You hear it all the time nowadays: You have to find your purpose in life!
From Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life to Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist, there are literally dozens of titles on the subject. In fact, entire careers have been made on the sole premise of helping people find their one unique reason for being.
The Buddha is said to have stated, “Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it.” Others, however, like contemporary thinker James Altucher, advise us to "Forget purpose. It’s okay to be happy without one. The quest for a single purpose has ruined many lives.”
John Maxwell, the popular pastor, author, and speaker, refers to your purpose as your "why". "If you want to make a difference and live a life of significance," he says, "you must tap into your why. You need to start thinking about your purpose." He adds, "Why is your purpose. Way is your path. When you find your why, your path automatically has purpose."
You may already be struggling with finding your purpose or your "why" in life. Why are you here? What should you be majoring in? What are you supposed to do with your career, your life? These are questions that all of us have had at one time or another, so don't feel like you're all alone. In fact, throughout history people have been searching for meaning and purpose in their lives.
The following are some of my favorite quotes about finding your purpose, from some of the most influential thinkers and doers in history. As you continue to think about what you might want to do with your life and the legacy you want to leave, consider the following words of wisdom and see if they don’t help you find some of the answers you’re looking for.
Quotes About Purpose
“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
“Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can't help them, at least don't hurt them.” ― Dalai Lama
“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” ― Albert Schweitzer
“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It's to enjoy each step along the way.” ― Wayne Dyer
“The two most important days in life are the day you born and the day you discover the reason why.” ― Mark Twain
“There is one purpose to life and one only: to bear witness to and understand as much as possible of the complexity of the world - its beauty, its mysteries, its riddles. The more you understand, the more you look, the greater is your enjoyment of life and your sense of peace. That's all there is to it.” ― Anne Rice
“If your job is not making a difference in this world, by all means, get out there and find something else. But in many situations, you'll find a sense of making a difference through your work if you simply look for it.” ― John C. Maxwell
“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.” ― Napoleon Hill
“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.” ― Eleanor Roosevelt
“The purpose of life is to contribute in some way to making things better.” ― Robert F. Kennedy
“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint - and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you.” ― Oprah Winfrey
“Your vision will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams, who looks inside awakes.” ― Carl Gustav Jung
“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ― George Bernard Shaw
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life and don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. Most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become.” ― Steve Jobs