What To Do In Life (How To Find Your Life’s Purpose Asking 4 Questions)

What To Do In Life (How To Find Your Life’s Purpose Asking 4 Questions)

If you’re asking ‘what to do in life,’ then this article and blog might just help you

What To Do In Life - How To Find Your Purpose with 4 questions

There are more people who are unhappy in work than there are people who are happy with their career choice. There are so many that simply go through the motions each day. They aren’t living life, they’re just existing. Is that you?

Does that resonate with how your life is?

What to do in life and how to find your purpose is about asking four key questions. These questions include: Have you ever forgotten to eat because you’re so engrossed in what you’re doing? Would you continue with what you are doing in your life now, if you won $30 million on the lottery? What would you do in life if you had just 365 days left to live? And if those questions don’t help, then what about: What would your eulogy say at your own funeral?

Decisions when you’re younger about what to do in life

Going back nearly forty years, I recall returning home with my parents from a careers event at school.

Prior to this event, I’d been set on becoming a marine biologist.

I loved anything about nature, animals and the underwater world (I still do).

My idol as a kid was Jacques Cousteau. For those of you who don’t know who Jacques Cousteau is; Cousteau was a pioneer of scuba diving. He co-developed the Aqualung. He was also a leading marine conservationist.

I was in the middle of doing my ‘A’ levels at the time. I had been researching which universities to study marine biology at. Plus my parents had been supporting me in this process…

Anyway, on the way home in the car, I built up my courage to ask my parents: ‘what would you say if I decided to change my mind about what I’ve decided to do with my life?’

The anticipation and the way in which I asked the question, was in itself a clue to my concern. I was worried about my parents reaction to even the thought of changing my mind.

I worried that they would be annoyed at the time they’d already spent researching the universities with me. I also worried that they’d be mad at me for changing my mind.

Of course their response to my question was to ask ‘what it was that I wanted to do in life instead.’

What did I want to do in life?

Going back to the careers convention, I had met the ICAEW. For those who don’t know, this is the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales. The two people I spoke to at this organisation had explained that, as a Chartered Accountant I would earn lots of money, be able to travel the world and always be in demand.

That sounded like the perfect career to me. I decided in my young mind to keep the scuba diving and marine biology part for my hobby. If I got a good paying job, I’d have the money to travel the world scuba diving! Life would be just great.

What about the conversation with my parents?

Going back to my conversation with my parents in the car, I explained to them that I wanted to become a Chartered Accountant. I remember them being so happy about my change of heart. They even explained that our near neighbour (who I cut the grass for at the time for pocket money) was a Chartered Accountant.

My immediate thoughts and response to this was…ca-ching!. This neighbour was seriously rich. He had a very large house and loads of money.

Needless to say, my parents never even questioned my change of heart. They didn’t even need to debate my change of mind from wanting to be a marine biologist to becoming a Chartered Accountant.

Fast forward 40-odd years and was my choice of what to do in life the right choice?

I qualified as an accountant in 1988. I even spent time working in Australia for a while in my capacity as a Chartered Accountant. In fact, whilst I was there I became the ‘Flying Auditor.’ So instead of the flying doctor, who flies to visit his patients, I flew around Western Australia visiting clients to audit their books.

Not quite so glamorous sounding as the flying doctor I admit! But I have to say, the six months I spent in Australia were some of the best six months of my life.

Now that I look back, I don’t know whether it would have been better to have been a marine biologist or not. Becoming a Chartered Accountant has provided me with a great career. I have traveled the world. I’ve also met loads of wonderful people. Plus I’ve made a reasonable amount of money in the process.

What I learnt gave me a good grounding in business, which allowed me to start, run, buy, sell and grow businesses.

But…

What is the ‘but’ you might ask?

For someone who has made a reasonable amount of money. For someone who’s traveled the world and visited some amazing places. Why would there even be a but?

Let me answer this question in the next section, before I move on in this article to explain the four questions you should ask to find your life’s purpose.

