1. Heart wisdom - Ask what if?
There's a story of a student and a master. One day, the student asks his master the purpose of his life. She answers, "Only you can find that, but knowing of your purpose is not found in your mind, but rather in your heart.
"If you knew, right now, that you were going to die tomorrow, what would you most regret that you had not accomplished?"
He responded that he would regret not making peace with his family and not creating his own center for learning. The master smiled and said, "See how you discovered it for yourself. Now, it is now up to you to go and make these your reality." Your answer is waiting for you inside.
2. What makes you feel alive?
What makes hours feel like minutes? What puts you into the zone? Creativity, your relationships, solving problems, teaching people, exploring. For me, I love writing. The hours disappear. For you, it could be painting, hiking, looking after others.
3. Turning pain into purpose: What breaks your heart?
What suffering have you witnessed that made you feel – I have to do something about this. And kept you awake at night. That’s a powerful clue. For me that was seeing my child suffering from stress and depression. There was nothing around that could help her – I jumped on a quest to get some answers. That’s how Project Happiness was born. So what keeps you up at night, this is FUEL you can harness to make a change. Is there something you would like to change?
- If you love it and you’re great at it – that’s your passion
- If you’re great at it, and you are paid for it, that’s your profession
- If you’re paid for it and the world needs it, that’s your vocation, your calling
- If the world needs it and you eat, sleep, and breath it, that’s your mission. The sweet spot where they all connect is called IKIGAI, a Japanese word meaning your raison d’etre, reason for being, and it includes joy, well-being and sense of meaning and purpose.
4. Are you a specialist or a renaissance person?
It doesn’t have to be just one thing – you might be eternally curious, going deep into several areas. There’s a name for that. Emily Wapnik in her Ted Talk says don’t worry if you cant stick to one thing, it means instead of a specialist you are a multi-potentialite – this is awesome – the world needs you. You are good at:
- Idea synthesis – innovation happens at the intersection of 2 or more fields
- Rapid learning – not afraid to try something new, skills transferable
- Adaptability (pivot to meet the needs of the market)
5. Gratitude leads to giving which leads to better relationships.
Robert Emmons, a pioneer in gratitude found that people who had gratitude for the little things in life were more likely to try to “contribute to the world beyond themselves.” When we experience how others make the world better, we want to do the same. This alone can turn the tide of loneliness and disconnection that so many people feel. Kindness is contagious. What have you done that gave you a skill that can be used for a cause? What makes us happy is the feeling of capability put into action. When you use your powers for good, your purpose will find you.
Randy Taran is the Founder and CEO of the global organization, Project Happiness. With a loyal following of 2.5 million people, she has been covered in O magazine, NPR, and The Huffington Post. As the producer of an award-winning documentary on the nature of happiness, she facilitated interviews with George Lucas, Richard Gere, and neuroscientist Richard Davidson. Her best-selling book on happiness became the basis for curriculum in over 120 countries worldwide. She has worked with First Ladies, Ministers of Education, and major thought leaders, for nearly a decade has served as a board member of the Dalai Lama Foundation and is on the board of the United Nations-sanctioned International Day of Happiness. Randy, a master in NLP, is a sought-after international speaker on the topics of happiness habits, preventative wellness, and emotional resilience. Order a copy of Randy's latest book: Emotional Advantage!