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Why You Should Focus on Purpose Before Profits

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and then go do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

As I continue to make strides in my professional career, this quote by Howard Thurman resonates with me more and more.

“I hate what I’m doing, but I can’t leave my job. I need the money…”

We’ve all heard it before. I’m guilty of it. But until you find meaning, the money doesn’t matter.

Measure your life in purpose, not profits.

Success in life isn’t about conforming to the expectations of others, but about achieving personal fulfillment.

You can make a lot of money in life but if there’s no genuine sense of fulfillment and joy, why does it matter? Now, it would be ignorant to completely rule out that money doesn’t contribute to happiness.

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner and author of Thinking, Fast and Slow, conducted a study and examined the day-to-day happiness level of people compared to their income level. What he found was that not having money causes emotional pain and unhappiness. Interestingly, the fine line is drawn at $75,000. Any dollar amount increase beyond $75,000 only marginally increases the happiness level of an individual.

However, the sole purpose of your life shouldn’t be revolved around making money. Money and profits can be results, but you first have to focus on the why.

This brings me to “The Golden Circle,” a simple but powerful model created by author and TED speaker Simon Sinek.

What’s the purpose or belief that inspires you to do what you do? This is a fundamental question that needs to be answered, but it’s definitely more complex than it seems.

As Simon Sinek says,

“Any person or organization can explain what they do; some can explain how they are different or better; but very few can clearly articulate why.”

It’s something that has to come from within.

Most people work from the outside in – meaning they start with what, then move to how, and never get around to why they started in the first place. You must work from the inside out.

If you can pinpoint your why, then you’re already on the right path to personal fulfillment. But if it’s still unclear what your why is, that’s okay too. It can take a little time and digging to discover what truly inspires you.

So if you’re unhappy with what you’re doing right now, if you’re not tap dancing out of bed every morning for work (not literally, although it’s quite amusing to think about), then focus on what’s meaningful to you and take the first step in that direction.

I was reading Adam Braun’s The Promise of a Pencil and he said,

“The biggest difference between the person who lives his or her dreams and the person who aspires is the decision to convert that first spark of motivation into immediate action. Take the first small step, then chase the footprints you aspire to leave behind.”

Well, what’re you waiting for?

Today’s the youngest you’ll ever be for the rest of your life. It’s the perfect moment to start chasing your biggest dreams.

The one and only,
E. Thai

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