Many of us, myself included, have wondered about the meaning of Life: why are we here, what does this all mean, and does any of it matter? It’s a natural exercise that each of us goes through, some of us more often than others. I’ve thought a lot about the meaning of all of this (“Life”), and like you would with any open-ended question of that magnitude, come up with a somewhat different answer every time.
I came across a different way of looking at this question from Viktor Frankl, the Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, and Holocaust survivor. Frankl wrote:
“It did not really matter what we expected from life, but rather what life expected from us. We needed to stop asking about the meaning of life, and instead to think of ourselves as those who were being questioned by life…” (emphasis mine)
What if Life is asking you what your purpose will be? What if you started answering that question instead of asking it? What if you started creating your purpose simply by living authentically, even if you’re not totally sure where that path will lead?
What would you say if someone asked you, “What does Life expect from you?” Your answer probably wouldn’t include things like “That report I owe my boss next week,” “A perfect score on the LSAT,” or “A million dollars in the bank.” No, this is bigger than all of that. What is Life asking of you?
Pay attention to whatever comes up in response to that question – it’s a provocative one, and your reaction is probably telling. There’s no “right” answer to it, and I don’t believe you’ll ever have a final, satisfying response – this is a journey, remember? Your answer today will be different from your answer in a year, because Life asks different questions of us along the way. If you want to go deeper and attempt to formulate an answer for right now, here are some questions that might be useful:
Which doorways are opening up in my life right now?
Where am I ready to take things to a higher level?
Where might there be buried energy or potential in my life?
I hope that if you choose to respond to Life’s question, that you let the deepest and wisest part of you respond to it – the part of you that somehow already knows the answer.
Know someone who could use some help finding purpose? Consider sharing the love and sending this to them.