634: Purpose

A Thousand Things to Talk About
A Thousand Things to Talk About
634: Purpose

Do you feel like you know your purpose in life?

Full episode script

Purpose. It’s such a funny thing. Study after study will tell us that purpose – the why – the reasons behind the choices that are made – is important. For people, knowing and feeling like you’re fulfilling your purpose in life usually leads to being happier and more productive (one of the measures that is seemingly most studied, because capitalism.) For a business, finding and acting on purpose is one of the differentiating factors that seems to put it head and shoulders above others.


Personally, purpose is a predictor of ability to recover from stress. As a 2013 journal article written primarily by individuals at the University of Wisconsin – Madison reported, quote:

Purpose in life predicts both health and longevity suggesting that the ability to find meaning from life’s experiences, especially when confronting life’s challenges, may be a mechanism underlying resilience. Having purpose in life may motivate reframing stressful situations to deal with them more productively, thereby facilitating recovery from stress and trauma.


In a business sense, a 2014 study published in the Harvard Business Review found that knowing and connecting with the purpose of work and the meaning of the work they’re doing can increase an employee’s effectiveness at work by leaps and bounds.


That’s the very short version of research behind the value of finding purpose in life. So how to actually find it? Well, the easy – and the toughest – answer may be that it just takes time. As the Guardian reported, 74% of people want to work somewhere that they feel their work matters. But also, quote:

[…] a recent global survey of 26,000 LinkedIn members, run with Imperative, found millennials to be the least purpose-driven generation. The survey results show that sense of purpose deepens the further along you are in your career: 48% of baby boomers (those aged 51+) report that they prioritize purpose over pay and titles. They’re followed by Gen X (aged 36-51) with 38%, and finally, millennials at 30%.

This script may vary from the actual episode transcript.