3 Keys to Living a Purpose Driven Life

Living a purpose driven life is the last thing on your mind when you’re doing work that adds very little meaning to your life.  When I used to work as an engineer it used to make me feel tired. I remember working a normal 40 hour work week and feeling exhausted by the weekend. I was completely drained and I could barely find enough energy to go and play hockey on Friday nights.

On Saturdays I would sit in front of the TV and completely veg-out. I felt like a complete vegetable. I remember sitting in front of the TV on those mornings and thinking, “there has got to be more to life than this.”

I did that for years, sitting there like a vegetable on the couch wondering to myself, “What was I supposed to be doing? Why wasn’t I happy? Why did I feel that I had to pretend when I was at work? And why was everyone else pretending?”

It was at this point that I knew engineering wasn’t for me so I started to share it with people.  I told my friends. This was back in 2005.  We were all hanging out and getting wasted in my buddies garage.  I remember saying, “I hate my job.  I don’t even know why I’m there.  I’m wasting my time doing something that doesn’t even make me happy. It’s like I’m living a lie.”

My friends would laugh when they heard that,  but I don’t think they were laughing at me.  I think it was in reaction to what they saw in themselves; recognition that they too felt that their life was empty and meaningless.

During those talks in the garage I realized that other people were unhappy and that I wasn’t alone.  In fact there was a part of me that realized that there was more to life than working, getting wasted and watching TV.  There was a real part of me that felt my life had meaning and I was here to do something special.

Those talks with my buddies in the garage really helped me because I started be honest with them; and more importantly, I started being honest with myself.

This isn’t the easiest thing to do.  To let it all out and admit to the world that you don’t have it all figured out – that you don’t have your life together. That maybe in fact, you’ve been pretending that everything was ok, but deep down you knew that it wasn’t.

Exposing yourself like this is probably one of the most difficult things you’ll ever do – to share yourself openly, freely and let the people close to you know how you really feel.

But you know what’s even harder?  Pretending to be something you’re not.  Pretending to be happy when you’re not. Pretending to be someone that you’re not.  That takes so much more energy and effort.

If you’ve ever thought to yourself, “there has got to be more to life than this,” or “what am I here for?” then follow these 3 keys to living a purpose driven life:

3 Keys to Living a Purpose Driven Life

Key 1: It’s not about you, it’s about your contribution.

Living a purpose driven life means making a contribution.  This in itself can be a hard one to swallow; more for some than others.  The way to live a purpose driven life is to realize that you’re here to contribute something, to bring something to the world.  You’re here to contribute and make the world a better place.

You can’t just sit at home in your pajamas and expect the world to have a sense of purpose and meaning. Just because you don’t enjoy what you’re currently doing doesn’t give you a reason to do nothing.  There is something that you’re here to do.  George Patterson once said,

“…we came from some place and we’re going some place – so we should make our time here an exciting adventure.  The architect of the Universe didn’t build a stairway leading nowhere.”

Find a way to contribute to others and do it in a way that ignites you.

Key 2. Contribute in a way that ignites you.  Do what feels good.

Living a purpose driven life means doing what feels good.  This one might take some exploration, but it’s just a matter of awareness.  We’ve all got core strengths and unique abilities.  Your job is to find a way to share these gifts with the world.  Find bigger and better ways to perfect your craft. This is what I call your Natural Ability.

There is nothing better in life than doing what you love and doing it well.

For some reason we’ve been taught to work hard to succeed.  And sometimes we confuse working hard with doing what we hate and that leaves us unfulfilled.  Your job isn’t to do what you hate – it’s to contribute in a way that ignites you, that fills you with joy.  You’ve got to find what you enjoy doing and do more of it.

Key 3. Give from an open heart and don’t expect anything in return.

Living a purpose driven life means giving from an open heart.  If you really take the time to read and study the people who are really living life to the fullest, you’ll soon realize that they do it from an open heart. They do what they do because they love doing it.  There is nothing else they would rather be doing.

There is nothing to get or gain.  There is nothing to have.  There is no reward.  The only reward that comes from giving from an open heart is that sense of purpose and meaning that comes from feeling fulfilled from what you do.

If you really liked this article, you might also like: Life’s True Calling


  • Yun

    Reply Reply February 1, 2010

    Nicely said. If we do not feel good inside in the life we are living, it is a signal that we might not live the life we are given.. time to ask questions and seek the one own life purpose…

  • Darcy Keith

    Reply Reply February 3, 2010

    I couldn’t agree more, Steve. You have to be happy and find what puts the spring in your step in the morning. Finding your purpose also allows a person to contribute to society that helps others and does goods.

    You make some great points!

  • Steve

    Reply Reply February 4, 2010

    Hi Darcy,

    I think everyone at some-level truly desires to find that “spring in their step,” as you so elegantly put. They want to know WHY they’re here and what they’re supposed to be doing.

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