The Top 7 Tips for Living a Purposeful Life

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "You Are A Badass" by Jen Sincero. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Do you want to live a purposeful life but can’t seem to find your calling? Do you want tips on how to get clear about who you are and how to find your purpose?

When we figure out what our unique and valuable gifts are, we can put them to use and have a purposeful life. In this article, you will find some tips on getting clear about who you are and how to find your purpose.

Keep reading to discover how you can life a purposeful life.

Discover Your Purpose

We’re all born with unique and valuable gifts to share with the world. When we figure out what they are and put them to real use, we get to have a purposeful life. When we share what we are brought here to give, we are in alignment with our highest, most powerful selves. 

Think about how exciting and fun it is to give the perfect gift to someone. We’re filled with joy. In reality, we all possess the perfect gift to give to the world, but too many of us keep it locked up, forgotten and gathering dust. Instead, we give the world the equivalent of the “tasteful candle” gift — appropriate, just enough not to be rude, appreciated but not special.

We too often go through life in a job that we hate or that’s just OK. We get by, but never find our true calling and create a life of excitement and joy. 

Tips on Creating a Purposeful Life

Sometimes we’re confused about what we should be doing and how we should be applying our gifts. Here are some tips on getting clear about who you are and how to have a purposeful life.

1. Be the Alien

Imagine you’re an alien and suddenly inhabit your own body. Everything is new to you. Ask yourself, what is this person I’ve inhabited? What do they have fun doing? What are they awesome at? What are you going to do with this incredible new life you’ve stepped into? This exercise gives you a new perspective and helps you step out of your rut, making you aware of the staggering possibilities and resources we take for granted.

2. Take a Step

Instead of wasting time trying to figure out the perfect next move, just do something. Stop mulling and weighing options and opinions; just start with one thing that feels right and keep heading in the right direction. Answers reveal themselves through doing, not thinking. Pay attention to suggestions and opportunities all around you — and pay attention to how you feel about these options. Does something strike a chord with you? If so, pursue it.

For example, the author of You Are a Badass was also at one point trying to have a purposeful life. She knew it involved writing, but also knew she needed to interact with people. When a friend suggested that she attend a women’s entrepreneurial think tank group, she went even though she had no entrepreneurial ideas to build on. After watching the women turn ideas into businesses in a few weeks, she knew what she wanted to do. She began leading these groups herself, then became a coach and author.

3. Do Your Best Where You Are

After you take a step, you may not immediately be in your dream job. Consider it a stepping stone and appreciate it. Everything you do along your journey contributes to where you’re going. Having a good attitude and being grateful for all the things helping you live the life of your dreams will make things more pleasant, raise your frequency, and attract people and opportunities that will take you in the right direction. 

For example, say you’re a budding rock star currently waiting tables to make ends meet. Serving soup may not be your dream, but it’s helping you achieve that dream. Be grateful and do your best, confident that everything you need is coming your way.

4. Look at What Other People Are Doing

You don’t have to invent your life from scratch. Look around and see whose life makes you jealous. If something someone else is doing sparks your interest, it could mean your calling has something to do with theirs. Find the specifics that you like about their life. Is it that they travel? Work alone? Work in a group? Put yourself out there — you never know where your next inspiration or opportunity will come from. 

5. Don’t Worry if You’re Not Hit by a Thunderbolt

Not everyone gets a flash of soul-defining insight about how to have a purposeful life. There doesn’t have to be one big, perfect thing for you; you can fulfill several callings throughout your life. (This can go for relationships too.)

6. Listen to Your Gut

Tune into your intuition to get in touch with who you are and what you love to do. Spend 5 minutes of quiet, by yourself, every day. Get away from the hustle and buzz of daily life. Stick with this practice, be patient, and listen to your inner guidance to let the answers get through to you.

7. Follow Your Fantasies

Our fantasies are revealing glimpses into who we are and what we think is awesome. What do you fantasize about for your life? Are you onstage doing stand-up comedy? Are you surrounded by children in your home? Tap into what brings you great joy instead of what you think you need to do to survive.

The Top 7 Tips for Living a Purposeful Life

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Here's what you'll find in our full You Are A Badass summary:

  • How to go from wanting to change your life to deciding to do it
  • How to stop your self-sabotaging thoughts
  • How to tap into Source Energy for mental and spiritual strength

Hannah Aster

Hannah graduated summa cum laude with a degree in English and double minors in Professional Writing and Creative Writing. She grew up reading books like Harry Potter and His Dark Materials and has always carried a passion for fiction. However, Hannah transitioned to non-fiction writing when she started her travel website in 2018 and now enjoys sharing travel guides and trying to inspire others to see the world.

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