On Purpose

Why Purpose Matters

By Richard J. Leider

What is Purpose?
We are born with a life purpose. Some of us never question our purpose and so it remains unspoken our whole lives. But it is there. Our purpose is the reason we are alive. Purpose is not a job or a role. It is the cradle-to-grave, round-the-clock unifying orientation of our daily lives. It is our reason for getting up in the morning and every one of us needs a reason to get up in the morning.

Purpose is that deepest belief within us where we have a profound sense of who we are, where we came from, and what we’re here to do. It is the quality or thread we choose to shape our lives around. It is a source of deep vitality and vision.

Living on purpose means expressing who we are when we’re reaching our full potential. When people are “on purpose”, they are vital, fulfilled. When they are not on purpose, they feel dead, unfulfilled.

Why is Purpose Important?
Purpose has a powerful effect on health, healing, happiness, and, ultimately, longevity. Science is beginning to validate what many people have known intuitively all along, when it comes to the transitions and changes of life, purpose is essential. Purpose is what gives us the will to live. Without purpose we die. With purpose, we live with meaning and dignity. It is the one thing that cannot be taken from us.

Think about the will to live that empowers seriously ill people to extend their lives beyond expectation. More and more studies are indicating that when we believe in something larger than ourselves, we strengthen our ability to cope with adversity. Purpose matters because it is essential to our wholeness and well-being. When faced with the inevitable transitions, purpose can sustain us and help us grow whole.

What are the Paths to Purpose?
Historically, healers understood the link between purpose and well-being. Healing and purpose were inextricably linked. In many cultures, priests and shamans were the paths to purpose and they enlisted the power of people’s spirituality to restore their wholeness.

Today, people continue to seek paths to purpose and well-being through prayer, ritual, gratitude, forgiveness, art, music, nature, social connectedness, and acts of generosity. Nothing provides healing and well-being as a worthy purpose. And a worthy purpose always has something to do with the sacred, spiritual nature of our lives. Purpose is what makes us human.