Have you ever asked yourself, “What is the meaning of life? Seriously, what IS the purpose of life?!”

In today’s blog post, I’m gonna share with you 7 specific ways to tell if you’re not living on purpose. Then I’m gonna show you 7 actions you can take now to live with more purpose.

And at the end of the post, I’m gonna give you a chance to grab an amazing guide for free called Living On Purpose. It’ll help you get started living a life you love, overcome your fear, and find what you really want to do. (If you just wanna grab the Living On Purpose guide for free right now, you can do that here.)

Now let’s look at 7 ways to tell if you’re not living your highest purpose in life.

1. You’re not waking up excited in the morning.

If you’re not excited (or at least enthusiastic) in the morning — then you’re most likely not living your highest purpose. If you’re waking up a couple of days each week with a monotonous feeling of having to do “this” again today — that’s probably a sign that you’re “off purpose.” When you’re Living On Purpose, you wake up excited in the morning because a personally exciting life awaits you.

“For the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.” – Steve Jobs

2. You have really “high highs” and really “low lows.”

If you can’t seem to break the phenomenon of feeling absolutely phenomenal for a few days, but then kind of crappy afterwords — you’re most likely not living in alignment with the purpose of life. If you can notice a pattern of thinking how amazing life is one week, and how shitty it is the next — that’s probably a sign that you’re “off purpose.” When you’re Living On Purpose, you still have the really high highs but you also have much higher lows (and your happiness becomes sustainable).

“I’d always believed that a life of quality, enjoyment, and wisdom were my human birthright and would be automatically bestowed upon me as time passed. I never suspected that I would have to learn how to live – that there were specific disciplines and ways of seeing the world I had to master before I could awaken to a simple, happy, uncomplicated life.” – Dan Millman

3. Your life isn’t entirely fulfilling you anymore.

If, despite knowing that you have SO much to be grateful for, deep inside there’s a feeling that something’s missing in your life — then you’re most likely not connected to the meaning of life. If you’re doing a lot of the things that society suggests are “right,” but you still feel that something is wrong — that’s probably a sign that you’re “off purpose.” When you’re Living On Purpose, you’re entirely fulfilled because you’re living a life engulfed in personal meaning.

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.” – Helen Keller

4. You’re surrounded by people who are bringing you down.

If you find yourself surrounded by people who are bitching, nagging, criticizing, complaining, and condemning — then you’re most likely not living the purpose of life. If you don’t have a group of people in your life who’s qualities you admire — that’s probably a sign that you’re “off purpose.” When you’re Living On Purpose, you’re spending the majority of your time with people who inspire, empower, and encourage you to be a better person.

What is the Purpose of Life?

5. You’re ignoring your dreams because you’re scared to move on.

If a couple times each month you start to fantasize about what you would do if you had more free time — then you’re most likely disconnected from the meaning of life. If there are a ton of things you’d rather be doing with your life, but haven’t yet found a way to muster up the courage to tell your family and friends — that’s probably a sign that you’re “off purpose.” When you’re Living On Purpose, you’re spending your time doing the things that you love most in life (whether your family and friends understand/agree with you or not).

“If you deliberately plan on being less than you are capable of being, then I warn you that you’ll be unhappy for the rest of your life.” – Abraham Maslow

6. You’re working in a job that depletes you of energy.

If the primary purpose of your job is to get a paycheck and there’s not much personal meaning in what you do — then you’re most likely not living your highest purpose. If you’re counting the days until the next three-day weekend or six-day vacation — that’s probably a sign that you’re “off purpose.” When you’re Living On Purpose, you don’t just have a job but you have a calling (one of the many differences between a “job” and a “calling” is that a job depletes you and a calling energizes you).

