Discover Your Purpose

Discover Your Purpose

by Thomas L. Hardin and David Oeschger, Ph.D.


Psychologists and psychiatrists believe that each of us has a purpose for our existence, and the happiest people are those who know their purpose and are actively pursuing it. However, most people don't know their purpose and aren't sure how to figure it out. If you're one of the few who knows, congratulations! If you're among the vast majority, there's good news - you can discover your purpose, by following five simple steps.


To create this exercise, I consulted with Dr. David Oeschger, a clinical psychologist and adviser for Never Too Old to Rock and Roll. Discovering your purpose is easy - just follow these five simple steps. Answering these questions will plant the seeds to help you clarify your purpose.


Instructions: Each of the five steps is followed by a few questions to help jump-start your thinking. Don't rush the process. Take time to consider the questions carefully and write down your answers. As you work through the steps, you'll begin to see a pattern emerge. You'll know when you've uncovered your purpose because it will resonate within you, and people who know you best will most likely confirm your discovery.


1. Identify the things you do best.

  • What are your inborn talents and abilities?
  • What are some things that come easily or naturally to you?
  • If there is something you could be best in the world at, what would it be?

2. Identify the things that drive you most strongly.

  • What are your convictions?
  • What do you feel most strongly about?
  • Is there anything you're passionate about?
  • What are your strongest personal values?

3. Identify the things that have shaped you or strongly influenced you in the past.

  • What are your top 3-5 greatest accomplishments?
  • What are the top 3-5 most meaningful experiences you've ever had?
  • What are the 3-5 things you've struggled most with in life?

4. Consider your dreams for the future.

  • What are 3-5 things you'd like to do but can't because you don't have the time?
  • How would you spend your time if you could do anything you wanted?
  • What would you want to accomplish if you knew you could not fail?

5. Consult the people who know you best. Find five people who know you better than anyone else and ask them the following questions:

  • "If you were me, what kind of career would you choose and why?"
  • "What do you think are my strongest attributes?"
  • "What do you like most about me?"