Day 4: The Connection Between Purpose and Happiness

When we start to make a difference and live a purpose driven life, something amazing happens. We become happier and more fulfilled, and I can’t wait for you to experience this. It doesn’t have to be anything big like going on a year-long mission trip or setting out to cure the world of cancer. Even small gestures that make a difference can have a big impact on how you feel.

When you help a fellow student pick up a stack of dropped books, run an errand for an elderly neighbor, loan a great book that’s had an impact on your own life to a friend, or remind a fellow grocery shopper of a bag they left behind, it feels good doesn’t it? We like to help out and make a difference. It doesn’t matter how small the act is.

We’ve been social creatures who rely on each other for millennia. Over the course of that time our bodies and brains have evolved to give us positive rewards for helping out and making a difference – this might include those “warm and fuzzy” feelings you’ve heard about. It feels good to live with purpose and make a difference. It just plain makes us happy.

It’s one of the biggest reasons why living with purpose is such an important goal. At the end of the day, we all just want to be happy, or at the very least, happier than we are right now. Looking at popular media and advertising in particular, it seems that the key to happiness is more material goods. We’re expected to believe that bigger and more expensive houses and cars, more clothes, shoes, furniture, electronics, workout gear and the like are what will makes us truly and authentically happy. If only we can buy and accumulate enough “stuff”, we’ll feel much better. Sadly, quite the opposite is true. The more you own, the more you’ll worry about and feel the stress and need to take care of, taking away valuable time that you could be spending on something that feeds your soul, your goals, and your heart.

The key to happiness is NOT  to own more “stuff”. It’s to live a purpose driven life and make a difference in the world. It’s one of the reasons why minimalism (living with fewer possessions, keeping things simple, the intentional promotion of the things we most value and the removal of everything that distracts us from it) is becoming so popular. When your life and mind isn’t cluttered with all the extra stuff, you feel calmer, more in control, and have the time and mental energy to figure out your own purpose.

A purpose driven life is one lived within our core values. It caters to our need to cooperate and work together. It strengthens our confidence and makes us feel needed and valuable. All of this leads to an increased feeling of happiness. The moral of the story is stop buying stuff you don’t need, stop chasing that high-paying job that makes you miserable for 60 hours a week, and start living your life with purpose.