“The master of the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his education and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which; he simply pursues his vision of excellence in whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he is always doing both.” – Buddha

7. You feel stuck in the “rat race” but don’t know the next step.

If you’re in a perpetual state of thinking that you’ll be “happier when” the next good thing happens and you’re not enjoying the journey — then you’re most likely not living the meaning of life. If you’re so focused on getting “there” that you’ve accepted being submerged in stress and anxiety as normal — that’s probably a sign that you’re “off purpose.” When you’re Living On Purpose, you’ve embraced that the priceless pleasure of life comes from enjoying the journey on your way to a destination deemed meaningful.

“For a master, the rewards gained along the way are fine, but they are not the main reason for the journey. Ultimately the master and the master’s path are one. And if the traveler is fortunate — that is, if the path is complex and profound enough — the destination is two miles farther away for every mile he or she travels.” – George Leonard

If any of the above resonated with you, you’re not alone.

It wasn’t too long ago that I was the poster-child for embodying all 7 of the above mistakes (plus a dozen more). Over and over, I’d just keep asking myself “what is my purpose?”

It’s precisely because I’ve felt that pain — and was able to escape it and find my purpose — that I’m wrote an entire guide called Living On Purpose that helps you do the same.

Not let’s look at 7 tips for how to live your purpose…
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Here are 7 tricks to help you with finding your purpose:


1. Make your motivations intrinsic.

Realize This: When it comes up finding purpose in life, society sets us up for failure because it motivates us with extrinsic incentives like fame, wealth, and beauty. Chasing these things are flashy and fun for a short time but ultimately unfulfilling. They’re like drinking salt-water when you’re thristy.

Take This Action: To remove those “low low” feelings, focus on intrinsic incentives like relationships, contribution, and personal growth. Create a life around them and you’ll be super On Purpose.

*If you’d like help removing the low feelings, grab a free copy of the Living On Purpose guide.

“Focusing your life solely on making a buck shows a certain poverty of ambition. It asks too little of yourself. Because it’s only when you hitch your wagon to something larger than yourself that you realize your true potential.” – Barack Obama

2. Live in integrity with your values.

Untold Truth: If you want to stop asking yourself “what is the purpose of life”, you’re gonna need to know what you stand for. I’ve found that the best way to know what you stand for is to get clarity on what it is that you value. What’s important to you? What do you give a shit about? If you were running for the toilet and had no time to think, could you tell me what your top five values are without stopping and soiling yourself?

Take This Action: To help find your values, question things. Try stuff out. Experiment. Do the opposite of what you were told. Step outside of the box. CRACK YOUR COMFORT ZONE! And then *reflect on what’s important to you.* Once you know what’s important to you and the more that you act in accordance with those values, the better you’re gonna feel about yourself.

*If you’d love to know your top 5 core values, use the worksheet in my free Living On Purpose guide.

“If you want to be faithful to someone, start by being faithful to yourself.” – Paulo Coelho

3. Become comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.

Realize This: Our lives are limited within the confines of our “comfort zone.” When we get out of our comfort zone and become uncomfortable, WE WIN LIFE! The cool thing about comfort zones is that when we step outta them, they grow! That’s right — by being momentarily uncomfortable, we own our fear, and in the future, the things that scared us aren’t so intimidating anymore. If you want to find your purpose, you’re probably going to have to do things that you’ve never done before — and in order to do them, you’re going to need to get outside of your comfort zone.

Take This Action: Feel that discomfort, and despite its presence, go do what you need to do. The more you do that, the less uncomfortable you’ll feel in the future. Make it a game to become comfortable being uncomfortable and you’ll be finding meaning in life much sooner.

*If you’d like to learn more about how to overcome fear, grab a free copy of the Living On Purpose guide.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

4. Embark on the Hero’s Journey.

Realize This: This “Hero’s Journey” is the common thread amongst all great characters (and stories) in life. Your soul is calling to you. It’s tryna tell you that you have a unique path that only you can take. Your mind can rationalize all sorts of award-winning reasons why you shouldn’t take the untraveled trail. But to deny that call from your soul is to deny yourself the life that you deserve to live. It’s the difference between being fully ALIVE and cruising aimlessly on auto-pilot all your life.

