Why Having a Sense of Purpose is Important

Tuesday, November 12, 2019
Blocks with the word purpose written on them

Why Having a Sense of Purpose is Important

The dictionary defines “purpose” as the reason for which something exists or is done, made or used. Sounds pretty boring, huh? But when you break it down, it turns out, purpose is pretty important – to your physical, mental and emotional health. It’s that big.

So, what is your purpose? According to researcher William Damon, who wrote A Path to Purpose, it is “a stable and generalized intention to accomplish something that is at the same time meaningful to the self and consequential for the world beyond the self.”

In fact, that meaningful intention can help you stay focused on the things that matter most to you like family, friends, faith, career and more. It helps you prioritize your life – allowing you to walk away from certain people or activities that don’t serve your purpose. It’s a main driver to stay motivated when things get tough, so you can set and meet short- and long-term goals. And maybe most of all, it makes you feel like you are making a difference in the world.

Think about this: When you have a sense of purpose, you tend to have:

  • Increased optimism, resiliency and hope
  • Experiencing joy, happiness and satisfaction more often
  • Better physical health
  • A lower risk of death
  • Being a more engaged student
  • Enjoying the process of learning more
  • Feeling a greater sense of belonging at school
  • Increased career satisfaction
  • Being a leader in the workplace
  • Higher income

Having a sense of importance is starting to sound pretty good for you, right? Damon believes that people fall into one of four categories when it comes to having a sense of purpose:

  1. The Purposeful: You have found something that is personally meaningful to you and that contributes to the greater good. You’ve sustained interest over a long period of time, and you can clearly articulate your “why.”
  2. Dreamers: You think about, and possibly express, great ideas, but you have not yet taken any practical action.
  3. Dabblers: You have engaged in potentially purposeful activities without committing to one in particular or sustaining your efforts over a long period of time. You may struggle to articulate your “why.”
  4. The Disengaged: You don’t have a sense of purpose in life and don’t have any desire or need to find one.

Which category do you think you fall into at this point in your life? See, purpose is not something we “find” and then we are done. It’s a journey. And on this journey, we are always taking action to better understand and fulfill our purpose.

So, where do you start? There are some concrete things that you can do to begin realizing and living a more purpose-focused life, and to start reaping the benefits. SCC is offering the Creating Success on Purpose Workshop to help address these needs. The workshop takes place from 3 - 4:30 pm, Nov. 21, in SC-105. Click here to view the flyer for more information, or contact andrea.scherrer@scottsdalecc.edu to RSVP or with any questions.