Do You Need to Know Your Purpose to Be Happy?

It turns out you probably do need to know your purpose to be happy.

In an informal survey of fellow Yale graduates at their 25th class reunion, Adam Leipzig, a former Disney Executive and currently the CEO of Entertainment Media Partners, discovered that 80% of his classmates were unhappy with their lives. 80%?!?

I decided to do a bit more research. Maybe those privileged Yale grads were an anomaly.

The Harris Happiness Index surveyed 2,345 American adults in April 2013 to find that 1 in 3 Americans considers themselves very happy. In 2011 – 2012, Gallup found that worldwide only 13% of employees are engaged at work. In the US, the number was higher at 32%.

So these stats leaned a bit more toward happiness, but not much.

Here’s where it gets interesting. What Adam Leipzig further discovered: the 20% who were happy knew something about their purpose.

He believes you can learn your life purpose in 5 minutes and he takes you through the process in his TedxMalibu Talk.

I don’t know if that 5-minute process would work for me because I had already learned my WHY in 2013 through Simon Sinek’s, Learn Your Why online course.

That process takes 7 – 10 hours, the course costs $129 and you need your coach or a colleague to guide you through the process. And, having my WHY articulated has been life changing for me. It serves as a compass and daily decision-maker for me.

If you’d like to know more about Simon’s process, start with his Ted Talk.

Before I listened to Adam’s talk, I had never linked happiness and knowing my purpose. As I look at my own life and the lives of my coaching clients and students, I see that there is a very real link. When we are in a low place, our purpose guides us out. When we are feeling most fulfilled, we are more fully living our purpose.

So what about you? Do you have a sense of your purpose? If so, I’d love to hear about it . . . If not, do you suspect you’d be happier if you did know?

6 comments to Do You Need to Know Your Purpose to Be Happy?

  • Ann Strong

    Dianne, I’m seeing this months after you commented. Have you discovered your WHY that is aligned with you? Life IS so precious – I hope you have! If you haven’t, let’s talk about me coaching you to it.

  • Dianne deloren

    Oops, I mean Simon Sinek’s talk.

    • I also strive towards unconditional love and patience in my family life. Otherwise how can I expect my children to show such an attitude to others? I hope Cait is all better soon – how long does it take to get over hand foot and mouth?

  • Dianne deloren

    I was journaling tonight about how at bedtime this anxiety comes up for me and I’m trying to understand what that is about for me. So your offerings were spot on for me tonight because I realized that it’s about another day going by where I am just existing with no clear purpose and not feeling enrolled in why I’m doing anything I’m doing, such as my job. It’s become something I need to address because I don’t want to feel aimless. Life is too precious. I know full well what I’m doing every day, but don’t know why I’m doing it. And that is not acceptable any more. I really want to correct that. I want to know, I need to know, the why of what I do and be aligned with it from the inside. I need to believe in what I do. Adam Sinek’s TedTalk really hit home with me.

  • Ann Strong

    Ken, I’m imagining that in the moments, on the days, that you notice you ARE present, you DO show up, that leads to feeling fulfilled, happy. There may be something to this idea that knowing and living our purpose does create happiness. 🙂

  • Ken

    In the 80s I got that my life purpose is to “show up.” For me at the moment that means to look the grocery clerk in the eye and smile, to take an extra minute to see that someone’s eyeglasses really are comfortable, or to help people solve certain home ownership problems. For me, it’s not so much what I do as how I do it. I want to be present, to show up.

    I listened to Adam’s talk via the link you provided, and thanks.

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Ann Strong, founder of Strong from Within and Thriving Coaches.

Author of Thriving Work.


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