Whatever you do in life, make sure you enjoy yourself doing it

I’ve finally come to the conclusion after many years of wondering; no matter what I’m doing I should always find the enjoyment in it.

I’ve spent many hours pondering over what I should do in life. I’ve questioned whether my chosen path was the right one. But I’ve realised you can end up living in your mind and not living your life.

Do you live in your head? Do you constantly ask what I’d call as dis-empowering questions.

When instead you could be enjoying life for a start.

But also, you could be asking empowering questions like: ‘what amazing things could I do in life?’ ‘What amazing abilities do you possess that you could use to create something really special?

Don’t spend time looking back wonderingif only,’ or ‘if I’d just done this,’ or ‘if I’d just done that,‘ or ‘I wish I’d done this, that or the other!’ This is all wasted energy.

Plus it’ll get you nowhere fast.

Don’t waste time questioning whether what you’ve already done was right or wrong.

Don’t spend most of your time thinking or worrying about the future either.

Both the future and the past don’t actual exist, they are only in your head.

If you don’t believe me, try to predict the next lottery winning numbers. Or try to pick the next stock that’s going to sky-rocket and make you millions of dollars.

It’s just not possible. The future is only in your mind. You can’t go there, you can only imagine it.

Don’t spend your life in your head

I’m not saying that you can’t dream.

I’m not saying that you shouldn’t plan your future.

Not at all, as these are equally as important. But I’m sure that I’m not the only person in the world who has spent the lion-share of my time ‘in my head.’

If you’re in your head either worrying about the ‘what might happen,’ or you’re in your head beating yourself up about the mistakes you’ve made, this really doesn’t help you at all.

You can’t change the past, so don’t worry about it. You can influence where you end up in the future from the actions you take today. But if you constantly live in the future in your mind, you are missing out on so much of what’s around you today…i.e. right now, this second, oops that second just went by, now it’s another second. Oh and there’s another second just gone!

What if you really don’t like what you are doing in your life?

If you really don’t like what you’re doing, or if you are finding if it difficult to see the ‘enjoyment element,’ in what you are doing, then it’s time for a change.

You should never feel stuck. Never be afraid to make that change.

But don’t spend 10 years procrastinating over the decision.

Also don’t spend all of your time in your head thinking about whether you should change what you are doing in your life, or not. If you do, each day that passes is another day spent not enjoying yourself. If necessary, speak to your family or friends about what you could do.

Seek outside help for sure, but don’t spend all of your life thinking about what you could be doing. Either find a way to enjoy what you are already doing, or make a decision to change.

Then just do it.

Life is amazing, however you look at it. But why do I say that?

In the next section, you may think I’ve lost my marbles or lost the plot! But please bear with me.

Ingredients to make a human

Imagine for a moment, if I were to provide you with the following ingredients. Well actually these are the main six elements of the human body, which make up around 99.15% of humans:

  • Oxygen
  • Carbon
  • Hydrogen
  • Nitrogen
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus

The other 0.85% is made up of another five elements: potassium, sulfur, chlorine and magnesium.

Just to help you along the way, the oxygen and hydrogen elements of the human body are represented by water. Over half or somewhere between 50-70% of our bodies are made up of water.

Creating a human

This is the part where you’ll probably start to think that this guy has lost the plot! But please stay with me, assuming you’ve continued to read this article up to this point. He says hopefully.

If I were to give you the above ingredients and asked you to create a human from scratch. I’d provide you with a lab. You could have all the equipment you needed, like test tubes, Bunsen burners, Erlenmeyer flasks, distillation equipment and whatever else you need.

But what you can’t use are two other humans. You are not permitted to create a human in the conventional way, i.e. by two people conceiving under normal circumstances.

Where would you begin? What would you do? Do you think it’s even possible?

Now you probably do think that I’ve gone completely mad at this stage, but please stay with me!

