‘It is our choices that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.’
J.K. Rowling

Overview

For some people, adding value and having a purpose in life is an essential and fundamental aim. For others, fulfilment and purpose are halted by fear of failure, lack of motivation or by a blind desire to pleasure seek for themselves only.
A great deal of research now suggests that people who have meaning and purpose in their lives are happier, feel more in control and get more out of everything they do. They also experience less stress, less anxiety and are less prone to prolonged bouts of depression.

A sense of purpose helps us to answer burning questions such as ‘Why are we here?’ and ‘What’s life all about anyway?’ Often it’s something that can’t be distilled into one definitive answer and goes far beyond the day-to-day activity. Your purpose will guide you in how you choose to live your life, what you strive for, and will provide a framework and benchmark for the goals that you set yourself. It can help you to make sense of what happens to you, and can provide a source of comfort and strength in challenging and difficult periods of your life. Most of all, a sense of value and purpose helps us feel that we are not alone, because we are part of something much bigger.

There is a concept that we are all connected and that if we hurt others, we will only end up hurting ourselves; therefore our purpose is to be kind and considerate towards others.

By taking more personal responsibility for the consequences of your actions, your purpose becomes more honourable. If you approach every life situation with positive and kind intentions, then you will be making your own great individual contribution to creating a better world.

For some people finding meaning comes through experiences; often difficult ones. Other people find their meaning through deep reflection, others from loving and being loved and others just from the way they choose to approach other people and the world around them. You can find your own way too, but it’s important to remember the importance of meaning when making major decisions about families, jobs, lifestyles and priorities.

‘You were born an original. Don’t die a copy.’
John Mason

Value and Purpose – Steps to Success

    • Identify your purpose and meaning in life
    • Be the change you want the world to be
    • Practise kindness on a daily basis
    • Develop an attitude of gratitude
    • Respect and value other people
    • Be happy and be the best you can be

Create a Vision

Creating a vision board is a very powerful inspirational tool that can help you to discover your own value and purpose in life and motivate you to achieve your goals. It can be easier to stay focused on your aspirations if you have an image to help you visualise what achieving them would look like.

Giving

Scientific studies show that kindness is not only the key to making others happy, but also to finding your own happiness. It intensifies life satisfaction, provides a sense of meaning, increases feelings of competence, improves our mood and reduces stress. It can also help to take our minds off our own troubles too.

So if you want to feel good, do some good for other people. It could either be in the form of small, unplanned acts of kindness, or regular volunteering (which is in its own right a powerful way to boost your own happiness as well of those around you). The people you help may be strangers, family, friends, colleagues or neighbours.

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Giving isn’t just about money, as some people may believe, so you don’t need to wait until you win the lottery! Giving to others can be as simple as a few kind words, compliments, a smile or a thoughtful gesture. It can include giving time, care, skills, thought or attention. Sometimes these can mean far more than any financial gestures. Giving also connects us to others, creating stronger communities and helping to build a happier society for everyone.

Human beings are highly social creatures and have evolved as a species living with others. If people are altruistic, they are more likely to be liked and in turn build better social connections and stronger and more supportive social networks, which leads to increased feelings of happiness and well being.

It used to be assumed that human beings only did things when they got something in return. How, then, could we explain people who performed kind acts or donated money anonymously? Studies of the brain now show that when we give money to good causes, the same parts of the brain light up as if we were receiving money ourselves or responding to other pleasurable things such as good food, money or sex. Giving to others activates the reward centres of our brains, which make us feel good and so encourages us to do more of the same. Giving money to a good cause can feel as good as receiving it, especially if the donations are voluntary.

Finding yourself and your own value could well be deeply rooted in giving to others. It is no coincidence that volunteers are proven to have fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety and feel more hopeful than those who do not volunteer. So distract yourself from dwelling on your own problems, be grateful for what you have, and start giving yourself now!

Make a Difference

You can find happiness by making a difference to yourself and to the world around you. If you know that you are doing the best you can, every day and in every way, you will know that you add value, and your purpose in life will be to make a positive difference in everything that you do. So start making a difference right now!

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