Living With Purpose Makes You a Kinder Person

When we’re stressed out, working too hard, and running around to meet the latest deadline, or pay a stack of bills, we’re often not the nicest people to be around… far from it. If on the other hand, we shift our focus and live our life with purpose and intention, this changes. Living with purpose makes us kinder and nicer. Why is that?

Living With Purpose Helps You Focus On Others

Living with purpose often includes other people. It’s about those around you as much as about yourself. We are social creatures and we like to work with, interact with, and help those around us. When we make those relationships a priority, we take the needs of others into account. That teaches us empathy and understanding, which in turn makes us nicer and kinder to those around us.

Living With Purpose Takes You Out Of The Competitive Mindset

When we stop trying to keep up with the Joneses and compete for the highest paying job, biggest car, and nicest house, we stop competing with everyone around us. Life is about much more than outdoing everyone else. When we realize that and focus on relationships, experiences, and helping each other out, we are kinder because we’re no longer competing for the number one spot.

Living With Purpose Reduces Stress

Since you’re no longer participating in the rat race in the same way as before, and instead embrace meaningful activities and relationships that make you happier, it should come as no surprise that your level of stress is greatly reduced. I don’t know about you, but I’m not the kindest person when I’m stressed out. When I’m more relaxed and fulfilled on the other hand, being kind is a natural state of mind.

Living With Purpose Increases Happiness

As we’ve already established in previous blog posts in this series, living a purpose driven life makes us happier. It shouldn’t come as a big surprise to you that you’re kinder and nicer to be around when you’re in a good mood. It’s when we’re stressed out, or feeling trapped, mad and angry at the world that we aren’t so much fun to be around.

To recap, living with purpose does quite a few things to make you a kinder, nicer person to be around. If that’s not a great motivator to work towards a more purposeful life, I don’t know what is.

Guess What? Money and “Stuff” Doesn’t Make You Happy

In yesterday’s blog post we talked about the importance of living with a purpose for your spiritual health and how it all comes back to living a happy and fulfilled life. Today I want to talk about what doesn’t make you happy. We’ve talked a lot so far about why it’s important to live with purpose, and a big part of it is because it makes you feel happier and more content.

What doesn’t make you happy is money and more material possessions. In fact, quite the opposite seems to be true. Yes, of course there’s a time when a little extra cash and a more reliable car increase you happiness and decrease your stress and worries. There’s a threshold below which money and material possessions do make us happier. But once we reach a level where we live somewhat comfortably and don’t have to worry about having food in the fridge and a roof over our head, something interesting happens. From there on out, more money and more possessions simply gives us more “stuff” to worry about. In those cases an increase in material and monetary possessions doesn’t increase happiness. The goal then shouldn’t be to do everything we can to keep up with the Joneses. Instead, what makes us happy is living a purpose driven and meaningful life.

Deep down you already know this. Meaningful experiences trump material gifts anytime. We remember the fun trips we took as kids or the time we got to see a concert much more vividly than a pile of presents under the tree. Yes, there are exceptions like the year you got the new bike, but that’s when there was purpose and meaning attached to the material gift.

The goal then, when we want to increase our overall happiness and wellbeing shouldn’t be to accumulate as much money and stuff as possible. It should be to focus on having the basic needs covered so we don’t have to worry too much, and then shift our focus to experiences and relationships. That’s the true key to leading a happy and fulfilled life.

It also means focusing on finding purpose in what we do. Instead of, or better in addition to financial goals, start making ones for relationships, experiences, and the likes. Instead of focusing on that next big promotion or bonus check, or how you’ll afford a new car, spend your time and energy on the things and people that are important for you. Start living with purpose and start making a difference. That’s what will increase your happiness and wellbeing along with that of those around you.

Living With Purpose Is Good For Your Spiritual Health

Today I want to talk about spiritual health or wellness and the effect living with purpose has on it. I don’t care what your own spirituality or religion is. We live in a very diverse society and as a result, some of my readers will have different beliefs than others. Even within a group of people from the same faith or belief system, there are vast differences between individual faiths or spiritual beliefs. In the end, living with purpose and intention is beneficial, no matter what you believe.

Having a purpose is a primal human need. We want to be needed and we need to know that we’re making a difference in order to feel fulfilled, happy, and complete. That’s why living with purpose is so important and why it is good for your overall spiritual health.

The Need To Be Needed

We like to be needed by others. It makes us sad and lonely when we can’t help those around us and make a difference in their lives. Having a purpose and living with purpose allows us to do just that on a regular basis. It fulfills the need to be needed.

The Need To Find Meaning In Life

Another common human desire or need is to find meaning in life. We don’t like to feel like we’re wasting our time here. Living with purpose gives meaning to each day. That in turn makes us feel happier and more fulfilled.