You are so special that you should embrace each day and cherish every breath you take

The point I’m making, is to demonstrate just how special humans are. It would be absolutely impossible to recreate a human in a lab. I know man is creating artificial intelligence (AI). But this is far from actual human life.

I’m nigh on 100% certain that even if we were to jump forward 1,000 years from now, the AI on planet earth will probably be incredible that far into the future.

But it will still be a far cry from actual human life.

Too many of us take what we are for granted.

We should all take time to think about how special our bodies are. How powerful and creative our minds are. Each one of us, which includes you, is extremely special and totally unique. There was never any one like you before you were borne, and there’ll never be another one like you ever again once you are gone.

I’ve also now written an article about how to get over the death of a loved one.

Thinking about this and the eulogy about my father, it included a section on how unique my Dad was and that there would never be another like him.

You are unique too.

Stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself how amazing you are. Then get on and live your life.

Be grateful for what you have, focus on the good in your life and you’ll get more of the great stuff

What I am saying is to be truly grateful for what you do have. Take pleasure in knowing how unique you are.

Wake up each day and appreciate what you have.

Start with a simple appreciation, like the simple act of appreciating you are able to breath.

Take a look out of your window when you wake up. Appreciate nature. Appreciate what you can see.

Just before writing this article, I learnt that two of the employees at the business I sold around two years ago committed suicide. This shocked me greatly.

Both these guys worked there when I owned the business. They were both lovely people and I have no idea why they’d even consider killing themselves. They clearly had demons, but I wished they could see how special they were. How unique they were and how they should appreciate their life, however it was panning out at the time. Very sad.

Practicing gratefulness or being grateful is one of the most uplifting things you can do. It’s almost impossible for you to get depressed when you practice being grateful.

Having said all of this, I’m sure you are still looking for the questions you should ask to find your life’s purpose. But it’s important to put context around this. It’s important for you to enjoy life now whilst you transition to your life’s purpose. This is important because it can take some time to find what you truly love doing.

Anyway, on to the questions…

So what questions should you ask to find your life’s purpose?

I hope you are now feeling extremely special and unique at this stage of reading this article.

If not, please re-read the last section. Also, if at any stage in your day you begin to feel depressed. If you start to feel down, please come back to this page and read it again.

This is the first of the four questions you should ask to find your life’s purpose…

1. Have you ever forgotten to eat because you’re so engrossed in what you’re doing?

If you’ve ever had the experience of getting so engrossed in what you’re doing that you completely forgot to eat, this must have meant you were enjoying it beyond the need to satisfy your hunger.

In fact, many a time when I’m at home writing, I miss lunch altogether. I get so engrossed in what I’m doing that I’m oblivious to my stomach’s urges.

This is a pretty good indication that whatever that ‘thing‘ is you are doing, if it makes you forget to eat, it must be what you absolutely love doing.

I’m not talking about when you miss lunch at work because you have a deadline to meet and you feel under pressure to keep going and miss lunch. In that case, you’re missing lunch for a whole different set of reasons.

What I’m talking about is a genuine and total immersion into what you’re doing. This is when you don’t even realise the time and the hours flash by. It’s when hours feel like minutes.

Think about a time when you were growing up

I’d like you to imagine a time when you were growing up. Think about a time when you played as a kid with a toy you loved.

How did that feel?

Did time seem to just float by and you enjoyed every minute?

When I was younger, this happened to me first when I played Lego and when I made either Airfix or Tamiya models.

I’d spend hours creating and making things, and the time would just fly by, I was totally oblivious to time. It was only sometimes when my Mum would call me down for dinner that I’d come out of my bedroom. And sometimes reluctantly at that.

This creativeness as a kid for me has turned into the love of writing. Writing began for me when I wrote my very first novel. In fact I found my love of writing and I wrote my novel Nothing Left But Fear when I was going through chemotherapy for cancer.

Since then, I started my what to do in life blog, along with a few other blogs, and I love it.