Take This Action: In order to create an extraordinary life, you’re going to need to walk away from what you know. You’re going to have to face your fears, improve your conditioning, and create your own unique path. You’re going to feel scared, excited, and alive!

*Wanna learn more about what part of the Hero’s Journey you’re on? Grab a copy of Living On Purpose for free.

What is the Purpose of Life?

5. Combine your strengths with your passions.

Realize This: People who are Living On Purpose are continuously using their strengths while doing work that matters to them on a daily basis.

Take This Action: Science is suggesting that instead of focusing on your weaknesses, cultivate the crap outta your strengths. This is what will make you extraordinary. Then use your strengths to do things that make you excited and watch a sense of confidence and fulfillment appear within you (and if you mix service to other people in the mix, your purpose will appear before you know it!).

*Wanna learn your top strengths and how to apply them? Do the worksheet in Section 5 of my free Living On Purpose guide.

“I do not believe that you should devote overly much effort to correcting your weaknesses. Rather, I believe that the highest success in living and the deepest emotional satisfaction comes from building and using your signature strengths.” – Martin Seligman

6. Avoid the trap of validation.

Realize This: As a baby, we need love. So from a young age we create images of ourselves, pretending to be what we think other people want us to be. Then we project these images onto our relationships and try our best to actually be the images. But of course, we can’t ever completely conform to someone else’s vision. And this is how inner conflict originates. When people start to feel a discrepancy between the image they’re projecting, and their authentic selves, MAJOR conflict arises within them.

Take This Action: In order to find and live your purpose, you’re gonna need to become indifferent of other people’s opinions of you. This goes for both the good and the bad opinions of other people — they can both be used as forms of validation if unchecked. Here’s a counter-intuitive tidbit of wisdom: The less you look for other people’s approval, the more of it they’ll give to you.

*If you wanna learn more about how to escape the trap of validation, make sure you hit up Section 6 of the Living On Purpose guide.

“It is no measure of health to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” – Jiddu Krishnamurti

7. Grab a free copy of the Living On Purpose guide!

Realize This: If you want to stop asking “what is the meaning of life”, finding and living your purpose is not only something you can do, it’s something you must do. You can continue to live a boring life without sustained happiness, and you can pretend you don’t know there’s more to life, but one day — maybe in a few months, or maybe in a few decades — you may wake up miserable and resenting yourself for not doing something about it when you had the chance.

Take This Action: If you want more specific steps you can take to find, live, and rock your purpose in life, grab a copy of my Living On Purpose guide (for free). There are over 35 purpose finding exercises. And if you don’t love reading, you can listen to the Audio version of the guide, or watch the video version too.

 “The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” – Robin Sharma

Featured image courtesy of the #1 travel photography blog, Stuck In Customs.

  • #4. Ooohhh, #4.

    The only solution to #4 is one that I don't want to pursue… just yet.

    It's coming to that. My housemates don't know it, but they're driving me out. I am so, so, sooo sick of the negativity.

    • Ah! I know what that feels like. Keep that head up and remember, we always have more options then we perceive!

    • Ivan

      Holu fuck… I fit all 7 of the signs……. I need to help myself….

  • I had a strong reaction to #4 as well, Bethany. It's the second time I've heard that quote recently and I know it's because I need to take action. Getting on it!

    But #1 on the Solutions section was also beautiful, Jacob. "Focus on intrinsic incentives like relationships, contribution, and personal growth. Create a life around them and you’ll be super On Purpose."

    Amen. Amen. Amen

  • I’ve actually spent a good deal of time writing about the #1 solution. A life that is motivated by an empty desire to buy ‘stuff’ or drive a fancy car or wear expensive clothes is going to be a really tough, hollow, and meaningless path to walk on for too long.

    Don’t get me wrong. Nice ‘stuff’ is.. well.. nice. But if someone is validating their life through the stuff that they’ve acquired then chances are they are unhappy and probably don’t want to admit it.

    And interesting read. I can say that, for me, #1 and #6 are still true since I’ve got a 9-5 day job that I need to keep until I’ve replaced the income (at least most of it) with my real (read: On Purpose) work that I need to be doing.

