Author Topic: What's your life purpose?  (Read 16213 times)

lifejoy

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #50 on: March 24, 2016, 07:16:27 PM »
Reading "the fault in our stars" helped me see that I don't have to find some great deep meaning to my life. It really took the pressure off!

tj

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #51 on: March 24, 2016, 07:34:39 PM »
Reading "the fault in our stars" helped me see that I don't have to find some great deep meaning to my life. It really took the pressure off!

More details please?

lifejoy

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #52 on: March 24, 2016, 07:52:36 PM »

Reading "the fault in our stars" helped me see that I don't have to find some great deep meaning to my life. It really took the pressure off!

More details please?

Sorry about my brevity!

The book, "The Fault in Our Stars" by John Green, was awesome. The movie was ok. The book has a main character who is a teenage girl with a terminal illness. Other characters essentially ask her about a need to "leave a lasting mark" or something like that. She doesn't feel the need to do that. She's just totally ok with living her life. Chillin' like a villain. Yep. I forget the details, but the book made a big impression with me. Check it out, see if it helps! It allowed me to see things in a new way. On an unrelated note, it also helped me deal with the loss of my teenage sister. Great book.

brandino29

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #53 on: March 24, 2016, 08:23:40 PM »
I come and go on these forums but for a few months I've considered posting something pretty similar as I've found myself wondering about my purpose.  Which, I think, is superficially pretty weird, I'm 32, I'm genuinely happy, I'm married nearly 7 years now to a beautiful woman whom I love and continue to be attracted to, we have an incredible daughter and another little one on the way, while I'm back full-time in medical school.  I should be too happy (and honestly way too busy) to be having any sort of personal existential crisis.  However, I've been in the same boat, feeling uncertain of the direction I need to go and absorbing the associated frustration.

A lot of it for me has been around the impending decision of having to choose a medical specialty to which I will essentially be committed for the rest of my life.  I've found myself being pulled in innumerable directions as the competitive part of me wants to step up and go into the most highly selective field I can get into, while the father and husband in me wants to ensure that I'm choosing a field that will allow me to spend quality time with my family on my terms, while the narcissist in me is pulling to something high profile where I can "prove" to others of my superior intellect and ability (I say that cynically though I certainly can't avoid feeling it at times).

I share my own story for a couple of reasons --- 1) to point out that kids aren't the answer either way, I love my daughter in a completely inexplicable way, and she provides such a sense of fulfillment and joy in me (not to mention frustration and pain) on a daily basis, but just because you are a parent doesn't mean that you are and only ever will be a parent.  Just like you probably felt before you got married how weird it would be once you were married, then you got married and realized you were still the same person you always were, having kids doesn't really change that.  Priorities change, certainly, but you are still you.  B) I'm realizing that patience is a key player in all of this.  When you are younger, there is constantly something on the horizon, whether it's going to high school, losing your virginity, getting drunk for the first time, moving out, going to college, graduating college, getting your first job, buying your first car or house, etc.  Whatever it is, it's really just around the corner, and even though you are always antsy to get to the next stage, you are never antsy for too long.  Suddenly though, all of those big life moments are behind you and yet here you are getting antsy again, yet there's nothing around the corner like you've become accustomed to.  So you just continue to be antsy, waiting, and waiting, and waiting.  This is probably the point where many people start to feel confused and lost.  And you are faced with the question "what now?"  I'm beginning to believe that the answer here is patience.  You've got your life together, things are going well, you're in a good situation, so just be patient.  You don't have to force the next big step in your life upon yourself prematurely.  Relax a bit, recognize where you are at this moment in your life, and ride the wave a little while. 

So my advice, start checking off items on your list, but do it stress-free.  It's not a race, just dive in and start doing what you can to enjoy and accomplish them for yourself (not for your facebook updates or for us), as you work your way through those items bigger goals will start to congeal in your mind in due time. 

pbkmaine

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #54 on: March 24, 2016, 08:26:08 PM »
My purpose in life is to be useful.

Wekeeprollingdowntheroad

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #55 on: March 25, 2016, 04:05:35 AM »
I come and go on these forums but for a few months I've considered posting something pretty similar as I've found myself wondering about my purpose.  Which, I think, is superficially pretty weird, I'm 32, I'm genuinely happy, I'm married nearly 7 years now to a beautiful woman whom I love and continue to be attracted to, we have an incredible daughter and another little one on the way, while I'm back full-time in medical school.  I should be too happy (and honestly way too busy) to be having any sort of personal existential crisis.  However, I've been in the same boat, feeling uncertain of the direction I need to go and absorbing the associated frustration.

