A few basic ideas on finding purpose in life

I’ve been reading “The Rough Guide to Happiness 1” from Nick Baylis (I just can not remember the spelling of his name).


I’m not sure what to think of the book – and it seems like is a completely unknown one with 25 reviews on Goodreads where well-known self-help books get 40.000+ votes and even the Rough Guide to Italy would have 123 of them.

I’m struggling through this dry and impersonal book that tries to go around the whole topic of human happiness through chapters like: sub-conscious, conscious, body, loves and passions, our social nature, environment and even “saving our soul from technology”.

But at the same time it gets me wondering, too. How is it possible that I’ve never learned about any of these topics at school. Purpose of life? Feeling good? Creating healthy relationships? Aren’t these as important as physics, literature, biology and grammar?

However trite, it’s the truth: We’re emotional illiterates. We’ve been taught about anatomy and African farming methods. We’ve learned mathematical formulas by heart. We haven’t been taught a thing about the mind. We’re ignorant about what makes people tick.” (Scenes from a Marriage, movie, 1974)

Mr. Baileys Baylis gives us a couple ideas on where to look for personal life purpose clues:
– Our childhood and teenage interests that may have been neglected
– The subjects that never fail to grab our attention
– Whatever we daydream about
– Experiencing first-hand a host of activities that we might have prematurely presumed are not for us. (A drama class or local choir, dinghy sailing or mountain walking, landscape painting or natural science.)

Let’s keep asking ourselves for whom, for what and for where would it feel well worth turning off the television, keeping fit and getting focused, because our heart beats faster at the mere thought of it. Whom, what and where do we hold in such value that we’re inspired to set off in full sail on their behalf?”
(The Rough guide to Happiness)

To sum a little bit up in what I think about purpose:

  • We all have some downtime in life – and we let our thoughts flow. You might be thinking of your mother. Or chemistry. Or being a musician. Or building a house. Growing vegetables. Or, more probably, something chaotic and abstract: but still, thoughts that circle around some topic(s). Or, if you’re very interested in everything: your mainstream thoughts still exclude some major topics. It’s a good start.
  • And the continue getting to know what you like, YOU HAVE TO ACT. Without action there’s no purpose to your life.
    /My story here: I wanted to be a hostel owner, a small-time businessman because I didn’t want to say I was just a tour leader. Initiating the project included hundreds of hours of work, my best friend moving to a new city and volunteering in a hostel, negotiations on buying a place, business plans, etc. Then I went to work to a hostel to gain experience. All it took was about 10 night shifts that I fully gave up on the idea of running or owning a hostel. It doesn’t even sound good me any more. The advice for all possible future…

    • Writers? Write!
    • Porn actors? Do porn!
    • Engineers? Go to the closest universities’ engineer class and work somewhere where you can see what engineers really do.
    • whatever it is you’re contemplating on: DO IT!

If you think long term, your life needs a purpose. Finding one is often as hard as finding a partner or a friend for life. But do take your time and don’t make compromises. It’s one of those things you’ll look back on your deathbed and will either tap your own shoulders for choosing well or will terribly regret. Don’t choose the latter option!

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