Finding your purpose in life

It was a warm afternoon when Arlene found herself staring blankly at the piles of papers that filled her office desk. She was irritated and confused, her job that was once her source of joy was suddenly unfulfilling.

She had worked as a service manager for years and now she couldn’t help but wonder why or how she chose this kind of life for herself.


With a successful career, a beautiful house and posh car, she had basically achieved society’s ultimate ‘success’ in life. But for some reason, Arlene felt incomplete, she wasn’t content or happy with her life.


Something was missing and she didn’t know what it was. What she was sure of, however, was that there had to be a deeper calling to her life than a 9-5pm job that seemed to be eating away at her soul.


Most people struggle to know what they want to do with their lives, even if they already have a job, built a life, met their life partner or even had children.

Mother Theresa said: “We have not come into the world to be numbered; we have been created for a purpose; for great things.”

Some people are lucky to look for their purpose and find it almost immediately, however, others have to look for years.

But can everyone find their purpose?

How do you discover your calling?

Margret Mukangwije, an elderly citizen, says for one to live a fulfilled and happy life they have to discover their purpose for living. It is this purpose that serves as the compass for guidance and without it, any set goals or plans may all be meaningless.

“Recognising and valuing this purpose is the most important thing that defines success. But for it to happen, you have to take time to understand what you are here to do, and after discovering it, pursue that dream with a passion and fervour,” she says.

Bishop Nathan Amooti Rusengo of the Anglican Diocese of Kigali, says when you get to know God, you will immediately get to know others and you also get to know yourself.

“Once you know yourself, who you really are, your purpose in life comes straight to face without much hassle.”

It’s not about you

The search for the purpose of life has puzzled people for thousands of years. That’s because we typically begin at the wrong starting point-ourselves. We ask self-centred questions like: What do I want to be? What should I do with my life? What are my goals, my ambitions, and my dreams for my future? But focusing on ourselves will never reveal our life’s purpose, writes Rick Warren, an American evangelical Christian pastor in his book – ‘The Purpose Driven Life: What on Earth Am I Here For’?

In his book, Warren also mentions being busy as a great enemy of relationships.

“We become preoccupied with making a living, doing our work, paying bills, and accomplishing goals as if these tasks are the point of life. They are not. The point of life is learning to love - God and people. Life minus love equals zero.”

Finding your ‘true north’

Your life is an individual path. Finding your purpose means finding a way to impact the world in a way that fulfils and satisfies you. Here is how to discover reason for your existence.

Believe in a higher purpose over your life

Finding your purpose calls for re-inventing yourself time and again. Just because you haven’t discovered it yet, it doesn’t mean you won’t. When you encounter challenges, don’t beat yourself up, rather, see these setbacks as an opportunity to figure out your way.

Take note of what sets your soul on fire

Identify your passions and the things that make you happy. Once you begin to enhance your passions, values and goals, work on aligning them with your actions. Passion is the key to a purposeful life. When you are inspired and connected to what brings you joy, you find the motivation to create and experience even more of what lights you up.

Define your own version of success

Success is really about living life with purpose. No one, however well-meaning, can tell you what that purpose is or what you should be doing. Do not live your own life by someone else’s definition of success.

Listen to your inner voice

Learning to find and live your purpose can be an inside job. You need to do a little soul-searching. So go somewhere you can sit without distraction and connect with yourself in a way that works for you. Journal. Meditate. Speak to someone you trust. Just get out of your head and into your heart — this is where you’ll be guided to the answer.

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