    • Well put Tim!!

      LOL @ "Nice 'stuff' is.. well.. nice."

      Great points!

  • I was looking forward to this dude, when I saw your tweet about how many words you threw down for the latest post…

    On the fist list, number 6 was a weird one for me to deal with. A job I had that I LOVED (performing at Disney, next post btw) did not drain me of mental energy, but it was SO physically demanding, that if I stayed with it, I had nothing in me to put toward other passions. Like making music, surfing, or building online businesses… Sometimes even if you LOVE something, it is just best to drop it. When there is nothing left to get from it at least… It was 2 years of CRAZINESS.

    I'm writing all the "life lessons" i learned from it for an upcoming post. Come check it out soon, and you will see a side of me… not many close people have.

    On the second list… You know that Validation part FUCKED with me the most. We talked about it on our Awesome Chat. Just hit on that part today. (I read slowly, bite sized pieces at a time… for the low info diet of course)

    I'm using your book to help my brother through a tough time too man, thanks so much for your wisdom.

    Surfs up,

    • Thanx bro! I was looking fwd to this too -=)

      I love that you're taking your time with LOP – slowly absorbing the information on a healthy information diet. And i'm honored that it's helping your brother out. My pleasure my man!!

      Thanx for the feedback.

  • AWESOME post, bro – really great work. love how you line 'em up and knock 'em down. and BIG SMILE when i saw the Chip Conley wisdom in there. :-)

    so thrilled to know ya and be learning along with ya as you LIVE ON PURPOSE!

    • Wizzzzzzzzzzzzzord! Thanx homey. Thanx ya very much!

  • Haha -=). Amen. Amen. Amen. Thanx Annika!!!

  • Trish

    #1 is the one that I am just learning now. I decided to make my childhood dream come true by being a cartoonist. Right-from-the-get-go, I strategically planned what/how/when I would draw so as to build my portfolio up the fastest and start making $. I thought if I made $ then my cartoons would have some value… I could say after I cashed the cheque (Canadian!) that I was a good cartoonist.

    For a year I worked on different strategies and for a year I procrastinated on my drawing and then procrastinated on procrastinating.

    Two weeks ago it suddenly occurred to me that when I draw, all the effects of my mental illness disappear. I have more energy throughout the day, I am happier and I am more grateful. What a miracle drawing is to me! Since then I have eagerly spent a portion of my day drawing. I have a zillion projects–none of them paying–but who cares? I am aligned when I do it and getting to know myself in a whole different way.

    Extrinsic may put food on the table but intrinsic feeds my soul.

    Thank you for giving my a place to come and share this story and for a post that inspired me to comment.

    Oh yeah…. a related quote that I read yesterday and loved… from Elizabeth Gilbert's site… a friend of hers is an independent filmmaker and wrote to Werner Herzog complaining how hard it was to break through. Herzog wrote him back:

    “Quit your complaining. It’s not the world’s fault that you wanted to be an artist. It’s not the world’s job to enjoy the films you make, and it’s certainly not the world’s obligation to pay for your dreams. Nobody wants to hear it. Steal a camera if you have to, but stop whining and get back to work.”

    Love & peace,

    • Love this Trish. Thanx for sharing!!

      Indeed, there's a fine balance between our long term vision, and paying our bills – between our soul work and our supper work – between our intrinsic fulfilling intensives and our extrinsic temporary highs.

      Learning to make them both work well is part of creating an extraordinary life and living on purpose. Enjoy the process (that's all we every truly have)!!

      Love & Peace back atcha!!

    • Liz Black

      Hi Trish,

      Thank you for this reply. I know it has been many years, but today I am in the exact same situation as you.

      I quit my job and moved across the country to be a full time writer. Now, 8 months along, I have written maybe 5000 words. So yeah, that’s a long way from the 1000 words a day I should be writing. And yes, I too can procrastinate on procrastinating.

