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The Power of Purposeful Aging

A sense of life purpose promotes physical, mental, and spiritual health.

People who seek meaning beyond themselves are healthier, happier, and live longer.

It’s vital to our well-being that we maintain strong feelings of purpose and community.

For some people, life purpose is a spiritual concept, or has a religious dimension. For others, it’s a more secular notion, a need to be valued as a member of a family or group.

Not everyone feels the need to name their life purpose but everyone needs to be needed. Purpose is fundamental. Mattering, ultimately, matters.

As we mature through the phases of our life, experiencing various levels of psychological, emotional and, ultimately, spiritual growth, we may come to think more deeply about our life purpose and find ourselves yearning for deeper levels of meaning.

Many people, at some phase of their lives, feel stuck, going nowhere, drifting without direction, wondering “what is the point of it all?”

Here are three quick ways to unlock the power of purposeful aging and answer that question.

1. Choose to age purposefully.

Consider choosing a new mindset – that of “aging purposefully” rather than “having a purpose.”
Aging purposefully means choosing how you will use your gifts and talents to create more meaning for yourself and others in the later years of life.

2. Reflect on these questions:

  • Have you recently felt like you’d like to be doing more with your life?
  • Do you often yearn to use your gifts (natural talents) to contribute more to the world?
  • Do you feel like you’re “majoring in the minors” – wasting time on things that are too small for you?
  • Do you desire to “major in the majors” – serve others in a larger way but don’t know how?
  • Do you ever wonder if “this is it?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, you’re probably ready to unlock the power of purpose.

3. Choose your school of thought.

If you listen for a living (like I do!), you might find that there are three basic schools of thought regarding life purpose:

  1. Those who believe that a life purpose is something that we are born with, that it is planted in our souls before we are born and we must embody or achieve it. It’s our embedded destiny, so to speak, and we have no choice in the matter.
  2. Those who believe that fate and destiny don’t exist and we have the power (or “free will”) to choose our life purpose and do anything we want with our lives.
  3. Those who believe a life purpose is something you were born with, but you also have a choice over how and when you activate it.

Which group do you belong to?

There are no easy or perfect answers to this question. So, if you’re still not sure, I’d like to propose a workable compromise for you. What if, with a little reflection and choice, you could move naturally and easily toward your life purpose without feeling like you “have to” have a cause or do specific things? (c)

Unlocking your life purpose can be a fulfilling and enjoyable process. It’s the kind of “choice” that changes everything – from emptiness to fulfillment, from filling time to fulfilling time.

Personally, I believe that each of us is an “experiment of one.” Each of us has an embedded destiny – a life purpose – and it is something that comes very enjoyably and naturally to us. It’s not something that’s difficult, unpleasant, or burdensome.

I believe that humans were created with choice. Choice is the intention – the power in purpose. Personally, I believe that by a loving Source (God), we were given free will to choose how we think, act, react.

Aging on Purpose
The dictionary defines purpose as: Intention

What does this suggest? A “purpose” can be as simple as an intention to live and age in a certain way.
Purpose is realized through “attention” – by getting to know your authentic self, exploring your gifts or natural talents and passions, and “intention” – choosing the best possible expression to share them with the world.

“Finding your purpose is a misleading concept because it’s not something we have to go out and “get,” but rather something we need to turn within and “unlock.”

We’ve already got it – even if we haven’t clearly realized it yet!

How do we unlock it? By looking in the most obvious places – our gifts, passions, and values.

Our purpose will always be something that:

  • We feel that we are naturally good at and enjoy sharing with others.
  • We feel passionate and care deeply about.
  • We feel fits our values and ways we prefer to live and work in the world.

Recall earlier I mentioned that your ideas about your life purpose being unpleasant are groundless? It’s true. Why would we be given a life purpose that doesn’t match the “authentic essence” of what we love to do?

Our life purpose will always express our true gifts, passions, and values. No exceptions. Does that inspire a little sigh of relief for you? Hopefully it will.

Before we can discover our true life purpose, we need to “unlock the clues” that lead to it. Namely, things we love to do, feel passionate about, and are important to our way of being.

Don’t be put off by the work of unlocking your life purpose. There’s nothing mystical or mysterious about it. It’s natural to seek meaning in our lives. And it’s important for our health and happiness. Yet, it does require some work. It’s rarely revealed to us without some digging.

In simple terms, our life purpose is to GROW and to GIVE!

Our life purpose involves a quest for personal growth and a search for meaning through personal contribution. Our purpose evolves as we grow and give through all life phases from cradle-to-grave. Purpose grows and develops with us.

A progressive unlocking of purpose is essential to our health, happiness, and longevity. Unlock purpose. Live longer, better.

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Richard Leider, founder of Inventure – The Purpose Company, is one of America’s preeminent executive-life coaches. He is ranked by Forbes as one of the “Top 5” most respected executive coaches, and by the Conference Board as a “legend in coaching.” Richard has written ten books, including three best sellers, which have sold over one million copies and have been translated into 20 languages. Repacking Your Bags and The Power of Purpose are considered classics in the personal development field. Richard’s PBS Special – The Power of Purpose – was viewed by millions of people across the U.S.