The Need To Have Hope

At the end of the day, even when things seem bad, we need to have hope. Having a purpose means we have a plan and we have something to strive towards. That’s hope there. It is hope that we’ll make a difference, it is hope that things will get better, and it is hope that we can get ourselves out of the hole we find ourselves in.

The Need For Values

We also need values to live a happy and fulfilled life. Our values are like a compass that guides us along the way. If you are a parent, you know how important it is to impart strong values on your children. Without them they feel lost and insecure. That can add a lot of stress and unhappiness. We’re no different as adults. Living our life with purpose by default provides us with a strong set of values to live by.

Living with purpose is good for the mind and spirit. It allows you to live a more fulfilling and happier life and make a difference in the world.

When You Have A Purpose, You’re Taking Action And Aren’t Afraid Of Failure

Something remarkable happens when you start to think about, and then live your life more purposefully. You start taking action. You start doing things instead of second guessing yourself and procrastinating. You get off the couch and get going on the things you’ve always wanted to do.

Taking action becomes so much easier when you have a clear purpose. You have a goal in mind and you know exactly what the next step is that you need to take. Even more importantly, you are highly motivated to get it done.

Let’s look at weight loss as an example. You can try to lose some weight and get into shape for months and even years with little success. Sure, you eat a little better and you go for a walk every now and then, but because you don’t have an actual purpose, you don’t get far. You also occasionally give in to the urge to snack, get second helping, or indulge in a cookie. There’s no big reason to get serious about losing weight and there’s no deadline.

Now pretend you’re getting married in nine months and you are determined to look great on your big day. You have a dress or suit size in mind and a pretty good idea of how many pounds you have to lose by your wedding day. Suddenly you have a purpose, a goal, and a deadline. That’s exactly what it takes to get serious about losing weight.

You start taking massive action. You clean up your diet, cut out the sugar and processed food. You start working out to tone and reshape your body as you start to drop those pounds. You read up on and learn as much as you can about nutrition and the latest trends in diet and exercise. Best of all the pounds start to drop and you’re looking better and better the closer you get to your non-negotiable deadline.

That’s the power of having a purpose in action. It spurs you on and motivates you to do things and make changes. Having a purpose also keeps you from procrastinating out of a false fear of failure. Does that mean you won’t fail? Of course not. There’s a chance you may not hit your weight loss goal and there a very good chance that you’ll cheat and have a doughnut or the likes at some point on your weight loss journey. That’s not the point and not the type of failure I’m talking about. No matter what because of your purpose you’re going to make some serious progress and even if you stumble, you pick yourself up and get right back to it… because you have an important purpose that’s motivating you. Not trying because you think you may fail is no longer an option and that’s a pretty big deal.

Creating Purposeful And Meaningful Relationships

A big part of living a more intentional and purpose-driven life is the relationships we have. We are social creatures and we need other people around us to feel happy and complete. That means creating purposeful and meaningful relationships with family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances.

While all relationships are important, the ones that will have the biggest impact on your own personal life are family and close friends. That’s where you should start. These are the people that mean the most to you and often the ones you spend a lot of your time with. While good work relationships are also important, they don’t have to be quite as deep and meaningful as personal relationship. As long as you communicate well with your coworkers and boss for example and you get along ok, you’re good to go. With your best friend, your spouse, or your grandma on the other hand, working on a more meaningful relationship can have a huge impact.

Be Intentional In Your Relationships

The first step in having more meaningful relationships is taking a look at where you’re at right now and then figuring out where you would like it to be. Do you want a more intimate relationship with your spouse? Do you want to be closer with your kids and have them open up to you? Do you want to have a more relaxed relationship with your book club friends? Once you know how you would like those relationships to be and look like you can work on being more purposeful and intentional in your interactions with those people.

Don’t Like Something? Change It

Most relationships aren’t perfect. Some are downright awful. While we can’t change people, we can change our relationship with them. Sometimes that means setting boundaries. Sometimes, that may even mean cutting people out of our lives most of the time though, it means working on the relationship and having open and honest conversations. Work with the other person to come up with something that works well for both of you. Compromise and put in the effort to improve the relationship the two of you have for the better.

Good Relationships Take Work

Last but not least, I want you to realize that a good relationship takes work. This is true or your marriage, your relationship with your kids, staying close to your best friend and any other close relationship you can think of. If you get lazy and start taking it for granted, it will wither and die. Don’t let that happen.

Instead, put in the work. Get up early in the morning to go for a run with your husband, spend the time to talk to your kids over dinner instead of popping down in front of the TV, and make the time to go hang out with your friends regularly. Be intentional about your relationships and do your part to make sure they stay meaningful and strong. Yes, it takes work, time, and effort, but it is well worth it.