A lot of it for me has been around the impending decision of having to choose a medical specialty to which I will essentially be committed for the rest of my life.  I've found myself being pulled in innumerable directions as the competitive part of me wants to step up and go into the most highly selective field I can get into, while the father and husband in me wants to ensure that I'm choosing a field that will allow me to spend quality time with my family on my terms, while the narcissist in me is pulling to something high profile where I can "prove" to others of my superior intellect and ability (I say that cynically though I certainly can't avoid feeling it at times).

I share my own story for a couple of reasons --- 1) to point out that kids aren't the answer either way, I love my daughter in a completely inexplicable way, and she provides such a sense of fulfillment and joy in me (not to mention frustration and pain) on a daily basis, but just because you are a parent doesn't mean that you are and only ever will be a parent.  Just like you probably felt before you got married how weird it would be once you were married, then you got married and realized you were still the same person you always were, having kids doesn't really change that.  Priorities change, certainly, but you are still you.  B) I'm realizing that patience is a key player in all of this.  When you are younger, there is constantly something on the horizon, whether it's going to high school, losing your virginity, getting drunk for the first time, moving out, going to college, graduating college, getting your first job, buying your first car or house, etc.  Whatever it is, it's really just around the corner, and even though you are always antsy to get to the next stage, you are never antsy for too long.  Suddenly though, all of those big life moments are behind you and yet here you are getting antsy again, yet there's nothing around the corner like you've become accustomed to.  So you just continue to be antsy, waiting, and waiting, and waiting.  This is probably the point where many people start to feel confused and lost.  And you are faced with the question "what now?"  I'm beginning to believe that the answer here is patience.  You've got your life together, things are going well, you're in a good situation, so just be patient.  You don't have to force the next big step in your life upon yourself prematurely.  Relax a bit, recognize where you are at this moment in your life, and ride the wave a little while. 

So my advice, start checking off items on your list, but do it stress-free.  It's not a race, just dive in and start doing what you can to enjoy and accomplish them for yourself (not for your facebook updates or for us), as you work your way through those items bigger goals will start to congeal in your mind in due time.

Very well written- and you sound almost exactly like my friend (who has already chosen his specialty- neurosurgeon) and is a few years into that part of school. He is good at it, but also a family man and has stated to me in some very in depth talks that if he fully understood how much of a life commitment that really was(a LOT of time away from family, and constantly hooked to his phone/job even when home), he probably would have picked something else- for what it's worth.
Ride the wave is good. it's easy to get in the mode of what next, developed just as you say. Even when we hit the road a year ago, I kind of got pulled into the idea that we had to see/visit something cool every day. This feeling was also heightened by social media- instagram/facebook where one day I realized that really without meaning to, I was trying to top my last adventure/picture and that I almost felt pressure from my followers to see something stunning all the time. I shut it all down immediately, and now have long stretches where we see new things, but nothing really photographically impressive. In fact it makes the really cool places all that more impressive when they just happen every now and then.  Patience and thankfulness- those two are really key. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and personal experience and good luck in your decision!

Secretly Saving

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #56 on: March 25, 2016, 08:38:40 AM »
My goals, in rough order of priority:

1. Achieve a sense of freedom, happiness, and security. (IOW, "FIRE")

After that:

2. Have great relationships with my family (move closer to most of them, visit the rest more).
3. Experience as much of the world as possible, and learn as much as I can from it (read, travel, etc).
4. Stay engaged as long as I live and contribute useful ideas to the lives of those around me.
5. Try to make the world a better place (give spare time, money, and energy to worthy causes).

This is a great list and similar to what I have written for myself!

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #57 on: March 25, 2016, 01:22:43 PM »
My goals, in rough order of priority:

1. Achieve a sense of freedom, happiness, and security. (IOW, "FIRE")

After that:

2. Have great relationships with my family (move closer to most of them, visit the rest more).
3. Experience as much of the world as possible, and learn as much as I can from it (read, travel, etc).
4. Stay engaged as long as I live and contribute useful ideas to the lives of those around me.
5. Try to make the world a better place (give spare time, money, and energy to worthy causes).
Well Zeph, I'm on the same path, but with a twenty year head start. To your awesome list I will add, with the wisdom perspective of age:

6. Enjoy what you can when you can.

dougules

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #58 on: March 25, 2016, 01:51:39 PM »
Maybe your life's purpose could be finding your life's purpose. 

hedgefund10

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #59 on: March 25, 2016, 04:46:05 PM »
F*ck up some commas...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bOle31GSoaU

For my homies...NSFW

brandino29

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #60 on: March 29, 2016, 08:51:35 AM »
Very well written- and you sound almost exactly like my friend (who has already chosen his specialty- neurosurgeon) and is a few years into that part of school. He is good at it, but also a family man and has stated to me in some very in depth talks that if he fully understood how much of a life commitment that really was(a LOT of time away from family, and constantly hooked to his phone/job even when home), he probably would have picked something else- for what it's worth.
Ride the wave is good. it's easy to get in the mode of what next, developed just as you say. Even when we hit the road a year ago, I kind of got pulled into the idea that we had to see/visit something cool every day. This feeling was also heightened by social media- instagram/facebook where one day I realized that really without meaning to, I was trying to top my last adventure/picture and that I almost felt pressure from my followers to see something stunning all the time. I shut it all down immediately, and now have long stretches where we see new things, but nothing really photographically impressive. In fact it makes the really cool places all that more impressive when they just happen every now and then.  Patience and thankfulness- those two are really key. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and personal experience and good luck in your decision!

