“The two most important days of your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” –Mark Twain
For most of us, the path of self-discovery is constantly shifting and rarely looks like what we anticipated. We realize that things we thought would hold great weight in our lives become less important over time, while others surprise us by taking hold.
And sometimes, we discover that the things we hold most important are actually those that are causing us unnecessary hurt and stress – including personal habits, characteristics, and communication styles.
For some, these realizations come painfully. We allow things to permeate our lives because they became routine and comfortable – not because they are particularly important. We reach a breaking point, and self-discovery becomes painful.
Some of us simply allow things to go stale. We fail to nurture talents we possess, and stop looking for opportunities to improve. We tell ourselves we’ve got it figured out.
But whether arrived at with ease or difficulty, self-discovery comes from doing.
Don’t be afraid of risks that align with who you are. The chances you take now are the ones that will define the rest of your life. If you’ve found passion in something that requires a leap, make it. Because pursuing purpose is far more exciting than avoiding it.
Try something new.
Expose yourself to different ideas, hobbies and people. You may just find something that brings more richness and meaning to your life.
Placing focus on someone or something else is a powerful way to discover what’s really important to you. Get involved in a local effort, a humanitarian cause, or a committee at work. Because sitting on the sidelines will never do as much good.
Never stop learning.
Self-discovery is ongoing. Give yourself the opportunity to explore every side you have, and to create new passions that take hold. Stay hungry, stay open and let yourself learn from other people.
Share your gift.
Pablo Picasso said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” Most of all, don’t shy away from letting other people see who you are, what’s important to you, and what you’re great at. You’ll find more meaning from sharing it.
Human beings are a blessed species. Despite opinions that would have us believe we are eternally misfortunate and ugly at the core, we possess an incredible ability to define who we are.
Our responsibility is simply to exercise it.