Everyone has purpose. However, in the wake of my graduation, I find myself wondering what my purpose is in this world. The big question everyone has, myself included, is what comes next. Where will I go? What will I do? How will my future endeavors affect society? What will I do to change this world?
Hearing a slew of motivational speeches directed at graduates like myself, prompting us to become innovators; to propel the world to a higher level of greatness, I immediately feel compelled to go out and discover the cure for cancer. Sitting in the gymnasium, holding my crisp and shiny degree for Drama and Mass Communication, I feel a wave of selfishness wash over me. I pursued these degrees because I wanted to, to fulfill my own dreams and bring myself happiness. I suddenly feel terribly inadequate and undeserving of the responsibility bestowed upon my shoulders to change the world.
It’s wonderful to have that inspiration, and I’m honored to know the world puts that much faith in our abilities, but an intense amount of pressure rides on those expectations and it can be suffocating. To keep myself breathing, I’ve come to the realization that every profession in the world, even ones initially sought to fulfill our own dreams, has the power to help the world. That our purpose is not necessarily to blatantly change the world by eliminating hunger or solving all the world’s problems, but can be as simple as living the life you want.
Every career path serves a purpose in this world just as every person has the ability to change the world. Acknowledge your career as an extension of yourself and use it to propel yourself and the rest of the world forward. Challenge yourself. Work to become a better you, whoever that may be. I feel today many people allow society to determine their purpose, living the way society says you should, in a monotonous pattern, continuously sacrificing their dreams to live a safe and unhappy life. There is more than one way to live. It’s hard to comfortably stray from that pattern, especially in a world as unstable as ours, but if you have the courage to let your personal purpose guide you, you will lead a fuller life, I guarantee you. By indulging in your own interests, you will better the world (provided you don’t embrace a life of criminality). When you do something you love, you emit positivity, passion and creativity, key characteristics of problem solvers and innovators, providing one with the power to change the world. Of course, the world today can’t survive on happy feelings alone, but positivity is contagious, inspiring others to take hold of their life and enhance their personal circumstances. As long as you live with integrity and positivity, there is a purpose to every track in life.
“Whatever you are, be a good one.” – Abraham Lincoln
Everyone is part of a domino effect. Next time you find yourself having an existential crisis, wondering what the meaning and purpose of your life is, remember that everyone’s actions, especially your own, define future generations, living in the memories of youthful onlookers. Everyone leaves their mark. You may not be commemorated in books, monuments or films, but the memories and impressions you leave behind will hold a stronger tribute to your essence and your life. Don’t underestimate the power you have on those around you. Your purpose is to live a life full of passion, love and joy. That alone will provide endless inspiration to those around you to lead a similar lifestyle.
As I’m figuring out the next stages of my life, I reason with myself that I’m not going to go out and eliminate world hunger single-handedly or solve the global energy crisis. But I will live my life with meaning. A passionate life full of light and happiness doing what I love and encouraging others to adopt the same outlook. That is my purpose in life, and I will lead by example. Whatever you esteem to be, it will have a profound effect on the world. Define the meaning of your life, don’t let anyone else define it for you. You and only you can decide your “why,” your purpose for pursuing the life you want. Go open that bakery, base your life in travel, write the next great novel or devote your time to mission work. Whatever you want to do, do it. Now is the time. This is your life, live it with meaning.