Find your purpose to live happier

Published 10:53 am Tuesday, May 19, 2015

blue zone ad

Ask the Expert by Ellen Kehr

People with purpose live longer and are happier and more productive. Discovering our purpose is a lifelong process and during times of transition, we experience the greatest need and opportunity to create clarity of purpose for our lives. 

Ellen Kehr

Ellen Kehr

Email newsletter signup

You heed your purpose when you offer your gifts in service to something you are passionate about. Your purpose is embedded in what you do each day — to give your gifts away.

Everyone wants “the good life.” Even though we don’t usually talk about its ingredients, a recent study states that we agree on what it takes to live it. In 2009, the MetLife Mature Market Institute published a study titled “Discovering What Matters.”

The study, based on the work of Inventure Group founder Richard Leider and published in his best-selling book “Repacking Your Bags,” proves there is a connection between purpose and a person’s health, happiness and contentment. The vast majority of Americans describe “the good life” in terms of being healthy, having financial freedom, having the time to do what is important and having a sense of purpose.

In fact, a sense of purpose was the biggest differentiator between people who reported that they were living “the good life” from those who said they were not. The study showed that regardless of age, gender, financial status or life stage, a majority of people assign the most importance to meaningful activities and, above all else, spending time with friends and family.

In the 24/7, always “on” world we live in today, there is a new hunger for meaning, for discovering what matters. Purpose is the antidote to the busy-ness and emptiness of so many people’s lives today.

So what might this search for purpose look like? Younger people usually want to identify work that fits them. Midlife people are looking to discover a sense of meaning beyond a paycheck. And older people want to stay engaged in life and make a difference.

Leider asked retirees over age 65, “If given the opportunity to live life over, what would you do differently?” Majority said they would hit the “pause button,” take more risks to pursue their dreams and find their purpose earlier in life.

The bottom line is that everyone wants their life to matter. Every one of us needs a reason to get up in the morning. What centers us on our journey to discover what matters is purpose! Discovering a life purpose is the key to “the good life” for every person. It requires a willingness to invest in oneself and taking a hard look at discovering what truly matters.

The Blue Zones Project in Albert Lea asks all community residents, employees, high school and college-aged youth, seniors, citizen volunteers and others to make a difference where you live and work. Pledge to discover your purpose. Encourage your employer, faith organization, volunteer group, service club or other community group to host a purpose workshop. Join a purpose moai, a 10-week small group process that will deepen your purpose journey with individual topics to clarify and live your purpose.

To learn more about joining a purpose moai or sponsoring a purpose workshop please contact the Blue Zones Project Albert Lea at Discover your purpose and live longer, better.

Ellen Kehr is the organization lead of the Blue Zones Project in Albert Lea.