The ‘purpose’ is an elusive concept to grasp, define, or even verbalize when observed through a scope of human life. All humankind—throughout its history—has strived for that elusive sliver of divine grace, of the moment of redemption, to isolate their unique function in a larger scheme of things. In other words, it refers to the meaning for one’s existence. Everyone draws their first breath in life; without fully understanding the weight of infinite possibilities, they can bring true. One struggles through their life, driving towards some kind of reaffirming comfort, something that gives them feedback, reassuring them that something is going right. It is by retrospecting one’s life and positively, affectionately judging themselves; one can find what brings them, as well as the others around them – joy, or comfort, or relief, or happiness.

When a person has an idea, no matter how fleeting, about their purpose in life, they can channelize the everlasting energy of life—the Praan, the chi or the breath—into doing something constructive that can benefit everyone around them, including themselves. Finding the purpose in life does wonders for self-motivation; it gives the person hope that their vision of a better, fairer, more complete world can come true. There are many ways to go about it. Philosophers and psychologists have created numerous schools of thought dedicated to man’s search for meaning and purpose on this speck of dust and water, floating through infinite cosmos.

One can start by asking the basic questions: what gives me joy? It is something that benefits other people? Do I see myself doing the same for a considerable amount of time? Does it sustain good things, value systems, and belief systems? Does it aid in uprooting ones that do harm? These are the questions that haunt some for their entire lives; for others, they bring promising change in their outlook of day-to-day mundane. To find one’s purpose in life, they have to understand that whatever one sets their mind to, whatever they feel elevates the existence of human society positively, is worthy of their attention, devotion, and hard work.

Ikigai is an interesting Japanese concept that cultivates calm and serenity through ensuring their worldly journey. The meaning of Ikigai is simple—having a purpose in your life. The school of Ikigai states that by following something that one loves (their passion), something that they are good at (their passion), something that the world needs (their mission), and something that they can get paid for (their vocation), one can find purpose in life. This goes on to show that one’s purpose in life is not a linear journey towards a gold-polished trophy through climbing material ladders but a consistency in existence that brings peace and enlightens the path to superior consciousness.

One can travel this path and bring themselves at peace by retrospecting and exercising their free will. Retrospecting and reworking on ‘self’ can lead to better results in this journey. Tools such as personal SWOT analysis can be of great use in situations like these. As the existentialist school of thought dictates, no person is born with a definite role in life. One travels through thick and thin everyday reality, choosing what they believe to be good over bad. One can decide what they are supposed to do; one can try and test and fail and retry and try harder still. In the infinity of this universe, everyone has a part to play, and the best thing is, they all get to decide what’s it going to be. By trying new things, exploring new things, and casting a wonder-filled gaze at the world every day, one can move towards finding one’s purpose in life.