5 Ways to Thrive and Find Purpose Despite Life's Confusing Game of Trial and Error
Life is like a fire. We work tirelessly to nurture the flame of our individuality, our passions, our joys, our purpose the best we can, only to sometimes feel like we are hopelessly doused with water by the trials, the challenges, and the frustrations life continues to throw at us.
Some days are great. Some days are rather dull. Some things ignite your passion and others feel like drops of moisture extinguishing your flame. Some things hold promise of passion but only dim your light, while others are flammable bits of wonder that unexpectedly emit a show of glorious sparks into your life.
Finding your purpose, identifying your passions, even finding what brings you simple joy is sometimes not an easy task. You would think these would be the most obvious truths to learn, but in our world of overstimulation, stereotypes, societal pressures, and stress, identifying what truly means the most to us can feel damn near impossible.
It is a game of trial and error. And sometimes a damn cruel one...often one of confusion and frustration, but one absolutely worth playing, and playing well. If you aren't playing the game of confusing trial and error in order to identify your joys and embrace your passion, then what other purpose do you have in being here? If you aren't thriving, if you aren't living each day with great enthusiasm and motivation, then are you simply surviving?
Purpose can mean absolutely anything to anyone. Offering one simple overarching solution is not feasible...or even practical. Purpose can be complex, it can be beautifully simple, it can be right in front of your nose or far, far away. But striving for it is life...and a glorious one.
But how then, do you thrive rather than simply survive? How do you continue to strive for joy, for love, for passion through all the confusion, frustration, and fear? Here are 5 tips I've come to turn to for inspiration when the game of trial and error seems just too difficult.
1) Do Your Best to Be Here Now
When it come to purpose, it is incredibly easy to get caught up in the future. In possibilities, in ideas, in opportunities. To get lost in the mind and not truly appreciate the here and now that is trying to teach us your truths is a mistake that we all make now and again (I know I find myself here more than I'd like to admit).
You can never truly know how you will feel in the future, and you can never again experience anything you've felt in the past. You can only truly know how you feel and what you experience right now, right here, in the present moment. Learn to listen and to learn from the present in order to discover what makes you feel joyous and what is not so wonderful, and release the past and the future to be as they are.
2) You've Got A Friend
Finding purpose may seem like a solitary activity, though in reality is anything but. As mentioned above, it is SO easy to get lost in our own heads. And when we do, we end up talking ourselves in circles, only seeing things from our own perspectives, and getting dreadfully confused.
Have someone to talk to about your joys, about your passions, about what really lights your fire and gets you excited. Explain to them what is going on in your head, and trust that they will help you see things from new and incredibly helpful perspectives. Someone else can see your problems from the 30,000 foot view that is often so difficult to see ourselves. And the bonus? You can help them find their joys, passions, and purpose as well...be on the journey together.
You don't know until you try! How many times do they say Thomas Edison failed before he got a working lightbulb? LOADS. Try things, take risks, and experiment even when it challenges you and feels a little uncomfortable.
Some ideas may sound great but end up not feeling so good in reality. And others may seem rather intimidating but end up bringing you great joy when you muster the courage to try. Life is all about trying new things, and either discontinuing or continuing them after careful judgement. Live your entire life like a college freshman, taking chances on a huge variety of subjects that may or may not spark your interest and lead to discovering your purpose.
4) Don't Be Shy
Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery...so put yourself out there! Is there someone who is deep in their career whom you truly admire? Do a little research and send them a cold email expressing your admiration and asking for a coffee date or informational interview.
You never know what tidbits, next steps, or inspiration they can offer you in discovering your own joys. Putting yourself out there to meet new, admirable, and interesting people can only help you...even if they aren't what you expect, you are still connecting, learning, and embracing the journey to purpose.
5) Take a Chance/Ask Questions
Have you ever seen an amazing opportunity, job, contest, trip, or other fun idea but never took action because you already counted yourself out? You don't have the right degree or you don't have enough experience or you aren't located in the right place...there are always excuses to underestimate ourselves and validate our inaction.
Leave that attitude behind...and take chance! Apply to that job, write that cold email inquiry, put yourself out there and see what happens. If you never hear back or nothing happens, you didn't lose anything at all. And what if something DOES come out of it? You can always get a No, but you can NEVER get a Yes unless you try. Simply putting your confident energy out in the universe welcomes new and exciting opportunities to come knocking!
Are you feeling ready to release simply surviving and to embrace your potential to THRIVE? Try these tips, take what works for you and leave what doesn't...remember, it's all about experimentation! Self-discovery is incredibly rewarding and if you make the choice to live a life of great enthusiasm, of gusto, you are well on your way to finding what purpose means for YOU...and enjoying the journey, too. Happy exploring!
With Great Enthusiasm,