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Is There an Upside to Feeling Lost in Life?

February 28, 2011

Is There an Upside to Feeling Lost in Life?

There’s no denying these are challenging times. Many of us are feeling financial pressures, job concerns, and uncertainty about what the future holds. Some people feel they have actually begun moving backwards in life or are further away from their goals than they anticipated achieving by now. Others have decided to start all over. Still others feeI discouraged, perhaps even hopeless.

Michael J. Formica writes in Psychology Today’s blog, “Enlightened Living,” about seeing a number of common denominators between his patients from working class and wealthy neighborhoods. He reports that many are afraid. Beyond the fear, many also are feeling somewhat lost. They can no longer count on things they had been able to rely on the past. Some don’t know where to turn.

So what is the upside? It’s little comfort holding onto the belief that things will improve someday. We must focus on living today – in the now. That may mean reorienting ourselves and resetting our inner compass. We might ask ourselves penetrating questions like, “What is really important and meaningful to me?” or “Where am I going?” or “What is my purpose?”  These are not easy questions to answer.

However, answering the question about purpose helps us develop healthy responses to the first two questions. Certainly, one might ask a more basic question: “Why do we even need a purpose?” That’s a great question – and a seemingly obvious one.

It’s certainly possible to get through life without a purpose. Having or not having a purpose clearly is not the issue. It really comes down to what we want out of life. If you believe that the more you put into life and give of yourself, the more you receive in return – in the form of personal satisfaction and fulfillment – then pursuing a meaningful purpose contributes to your quality of life, not to mention how it helps others. As Dr. Joshua Haberman points out in his article, Illusions We Cherish, many people “go through life looking for the key to unlock their life and never find it – because nobody has the key to his or her own life. We should be looking for it beyond ourselves. Because the meaning of our life is disclosed to us only in our relationship to others.”

Which takes us back to the purpose of a purpose. A purpose can help us set a direction for our life, or fulfill a certain aspect of it. For those who feel lost or uncertain about what to do with their lives, finding and pursuing a purpose can make a big difference. Think of it as a compass you can use to help steer your course. Purpose moves us beyond the ordinary, toward the extraordinary – in terms of our life experience, the value we create, how meaningful we feel, and the gratification we receive.

So, do you need a purpose? No. Will having one add a wonderful dimension to your life and what you experience from it? Absolutely.

How do you get started?

  1. Express and demonstrate your love to the people closest to you – family and friends. Then focus on more distant relationships.
  2. Identify ways you can use your talents to improve an aspect of your community and get involved. That community could be in your neighborhood, town or city, or an organization – such as a school, religious institution, nonprofit, or a cause near and dear to your heart.
  3. Find a cause that is meaningful to you and make a commitment to pursue it. Then take the first step by contacting organizations and people who work in the area.

There is no time like the present to get started.

Steve Weitzenkorn

Visit our new website: Take the FREE Guiding Values Exercise. Give us feedback.

Copyright © 2011, F3 Forum LLC. All rights reserved.

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