. I’m not (only) talking about careers here. A purpose can be literally anything. Some may be here to create a social change, others to invent a great idea. Some of use were born to be the best parents, others to be a good listener. There are people who write texts, people who love to inspire with photography, people who touch our hearts with their voice when they sing. And none of it is right or wrong. Nothing of these things is better than another. Everyone is different. Everyone has its own gifts and talents.
But how does it come that so many of us still walk through life, feeling numb and desperate? We are looking for that deeper connection, but we aren’t sure how to achieve it. We begin to struggle, we begin to be assailed by doubts. There are people who are telling us that there is no such thing, that this deeper connection doesn’t exist. It is said that we should stay realistic, we should focus on the “real life”. In this case, real life mostly means your job. And if you’re really not happy with that you quit, but only sometimes. Because it is said too, that you have to go through it. “It is normal to have this phase of being uncomfortable at work. It will go away.”
But let’s be honest. If it feels as if something is missing in your life, that’s not something that goes away. Also, it’s not a sign of weakness. Actually I’d even say it’s the first step in the right direction because you’ve started to overthink your daily habits and your goals in life. Maybe you want to make a bigger difference in the world than you feel you are, but you aren’t sure how. If so, this blog post is written for you. It’s written for those people who want to live after their purpose. Not (only) after their jobs and career. For people, who want to find their passion and then, finally be passionate about it.
Feeling insecure and out of position
I know this feeling of being insecure and out of position too well. I was trying hard to find my purpose for a long time. I knew that I love writing and taking pictures. Also, I’ve always wanted to inspire others with my work. Reaching a big audience with what I did was important to me but I struggled with the fact that all the things that I wrote would be just words. Not really personal, very neutral and correct (this is just the style you have to adapt when working as a journalist for a newspaper).
For a lot of years I still was convinced that being a journalist is what I have/wanted to do. At the same time I was at a univeristy I hated (I started studying journalism by that time). Every day I sat there in a lecture, thinking: Why am I here? I don’t want to to this! What I wanted was what others had, those shiny happy people who “just followed their dreams”. I looked up to these people with that thirsty love for life and at the same time I hated them. I hated them for being so balanced and full of energy.
Giving up things you don’t like
After 1 years at this school I was ready for step 1. I knew that I had to find my purpose. But where should I start? I quit my school, that was step number one. My environment immediately started to ask what my plan was now and what this means for my career as a journalist. Honestly, I had no clue. I struggled daily to figure out my purpose, but it wasn’t there. The more I wanted it to be here the more I got confused by myself. I still wanted to write, I wanted take pictures. I’ve loved to reach a bigger audience and inspire people. But it just didn’t feel right to work for those daily news.
Everyone is so different at this point. For me it was the right way first remove the things in my life that I didn’t wanted. It helped me to figure out what I had to start too. After that process of “giving things up” I slowly started to taking steps towards the dreams I wanted to achieve. And guess what: Today I’m happy with what I do. I’ve found my own way to be a writer. I inspire other people through my blog on Instagram and here, on aniahimsa.com. I have the chance to work with and for people with the same passion. I’ve found like-minded friends. It all just feels so right! And yes, from time to time I’m still writing for the newspaper. But it’s my decision if want to do an article or not.
Until here, this post has been quite personal. But I kinda feel like I needed to start from my own story. It would have made no sense to just give you tips about finding your passion and purpose without letting you know from where I come from. I’m not an expert or anything. But I’m a girl who was lost and who is now doing exactly what I want to do. I tried to figure out what helped me to find my path and passion. So I ended up with a list of tips that might help you too:
1) Write down what you love
In life, we don’t often get asked for the things we love. Probably because we are doing so many things we don’t like, every day. Let’s change this. Grab a piece of paper and a pen and write down what you love. Identifying the things you absolutely love to do is the best thing you can do to find your passion. All of the things you enjoy doing are part of your path. Don’t think too much, just start writing. This list can include literally everything: Food, experiences, feelings, travel, people, etc. Once you have your list, take a step back and see how all these points on your paper might connect. And do they mean to you and how could you adapt them to the work you are meant to do on this planet? Be open, don’t think too much. I know I repeat myself by saying this but this only works if you aren’t too focused on the practicability of all these things.
2) Get active
Your life won’t change by only thinking about it. You have to face it and get started. Trust yourself, take the next step. It helped me a lot to tell others about my goals too. By talking to good friends you’re making like a inner promise to yourself. Also ask these people to remind you of your goals and purpose. Ask them to push and motivate you. This will help you get out of your own way.
3) Less head, more heart
This one sounds so cheesy, but it’s true. Your heart is your best tool to access your purpose in life. Start taking steps to do what you love. Go back to the list you’ve created and make sure you do at least one thing every day that takes you into the right direction. When you are inspired and connected to your happy self, it will be so much easier to just go with the flow. You’ll feel energized, inspired and happy.
4) Kill your “babies”
Do you remember this time when you had to decide what you wanted to do in life? Often we get pushed in a certain direction. From our parents, from society. Many of us struggle because we try to find that one thing that we want/have to do. But somehow the reason is just not here. We don’t really know why we do this job, this school or whatever. It’s just how it is and probably because someone told you it would be the right way to go. “Do this and after finishing it you can decide if you like it or not”. I heard this sentence so often. But you know, finding this one thing, this one job, this one education, is the reason why we feel like something is missing. It limits us from fulfilling our dreams. I mean I’m a journalist and a student of Multimedia Production and yes, I enjoy doing and being both of them. BUT nothing of these two has to do a lot with my passion, goals, joy and purpose in life. You have to abstract your job from the rest. What brings you money doesn’t have to be the thing you are made for. Of course it’s the goal to reach this point where you can live from what you love but this is in the future.
5) Face your past
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I don’t really like this quote but to show you how important it is to look at your past, it’s just ideal. By looking back at times you’ve successfully moved forward, you have a perspective that other people in the world do not. This personal experience can help others too. What were the things in life you had to struggle with? And how could someone else profit from your mistakes? Sometimes looking back at hard times can get you a clue too as to what your bigger purpose might be.
Now it’s your part. What do you find is the most difficult part of finding your passion and purpose in life? And have you already found yours?
My purpose in life, like I told you before, is to inspire people to lead a healthier and more balanced life. I want to help others to eat better, buy wiser and consume less. My goal is to connect with like-minded people and learn from others as if they can learn from me. I want to live in peace and and invest in relationships that are truly connected by hearts. I want to reach people with my words, my photography. I want to show the world out there that there is beauty in everything. This planet is so wonderful but we often forget about the small things. We don’t look at little things often enough, we don’t appreciate them anymore. My aim is to show through my photography and texts how wonderful and genius mother nature is. And that we don’t have to be perfect to be accepted. Everybody deserves love. Everyone.