Thanks Wekeep.  I agree with your sentiments 100%.  I've definitely found myself at times pulled by social media, I've managed to cut out FB almost entirely from my life and only ever use it anymore when I'm trying to reach someone whose telephone number i don't have.  That's helped a lot.  Unfortunately I'm still battling (though starting to win) the pull of Strava, a social media thing for running and biking, where I've literally found myself choosing certain routes to run or bike just so it looks good when I upload it to my profile.  It's ridiculous.

I've heard a reference before to neurosurgeons as the fighter jet pilots of the medical world and I think that's a pretty good analogy.  The type of badass that all of us wish we could be until we find out just how much sacrifice it takes and then we say no thanks. 

Yankuba

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #61 on: March 29, 2016, 08:56:45 AM »
Commenting to follow

Daleth

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #62 on: March 30, 2016, 02:35:38 PM »
  • I am a seeker of Truth, pursuing deeper knowledge of God and the world I live in.
  • I am a man, embracing appropriate responsibility for myself and those I interact with.
  • I am honest, maintaining integrity in all interactions with others - whether private or public.
  • I am passionate, courageously living each day and hour, never neglecting the gift of life.
  • I am dedicated, faithfully accepting and working towards completion of personal and professional obligations.
  • I am responsible and diligent in my time, health, and fitness, living a life worth imitating in light of the blessing I have been given.

Very deliberately summarized as "Be Life."  Life referring to two things, reflecting eternal life from God as well as being excited about life in general. And yes, obviously my Christian beliefs drove that list and the summary. Those things matter to me and drive my life.

The things that contribute to fulfilling what I wrote above are things like mentoring others, volunteering, being generous to others with time/resources, being a good friend, and other things. But more relationally based than self-based.

Partially because to me nearly all the items on my list of my mission statement are others focused - not self focused.

I really like your list. While we came at it from different angles and perspectives (ie: I came at mine from a secular/atheist perspective), I think it is very similar in intent to my list of Core Values (see above). Has it made a difference in your life to have this list to fall back on? It's made a huge difference to me, as I now have a "map" to help me make decisions and stay focussed on what really matters to me. I agree that focussing on others is key. Your own fulfillment will naturally grow out of that.

Yes, I really like it too, from my Neopagan/gnostic/shamanic perspective. It probably sounds completely ridiculous that I thought this for so long, but I've been realizing in recent years that I was incorrect in my assumption that "life purpose" should be synonymous with some sort of job (I include parenting as a job; that does seem to be some people's purpose). I always believed there was some "soulmate" job out there and I just needed to figure out what it was. Turns out... that is NOT THE CASE! And the list above really expresses an alternative vision beautifully.
« Last Edit: March 30, 2016, 02:39:11 PM by Daleth »

zoltani

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #63 on: March 30, 2016, 03:43:42 PM »

"Once upon a time on Tralfamadore there were creatures who weren't anything like machines. They weren't dependable. They weren't efficient. They weren't predictable. They weren't durable. And these poor creatures were obsessed by the idea that everything that existed had to have a purpose, and that some purposes were higher than others.

These creatures spent most of their time trying to find out what their purpose was. And every time they found out what seemed to be a purpose of themselves, the purpose seemed so low that the creatures were filled with disgust and shame.

And, rather than serve such a low purpose, the creatures would make a machine to serve it. This left the creatures free to serve higher purposes. But whenever they found a higher purpose, the purpose still wasn't high enough.

So machines were made to serve higher purposes, too.

And the machines did everything so expertly that they were finally given the job of finding out what the highest purpose of the creatures could be. The machines reported in all honesty that the creatures couldn't really be said to have any purpose at all.

The creatures thereupon began slaying each other, because they hated purposeless things above all else.

And they discovered that they weren't even very good at slaying. So they turned that job over to the machines, too. And the machines finished up the job in less time than it takes to say, "Tralfamodore""

Vonnegut

dougules

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #64 on: March 30, 2016, 03:56:04 PM »

"Once upon a time on Tralfamadore there were creatures who weren't anything like machines. They weren't dependable. They weren't efficient. They weren't predictable. They weren't durable. And these poor creatures were obsessed by the idea that everything that existed had to have a purpose, and that some purposes were higher than others.