      I hope to find the courage to get into a writing rhythm, because, even though I feel a lot happier than in my previous job, I’m still not … there.

      I love the quote. Thank you.


  • Become comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.

    This has been a huge one for me lately. Embracing those uncomfortable situations, using them as training for my courage & adaptability muscles.

    Living on that edge is more thrilling, more rewarding, and absolutely necessary to rocking our greatest life.

    • Dopeness dude!! Good shit -=)

      PS: Thanx for the picture of the postcard!

  • I'm happy to say that none of the 7 Ways To Tell That You're Not Living Your Highest Purpose In Life apply to me and I live by the 7 Tricks for Fixing That.

    I'm grateful to have the opportunity to live my best possible life, and share what's worked for me on my blog. It hasn't been easy, and I've come a long way from the anxious, insecure perfectionist I used to be. It's no surprise that will all the negative feelings I was carrying around, I also used to suffer from depression.

    When I was at my worst, I didn't accept that my worst was all life had to offer so I sought out new ideas, solutions and a new way of thinking. I've found wisdom and hope in a variety of places and I continue to seek inspiration for living my best possible life.

    One of the best parts of blogging is truly living my own best practices every day as I write about living a great life and interact with other purposeful bloggers every day. The 8th way to change life for the better is to surround yourself with people that inspire and engage you in your purpose.

  • sherylleigh

    This entire list made me uncomfortable :) Thanks for the reminder. Great post!

  • This is so freaking awesome Jacob!! I have in the past always thought that I could never feel the feeling that you have written in this post and in your eBook. I wanted that excitement that you spoke about that wakes up with me when I wake up. It wasn't there. It was always eluding me because I was constantly fearful of what it took to get it. Not to mention I pattern myself with what everyone around me was doing to master their success. WRONG THING TO DO! What worked for "them" just doesn't work for me. AT ALL!

    You knocked it out of the park with #1, #4, #5, #6! It took all of those to really release myself from the expectations that I were often holding in limbo. It's a daily journey, that's for sure, but I'm now walking my own path every single day. I'm still not where I want to be, and that's OK; I'm getting there and taking the necessary steps to do so. It's an incredible feeling. I don't worry about whether someone accepts me and my work, I enjoy what I'm doing and for that very reason I'm able to enjoy living on purpose. I am rocking the "Living on Purpose" actually! It feels freaking good too. :) Rock On, Bro! :)

  • Jacki

    Just came across you and LOP for the first time today, Jacob, and I have to say I'm totally on board with everything you've got to say! I believe in the saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear" and I think that my "secure, yet uninspired" life is ready for a major shake up! You are awesome man! Stay the path! And thanks for the kick in the pants!

  • You are amazing, truly. This site is addictive!

    • Ha! Thanx so much for the warm words Rena. Thrilled about the phone call too!! -=)

  • kirstina

    this is so true and i feel all of those thing which shows that my life sucks but most people who work a shitty job hasnothing to do witht heir life

  • Daisy

    Loved the energy on this article and the posts. And yes…..it's all valuable. I think the important thing is not to panic about where you are at if not in the right place, but to savor the moment of revelation, that aha moment, and love the journey even with its pitfalls. It's all a lesson in life. Jacob…thanks for more revelation for my journey!

  • Such a great yet interesting post. Thank you very much for sharing this helpful stuff.

  • beau farrawell

    very encouraging, truthful and motivating post.

    follow your heart the whole way.

  • Bianca Dubbleyoo

    Does anyone have a similar experience to me…


  • Mia

    Thank you for this beautiful article!

  • syed Irfan, Pk

    Jacob, I read your blog first time, and really inspired. I am from Karachi and working as success journalist and publishing a magazine named, Kamyaby Digest (i.e success digest in English). I appreciate your efforts.

  • Scott W.

    I was feeling enormously discouraged recently about the meaning of it all when I remembered something a old professor shared with me about 20 years ago. He referred to the end of Voltaire’s Candide where he talks about “tend to our garden.” That’s it. Take care of what is your’s to take of.