Forget Finding Your Purpose — Collect Reasons To Live Instead
The pressure to find my purpose used to suffocate me.
I’d read so many books about how it was the secret to happiness that not having one made me anxious. Was I wasting my life? I was jealous of the people who seemed to have it all worked out. As you know life is complex which makes the idea of one perfect solution so addictive.
Yet not enough people talk about how fragile it is.
When you build your entire self-worth on a single pillar everything comes crashing down if it cracks. It’s much healthier to base it on as many pillars as you can instead. You can be far more resilient by being well-rounded than focusing all your energy on one thing.
Our obsession with simplicity has made us distort meaningful foreign concepts too. Global interest in the Japanese concept of Ikigai has increased by 100 times in the past eight years. You might know it as something which you love, you’re good at, the world needs and makes you money.
Yet this isn’t Ikigai at all.
Ikigai is simply a reason to live. You can and should have many! These can and should adapt over time rather than be fixed for your entire life. Ikigai is about what brings you joy in the present.
It’s time to stop trying to find a mythical purpose and started collecting reasons to live.
I bet when many of you have thought about purpose, your mind has jumped straight to finding a meaningful career. This mindset undervalues all the great contributions to society made by parents, carers, and volunteers. Let’s end this belief you need to be paid for something for it to matter.
It’s great if you love your job but many people won’t have the perfect workday every day. Aspiring creators glamorize what it’s like to go full-time. Sure, I enjoy writing but if I could make a living by just talking then I would. It makes me when others tell me writing is my purpose as if they can see inside my head. If anything it was more fun when it wasn’t paying the mortgage.
I’ve interviewed dozens of entrepreneurs who’ve made millions and some who’ve made…