RESILIENCE - Chapter 7


If you're feeling lost, it is important to re-find your purpose. Chances are, a difficult situation, whether it be a divorce or the death of a family member, has caused you to feel separated from your life's purpose, and you feel as though your purpose has been taken from you and you don't know where you are in the world anymore. If you feel like this, it’s completely understandable to feel beat down by adverse situations. Whenever you have purpose, life tends to come easier. Work has meaning, friends are more enjoyable, and your life has context. Purpose is what makes life meaningful and worthwhile. Without purpose, though, it can be difficult to get up in the morning, let alone go to a job you hate or work on a marriage that simply isn’t working. According to Dr. Bill Damn, Director of the Stanford Center for Adolescence, purpose is “a stable and generalized intention to accomplish something meaningful to the self and consequential to the world.” Dr. Damon also goes on to explain that purpose is crucial to a healthy lifestyle that is both rewarding and enjoyable. With this in mind, it is imperative to find purpose whenever you feel lost. Without purpose, you may never feel un-lost and bounce back from whatever situation you are facing. Why Purpose Helps Resilience Having purpose is extremely important to your resilience. Purpose gives you something to live for. In other words, it gives you a reason to want to be resilient and bounce back. Without a purpose, you may not even feel the need to be resilient or bounce back from a difficult situation. With this in mind, resilience depends on knowing your life’s purpose, even if it is fluctuating. Your life's purpose will fluctuate and change overtime. If it doesn't, you're probably not growing or pushing yourself at all. So, it is completely fine if your purpose is changing or non-definite. Purpose And Meaning In the chapter about the components of resilience, one of the components mentioned was meaning, where we explained that resilience is deeply connected to one's meaning in life. In this chapter, we look at how purpose can add to your life's meaning. According to Dr. Damon's definition of purpose, purpose is a stable generalized idea of how to do something meaningful with your life. As a result, when you have a purpose, you have a dedicated meaning, and you have something to hold onto whenever you are going through adverse situations. How To Find Your Purpose Finding your purpose involves three things: something in the world or a problem you care about, your natural gifts, and what you love to do or your interests. Your purpose should involve all three. Finding your purpose will take a lot of brainstorming and researching, but it will be worth it. Consider making a Venn diagram that includes the three previously mentioned factors. The center of the Venn diagram tells you ideas for your purpose. Here are some questions to think about when trying to find your purpose: What did you love doing as a child? What do you do in your spare time? What is something you always wanted to do? What is something that excites or challenges you? What are you good at? What have other people said you are good at? Do you have any training or specific skills? What is the topic you're passionate about? What is something you are interested in? What do you daydream about? If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be? If you could do anything with your life, what would it be? What do you find yourself thinking about when you should be working? What do you want to change about your life? Asking yourself these sorts of questions may help you evaluate and understand the problems you care about, your natural gifts, and your interests. Once again, it is important to remember that your purpose is not definite and never changing. In contrast, your purpose changes as you do. If you find that the purpose you settled on a year ago does not fit anymore, that is fine. Simply come up with a new purpose. There is nothing wrong with changing yourself and your purpose, and, in fact, it is normal and healthy.