For you this maybe something completely different. Look for what you absolutely love doing. Look at how you can either apply this to working in a job for someone else. Or alternatively, look at how you might turn your passion into a business. But either way, you should be looking at spending your time each day doing the thing you love.

Remember that even when you find your life’s passion, there will be parts of it you won’t like

But always remember one thing. No matter what you do, there’ll always be a part of what you do that you’ll probably hate. There will be elements to a job or of running a business that you don’t enjoy.

Perhaps your passion might be to become a successful actor or singer.

With success in singing or acting comes fame. Ask any celebrity what part of their job they hate. I guarantee it will be the fame. It will be the hounding press and the lack of privacy.

But this is how success in the field of acting and singing gets made. The press help with your success, so it’s something you would need to learn to live with. They go hand in hand.

So don’t think that by finding your life’s purpose, that everything will be completely rosy. It won’t.

That’s another reason why it’s so important to learn to enjoy certain parts of what you do now. This will stand you in good stead when you begin to work on your passion.

Be grateful. Be in the moment. Live life to the full each and every day.

2. Would you continue with what you are doing in your life now if you won $30 million on the lottery?

I don’t know how many people do the lottery, but I imagine around the world it must be millions, if not billions of people.

All these billions of people wish for the big win. They yearn for the millions of dollars of lottery money so they can change their lives.

Do you do the lottery?

Do you dream about winning $30 million in cash?

Do you dream about what you’d do with that amount of money? What would you buy first?

Perhaps a new mansion, a new fast car, a yacht and plenty of first-class holidays.

So please ponder the question ‘what would you do in life if you won the lottery?’

Would you continue to do what you are currently doing, if you won the lottery?

I know many people who say, ‘if I won the lottery I’d immediately give up my job.’ Is that you?

But more importantly, if this is what you say, change this to a question. Ask yourself; ‘what would I do if I won the lottery?’

If you had the security of all that money sitting in the bank. If you didn’t feel under pressure to go to your day job each day, how differently would you feel and think.

Spend time and create that space now. Let your mind wonder. Be creative. Have some fun. Anything is possible and you can do anything you like.

If you’d change what you do for a career if you won $30 million on the lottery, why are you still doing it now?

If when I asked the question; ‘what would yo do if you won $30 million on the lottery,’ you would leave your current job or business, why are you staying there currently?

Let me explain to you; the odds of you winning one of the million dollar prizes on the lottery are so small, you might as well not actually buy lottery tickets in the first place.

Take it from me, you are far more likely to be struck by lightning. You are four times more likely to be hit by lightning than you are in winning the lottery. For example, the chances of being fatally struck by lightning is 1 in 10 million.

What does it say to you if you’d give up your day job if you won the lottery?

If you are guilty of saying just that, that is if you are one of the many thousands, or more likely millions of people who would give up the day job if you won the lottery, ask yourself the question; ‘why are you doing the day job you are doing?’

If it’s really not what you want to be doing in life, why spend the majority of your time doing it. The reality is that most people work at least 5 days out of the 7 days in a week. Assuming you have 4 weeks holiday per year (I understand the amount of holiday you get depends on where you live), this equates to a total of 240 days out of 365 you spend working. That’s 66% of each year you live spending time doing something you hate!

Why would you do that to yourself?

Don’t worry if this describes you by the way, it’s normal and you’re not alone. You may have colleagues who are in the same boat as you. You may have friends who relate to your situation, friends who are the same as you.

But always remember, you have a choice. The only reason you don’t have a choice is because this is what you tell yourself. The only limitation on you is you. Only you can change your life. Only you can make the decision to find your purpose in life.

3. What would you do in life if you had just 365 days left to live?

I know what it’s like to be told, you have only months to live due to cancer. I also know how it feels to be the first son to be told that your Dad has only weeks to live due to a brain tumor.

When I was diagnosed with cancer, I didn’t originally want to go through chemotherapy. My specialist told me that if I didn’t take the chemo option, I would be dead within months. This was the 17th December 2014, so just before Christmas. This could be my last Christmas, and my wife and I talked about the other ‘lasts’ that we would have together.

