How to lead a purpose-driven life: 6 ingredients, 21 questions

This presentation covers six ingredients of leading a purpose-driven life:

  1. Purpose: An overarching goal that defines a purpose-driven life. It is like a center, a core where one returns from time to time. Exemplified by the statement: “What were you born to do” … The question needs to be answered in a way that the purpose benefits others. Read more about purpose in this 2017 commencement speech by Tim Cook at MIT –
    “After countless twists and turns, at last, 20 years ago, my search brought me to Apple. At the time, the company was struggling to survive. Steve Jobs had just returned to Apple, and had launched the ‘Think Different’ campaign. He wanted to empower the crazy ones—the misfits, the rebels and the troublemakers, the round pegs, and the square holes—to do the best work. If we could just do that, Steve knew we could really change the world. Before that moment, I had never met a leader with such passion or encountered a company with such a clear and compelling purpose: to serve humanity. It was just that simple. Serve humanity. And it was in that moment, after 15 years of searching, something clicked. I finally felt aligned. Aligned with a company that brought together challenging, cutting edge work with a higher purpose. Aligned with a leader who believed that technology which didn’t exist yet could reinvent tomorrow’s world. Aligned with myself and my own deep need to serve something greater.” #purpose
  2. Passion: “People with passion can change the world for the better” – Steve Jobs. Passion is defined as the activities or thoughts that we return to time and again. When we are passionate, we effortlessly engage in the activity. We do not see the passage of time. We work hard but do not feel the pain of the hard work. At the end, we want to do more and more. We have a sense of fulfilment and satisfaction. We feel energized than tired by the activity.
  3. Partnerships: Successful partnerships require sharing a vision. It means you can work with others in an “interchangeable” manner. True partners compliment each other. They get each other automatically. They have a “shared sense of purpose”. Unlike certain partnerships that are marked by deep-rooted mistrust.
  4. Impact: Purpose needs an impact. An impact that is larger than life. That can connect a single individual’s goal to a larger purpose. When the project and vision is big it has a momentum and driving force of its own. This what Mark Zuckerberg said in his commencement address at Harvard in 2017:
    One of my favorite stories is when John F Kennedy visited the NASA space center, he saw a janitor carrying a broom and he walked over and asked what he was doing. The janitor responded: “Mr. President, I’m helping put a man on the moon”. Purpose is that sense that we are part of something bigger than ourselves, that we are needed, that we have something better ahead to work for. Purpose is what creates true happiness.
    People who aim for making impact are the ones who live a more meaningful life.
  5. Work: Doing purposeful work is what gives meaning to most people. Sometimes called “deep work”, at other times, it is called being “in the flow”. Producing a body of work that serves others is deeply meaningful.
  6. Mindfulness: Being fully present in the moment is mindfulness. It means being aware of what is happening – inside, outside, around. How thoughts rise, form, waft. How emotions come and drift. How we act upon our impulses or let them pass. It also refers to deeper reflections on more serious and meaningful aspects of life – dissolving our ego, connecting with a superior force, observing the nature of life. I have described a Buddhism inspired approach to mindfulness in this series.