#058 Purpose in everyday life

#058 Purpose in everyday life

Episode Transcript

The transcript is computer generated. There may be errors.

Hi, everyone. Welcome to how to live a podcast that explores ways to live a good life. I'm your host Sharad Lal. This is episode 58. Wishing all the few of very, very happy new year and wish you all the best in 2024. In today's episode, let's talk about purpose. And I know many of you may be thinking, I don't have time for things like purpose. 

There's so much on my plate. I need to manage my work. Family travel. So many things. But, you know what. In all those things that you're doing. They might be many purposeful activities, hidden that you're not aware of. And if you can identify those. And be a little more deliberate and purposeful about them. You can live a lot more meaningful life without making a major change. Yes. 

Purpose is not very complex. It's not earth shattering. It's actually simple things. Solving a difficult problem. Feeling connected with friends. Uh, helping someone. It's these little things that can give us a lot of fulfillment. So do you want to make 2024, a little more purposeful Without a major overhaul of life. If yes. Sit back and listen to this very short episode. 

I'll share some stories and learnings from my conversations with thousands of people. About purpose. But before we get into it. A huge, thank you to all of you. We're now listened to in 1 25 countries. And I in the top 5% in the world. Thank you very much for doing that. And I hope in 2024, we continue to create quality content for you. Now, back to the episode.

 Let's start by meeting Dan. 

Dan is an equities trader in Hong Kong. I met him in one of the purpose workshop. Now he comes into work, opens his laptop. Brings on the Excel sheet. And with all those numbers, he comes alive. He can start seeing patterns, connections, trends. It's almost like a meditative experience where he gets lost in the numbers. 

He saw immersed. That he forgets the sense of time. Things happen effortlessly. This has been described as floor. He does say that problems come. And sometimes he has to think about it for days and months and they sometimes irritate him. But solving the problem gets him satisfaction. Dan is someone who finds purpose in himself. 

IN doing activities that give him intellectual stimulation. He loves numbers. And getting to spend his life doing numbers, getting paid Is the ultimate thing. Now not everyone can be like, Dan. But across many of the people that I've talked to many find their purpose in using the intellect or using the creativity to solve challenges, to solve problems, to create something. And often the process of doing this does not necessarily bring joy and happiness. 

In fact, sometimes it can feel frustrating at the moment. But once we are pushed and stretched. And achieve something. It gives a sense of satisfaction. Uh, sense of achievement. And ultimately we feel that we are growing. And growth is what gives us purpose. Growth. According to anthropologists is a core need. 

That's how we've innovated as a species and become who we are. 

So if this is something that you find could bring you purpose, here are a few questions that you can ask yourself. What makes you alive? What do you get drawn into? What gives you a sense of satisfaction? What makes you feel proud of yourself? Maybe look at some of the activities you're doing right now. At work, maybe it's that dreaded presentation that actually gives you something more than you think. Maybe that is something. 

If you pay more attention to can be a little more purposeful. Or perhaps planning your kid's birthday party, which at the time seems irritating. Maybe that gets your creative juices flowing and gives you something. A lot more fulfilling than you think. Many people find purpose at that individual level. Where they see themselves grow in some way.

 So, this is not to you. Maybe you're like Irene. Irene in the early days of a career would work really hard and lead into the night. She had no work-life balance. But yet she felt fulfilled. She felt happy because she was part of a United team. She felt she belonged to the team. They were on a mission together and they were making a huge difference. Like Irene, many people find their purpose in belonging. To a team or a community. Or a group of friends. One field safe, one fields connected, and one fields bigger than oneself. Not even from the science standpoint. Anthropologists have pointed out that belonging is a core need among us human beings. And that is what helped us organize ourselves. And become the dominant species in this world. So, how do we find purpose through belonging? I think a very important aspect is roll. What is the role that we're playing In our team or in a group of friends or in our community. It could be a technical role, which is where the finance person that does the numbers. Or it could be something. Apart from work, man via the one who organizes the fun parties, or we are the one always available when someone needs us. How do we play that role? Some people talk about. I want to make people feel good in every interaction that I have. Some people say, I want to bring a smile to everyone's face. Some on the other end, I want to make people uncomfortable so that the grow. 

Whatever role that we play. It comes from a place of reciprocity where this is again, ingrained at us At a fundamental level. We want to be useful to people. to a group of people, to people around us. that makes us feel a sense of belonging. 

Then once we are useful, we get respect. We get praise. We feel safe in the group. We feel we are valuable and that becomes a source of purpose. Now, if that is you. Think of any group, whether it's work family, friends. What is your role in it? 

How can you do it effectively? 

How can doing it, give you something deeper. So if you're coaching someone let's even in an informal way. How can you do it? Where both you and the other person get something deeper out of it. Not like, Hey, it's one of the things that I'm doing, I'm running around and quickly doing it. 

 So that's the second pillar of purpose people finding purpose within a group of people around them. 

And we get that through belonging. 

Now if that's not you, some people find a deep purpose in making a difference beyond their circle at a societal level. many people gravitate towards causes. Animal rights, poverty, climate inclusion. And often when we think of purpose, this is the common area that we think of. Feeling strongly about something in society and doing something about it. 

So we make a difference. So I won't spend too much time because that's clear. But I will point out. That often we are making a difference at a societal level, even if you're not aware of it. It depends on how we frame it. I'll share a short story from one of my workshops.

 The head of operations was thinking about his purpose. And he taught his purpose was. On the task. Creating excellent systems. as he grew senior in the company, he kept making better and better systems. But then he realized that no, it's not creating the system. 

But it's the people that go through the system who learn from it, who grow from it. So it's creating an environment for people to grow and learn. And later on, they go on to work in this company and in other companies and do well in life. In fact, he's been working for over 30 years now. And he has many people who worked with him. 

Who've gone on to work in other companies and done exceedingly well. And seeing them succeed gives him a youth sense of purpose. So our purpose could be sending people out to different placesand making an impact. And making a difference in this world. So that's another way of thinking about impact. If impact is important to you. Sit back. And think about some of the actions that you're doing. How are those impacting the world? 

They surely are impacting the world, but can you see the connection? And can you create that narrative for yourself? those are the three pillars of purpose. We can get it at a self level through growth. At a community level through belonging. At a society level. Through impact. Now it need not be one of these pillars, maybe the two pillars that are important to us, or maybe all three pillars are important to us. 

That depends on us because purpose is created by us. Yes. that's my core belief. Purpose is not something that is given to us, which we're supposed to figure out. I think we create our own purpose. And I also feel that the process of creating purpose is iterative. We can start somewhere. Like the operations guy, in fact. He did four sessions with me through various workshops and two iteration. He arrived at his final purpose. he started off by thinking it's at the task level, but ended off by realizing that it is at the society level. So it's an iterative process. 

The last thing I would say don't put too much pressure on yourself to live a life of purpose. So every element has purpose instead. Choose a few elements that could add purpose to your life. And often they already exist. 

It's just about deepening that experience that makes life more meaningful. 

Hope you found that useful. 

As an action step. And as you start 2024. Maybe reflect on. What are the areas of purpose that could be important for you? Is it growth through self belonging with the community or impact to the world? Or maybe all three. 

Best of luck as you do this exercise. 

I wish you and your loved ones, a wonderful 2024. 

If you liked this episode, please do share it with friends, family, and colleagues.

 We will be back.

with another episode two weeks from now on January 16. We talk about creativity at work. Hope you join us for that. Did next time have a wonderful day ahead. Bye bye.