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Find Your Purpose in Life by Asking the 5 WHYs

Have you ever found yourself asking the question, "What is my purpose in life?" It's a common question that many people ask themselves at one point or another. Finding your purpose in life can bring a sense of fulfillment and direction. However, it's not always an easy task to accomplish.

One of the first steps in finding your purpose is to start exploring your passions and interests. What makes you happy? What excites you? What do you find yourself constantly thinking about or wanting to learn more about? Sometimes this is easier said than done, but in this post, I'm going to walk you through a way to determine your deepest why!

This subject is a foundational question to exploring your dreams in life and how to accomplish them. To go deeper, check out my book Conquer Your Summit: How to Build a Five-Year Plan & Live Your Best Life.

5 Minutes Can Change Your Life

Don't start pondering the answers to life's toughest questions and jump head-first into a spiral of despair from the overwhelming feelings centered around your life purpose. Instead, grab a blank sheet of paper and something to write with to learn the value of a mind map. You may already know what a mind map is, great! But for those of you who do not, I will explain briefly so we can jump into the exercise.

How to Mind Map:

  1. Write a single question in a circle in the center of your blank sheet of paper.

  2. Set a timer for 5 minutes.

  3. Start thinking of words, ideas, thoughts, solutions, etc to answer that central question. For each idea that comes to mind, you will draw a line from the center bubble and write the idea at the end of your line.

  4. Repeat drawing the lines from the center with new ideas until the time ends.

  5. If you think of ideas that build on your ideas then draw lines from those ideas outward.

  6. DO NOT limit yourself! All thoughts and ideas are good ones. This is to open your mind and not close out anything. Write EVERYTHING down that comes to mind.

  7. If you need more time after the timer goes off, try another 5 minutes.

Now that you know how to mind map, let's go through several mind map questions that will end in the creation of your Life Purpose Statement.

Make sure to center yourself in a quiet peaceful environment so you have the clarity to think through the answers.

Mind Map #1

What events, people, thoughts, or interactions have deeply affected me in my life?

  1. Write this question in the center of your page.

  2. Set a timer for 5 minutes.

  3. Let everything out! The good thoughts, the bad ones, and everything in between.

By reflecting on the experiences in the past, you'll find the things you most care about now. Either because you wish you were still doing them now or because you are thankful you left things behind. This is the fuel for getting yourself to where you want to be today. It's taking time for reflection that is important.

Mind Map #2

How do I feel about life right now?

  1. Write this question in the center of your page.

  2. Set a timer for 5 minutes.

  3. Let everything out!

Think about your dreams, happiness, and joy in life. Also, consider the difficult times or hardships you have faced that stopped you from accomplishing your dreams. Looking at the bad times is a technique to inspire you to realize what you want to improve.

Mind Map #3

What does my ideal life look like?

  1. Write this question in the center of your page.

  2. Set a timer for 5 minutes.

  3. Let everything out!

Picture your ideal life in your mind and start writing every bubble that you see. Think about your personal goals, financial situation, career objectives, and community desires.

Identifying Common Themes

Once you have completed all three mind maps grab another clean sheet of paper. You are now going to review the mind maps to see if any common themes are popping up. For example, do you see a lot of idea bubbles centered around any of the following (but not limited to)?:

  • family

  • friends

  • career

  • health & fitness

  • helping others

  • finances

  • travel

  • spirituality

  • education

On your clean sheet of paper write down three of your top themes across your mind map. You will use these in the next step!

Asking Your Five Whys

If you are buying a house or looking for an apartment, you generally don't look at a picture of the front door and say "I'll Take It!" without taking a look inside. You will most likely do a walk through and in the case of buying a home, you are even going to hire an inspection team to understand all the potential lurking issues that aren't in the easy-to-view surface level.

In the case of looking at the themes of your mind maps and developing your Life Purpose Statement, you can't accept a surface-level assessment either! From your theme list, you need to come up with a couple of high-level life-purpose thoughts.

My life purpose is to BLANK...

Examples of the BLANK to help your brain get moving:

  • to help animal

  • to afford a healthier body and lifestyle

  • to travel the world

  • to build a home

  • to have a family

  • to create career success

  • to be able to contribute to environmental protection

  • to help others

  • to inspire

  • to live with joy

Now once you have selected three purpose-like statements you need to go through a five why exercise to get past the surface and into a deeper inspection.

Let's take the example of "to travel the world"

Now, ask yourself...why?

#1 Why do you want to "travel the world"

  • I want to travel the world because it seems exciting.

#2 Why does it seem exciting?

  • Because I live in a small town and I haven't been anywhere that exciting in my life. It would be spontaneous.

#3 Why haven't you been anywhere? Why would it be spontaneous?

  • I have been prioritizing my education and focusing on getting a job so I never made time to go anywhere. It would be spontaneous because not very many people I know are doing something like that.

#4 Why are your prioritizing your education?

  • I want to become a teacher so I can educate people and make a difference in the community.

#5 Why do you want to make a difference in the community?

  • I believe in giving back and my social skills are aligned to empower people to grow for themselves to become the people they want to be.

Alright, you can see how the five whys take the conversation about wanting to travel the world to another level. Now, you need to take those answers and wrap them into a Life Purpose Statement.

Try filling this life purpose is to BLANK because of BLANK.

My life purpose travel the world because...I want to expand my learning outside of my current environment, experience other cultures and be able to bring that knowledge back into my teaching to grow the community.

Now that's a life purpose! It's Your turn!

So, I Have My Life Purpose...Now What?

Creating a Life Purpose Statement is hard to do. It takes effort. You have to sit down and methodically think through your life, feelings, and desires to craft a message that resonates with you. But why do you need it?

Inevitably you will be faced with difficult times in life. Maybe it's during your path to accomplishing your dreams or maybe it's just a bunch of little things going wrong over and over that drive you down. In any case, you need your Life Purpose Statement or your deepest why to keep you going.

When you find yourself spiraling in the wrong direction through your emotions, take a moment and review your why to get yourself back on track. Write it down somewhere that you will see it every day like the bathroom mirror, nightstand, or on your way out of the house.

It's also important to remember that finding your purpose in life is not a one-time event. It's an ongoing process that requires self-reflection and adjustment. Your purpose may change as you grow and evolve as a person, and that's okay.

Ultimately, finding your purpose in life is about living a life that is true to who you are and what you value. It's about finding meaning and fulfillment in the things that you do. So, take some time to explore your passions and interests, and don't be afraid to take risks and try new things. Who knows – you just might discover your true purpose in life.


Written by Aliki Samone

Author of Conquer Your Summit: How to Build a Five-Year Plan & Live Your Best Life

Author Bio:

Aliki is a vibrant, colorful entrepreneur who lives for the fusion of science and creativity. She is always ready for an adventure! Having grown up with regular family trips to the great outdoors, she makes it a priority to continue this tradition throughout her life to find serenity with nature.

Aliki spent the first ten years of her career designing spacecraft. As her career evolved, she transitioned to becoming the VP of program management at a startup. This experience taught her the intricacies of planning for complicated engineering systems, and she extended these practices into her personal life. When Aliki realized the power of planning, the wisdom she received from her profession in combination with getting more in touch with her nature was the fertile ground out of which the Summit Method grew.

Aliki nurtures her creative side by writing and recording folk music, performing music regularly, and taking her art to the next level by becoming a professional muralist.

She finds her inspiration and peace when she travels in her sprinter camper van to go hiking, kayaking, and climbing new sites. The bigger the mountain, the more diverse the journey—and the more exciting the challenge becomes!

Aliki is passionate about reaching for the stars and wants to use her life experience to help others pursue their own passions.


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