It took a week for me to come to terms with having cancer. It took all that time to realise that I was in denial. But during that time, I was also thinking about what I would do for my last few months on this planet. But as you obviously know from the fact that I’m writing this article for you, I did take the chemo. I fought the cancer and survived. Three years later and my specialist is now telling me that I’m in the safe zone, where the cancer is unlikely to return.

Why is it important to imagine only having 365 days to live?

So why am I telling you this. Well the reason that I’m explaining all this to you is that I made some difficult decisions both during my treatment and after I was cured of cancer. Although, I still went through a couple of extra bouts of sepsis after the cancer was gone, due to my knocked-out immune system.

I experienced the exact same scenario I’m trying to paint for you, although I had less months to live, not 365 days to live.

The reason I use this as a question to ask, is because I know how it feels. I know how important that question is.

Firstly, don’t let life pass by without you enjoying each and every day you’re here. Don’t spend another moment not enjoying whatever it is you do. But more importantly, don’t waste another moment avoiding doing what it is you’ve yearned to do in your life.

I am hoping that by explaining my story to you about being diagnosed with cancer that it evokes emotions within you. I want you to imagine what that feels like to be told you have cancer. I want you to picture how you may feel when your doctor tells you there’s nothing they can do for you. Imagine for a moment that you only have 365 days left on Planet Earth!

And if that doesn’t move you, then perhaps the next question might…

4. What would your eulogy say at your own funeral?

I recently went to a double funeral. It was the funeral of my wife’s aunt and uncle who died within a week of one another.

The eulogies for them were as you can imagine very moving. But these had a difference for me. They contained plenty of humour. But they also included plenty of what they’d both achieved. How they had spent almost everyday living life to the full.

I began thinking about what my eulogy might say at my funeral. I thought about what I’d like it to say, but as I thought about it, I realised that there was still loads to do in my life to complete my own eulogy.

This is what gave me the idea for this section of this article. I thought this would be good advice to others who read my blog. It will make you think about the end of your life.

I would therefore like you to imagine for a moment and put yourself in the shoes of the person who reads out your eulogy at your funeral. To help you visualise this moment, think about the music you’d like played at your funeral. Think about the people who you’d like there to say their last farewells to you.

What would your eulogy say. What will you have achieved? Imagine all the wonderful things you read about yourself in your very own words. You can begin creating the perfect eulogy, which of course has already been partly written. All you have to do is to write the rest of it, between now and when you die.

But I hope for your sake you will live for much more than just 365 days.

My concluding thoughts on what to do in life and how to find your purpose

Having asked the questions I think you should ask in order to find your passion and life’s purpose, don’t let what you are doing now stop you from enjoying life until you discover what you really want to do.

Look at what you are doing currently and think about what doe bring you joy. Think about changing your attitude to how you go about doing your job each day.

Enjoy working with your work colleagues, even if you don’t actually like some of them. Find enjoyment in certain aspects of the job itself. Or perhaps it might be to enjoy the environment where you work.

Whatever it is, focus on the good things. Focus on being grateful for the little things, but with a mind on how you’re going to improve your life. Spend time focusing on what you do want, rather than what you don’t want.

You will be drawn to what you focus on. So if you focus on what you hate, if you constantly think about the job you hate, this is where you’ll stay. You will be stuck in a job that doesn’t fulfill you completely.

Whereas, if you focus on what you do want in life, this will draw you to what you want.

I hope you enjoyed this article about what to do in life…

I’d love to hear from you. Tell us about your life and what you’re doing in the comments below. Please also share your thoughts and ideas on this article too.

If this article hasn’t answered all of your questions. If you have more questions about your life and your life’s purposer (or specifically about what to do in life), please comment below with your questions.

There will also be many more articles about what to do in life for you to read and learn about this subject.

Have fun and live life to the full. Practice gratitude and show love.