The Meaning of Life: From Purpose to Action

June 22nd, 2005 by Steve Pavlina

Once you’ve identified your overall purpose/mission, the next step is to turn that purpose into achievable goals, projects, and actions.

I’ve written extensively about this subject already, so I don’t have anything profoundly new to share within the scope of this “meaning of life” series. This entry will mostly be links to previous content.

Once you have your overall context and your purpose worked out, you begin setting goals that would be congruent with that purpose. Here’s a blog entry that explains which questions to ask and how to get started on that: Living Congruently.

The basic idea is that you must align your purpose with your needs, abilities, and desires. Your purpose tells you what you should do. Your needs (money, shelter, clothing) dictate what you must do. Your abilities (skills, talents, education) dictate what you can do. And your desires (enjoyable work, passion) dictate what you want to do. Taken individually each of these areas will only point you in a general direction, but when you put them all together, you’ll find it easier to set specific, practical goals. This way you’ll be setting goals that help you fulfill your purpose, meet your needs, do what you love to do, and do what you’re really good at.

Next, for more specific info on goal-setting, read this article:
The Power of Clarity

Finally, for turning goals into projects and actions, read:
Quarterly Planning Time
More on Planning

That’s a lot of reading to be sure, but this is a complex subject. There are whole books written just on subsets of this topic, like David Allen’s Getting Things Done and Stephen Covey’s First Things First.

Tomorrow we’ll cover the topic of transitioning, moving from a non-purpose-driven life to a purpose-driven life.


This post is part four of a six-part series on the meaning of life:
Part 1: Intro
Part 2: How Shall We Live?
Part 3: Discover Your Purpose
Part 4: From Purpose to Action
Part 5: Transitioning
Part 6: Conscious Evolution



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