These creatures spent most of their time trying to find out what their purpose was. And every time they found out what seemed to be a purpose of themselves, the purpose seemed so low that the creatures were filled with disgust and shame.

And, rather than serve such a low purpose, the creatures would make a machine to serve it. This left the creatures free to serve higher purposes. But whenever they found a higher purpose, the purpose still wasn't high enough.

So machines were made to serve higher purposes, too.

And the machines did everything so expertly that they were finally given the job of finding out what the highest purpose of the creatures could be. The machines reported in all honesty that the creatures couldn't really be said to have any purpose at all.

The creatures thereupon began slaying each other, because they hated purposeless things above all else.

And they discovered that they weren't even very good at slaying. So they turned that job over to the machines, too. And the machines finished up the job in less time than it takes to say, "Tralfamodore""

Vonnegut

La seule raison d'Ítre d'un Ítre, c'est d'Ítre.

Drifterrider

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #65 on: March 31, 2016, 10:20:51 AM »
My life's purpose is to set an example.  Not sure if it is a good one or a bad one but, I'm setting one.

zoltani

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #66 on: March 31, 2016, 10:46:50 AM »
My life's purpose is to set an example.  Not sure if it is a good one or a bad one but, I'm setting one.

For who?

arebelspy

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #67 on: April 03, 2016, 03:41:40 PM »
Following.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Paul | pdgessler

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #68 on: April 03, 2016, 05:10:59 PM »
Following.

Interesting life purpose. Following who (or what)? ;-p :-)

arebelspy

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #69 on: April 04, 2016, 02:04:17 AM »
Everything.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Drifterrider

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #70 on: April 04, 2016, 05:33:57 AM »
My life's purpose is to set an example.  Not sure if it is a good one or a bad one but, I'm setting one.

For who?

That, is the question for the ages (or sages) :)

golden1

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #71 on: April 04, 2016, 07:54:31 AM »
The answer to life the universe and everything is 42.

/endthread

Drifterrider

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #72 on: April 04, 2016, 10:55:10 AM »
The answer to life the universe and everything is 42.

/endthread

....and thanks for all the fish.

forummm

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #73 on: April 04, 2016, 11:15:14 AM »
Our central purpose, as defined by our genetic programming, is to spread our particular strain of traits far and wide through procreation and to spark our brain's reward receptors frequently. Our purpose as defined by our mental programming differs for each individual, although many people share similar themes. Generally these two factors result in us wanting to be happy with ourselves. Commonly by being important in some way. Loved, feared, powerful, little copies of us running around doing important stuff, etc. And pretty much everything we do is in pursuit of the central goal and it's related subgoals.

But our biggest asset is also our biggest liability--our minds. We ask ourselves difficult and painful questions that challenge our biological predispositions. Why does it matter if we are important? We're all going to be dead some day. What does being important matter then? What does it matter if we do anything? So we (in part because it hurts, and in part because it runs contrary to our mental programming from society) quickly move beyond these questions and focus on the things that ping our reward receptors. We invent religions to solve these questions through magic (the purpose is to do these things so that you can be important forever). We focus on demonstrations of importance here (money, positions of power, status symbols, desirability of sexual partners, etc). And we focus on things that get our minds beyond the daily grind of simple survival (like that food we want to eat or that person we want to have sex with or that place we want to go).

You have a life and it's a gift. You only get one. The purpose is up to you. You're the only judge of your life and whether it's meeting your purpose.

I was going to put more time into this post, but it wasn't hitting my reward receptors enough and other priorities were providing negative feedback instead. So it is what it is. Which is to perhaps be quickly skimmed by a handful of people on the Internet and then turn into bytes on a server that get relegated to history and eventual deletion.

mrpercentage

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #74 on: April 04, 2016, 08:48:54 PM »

"Once upon a time on Tralfamadore there were creatures who weren't anything like machines. They weren't dependable. They weren't efficient. They weren't predictable. They weren't durable. And these poor creatures were obsessed by the idea that everything that existed had to have a purpose, and that some purposes were higher than others.

These creatures spent most of their time trying to find out what their purpose was. And every time they found out what seemed to be a purpose of themselves, the purpose seemed so low that the creatures were filled with disgust and shame.

And, rather than serve such a low purpose, the creatures would make a machine to serve it. This left the creatures free to serve higher purposes. But whenever they found a higher purpose, the purpose still wasn't high enough.

So machines were made to serve higher purposes, too.

And the machines did everything so expertly that they were finally given the job of finding out what the highest purpose of the creatures could be. The machines reported in all honesty that the creatures couldn't really be said to have any purpose at all.

The creatures thereupon began slaying each other, because they hated purposeless things above all else.

And they discovered that they weren't even very good at slaying. So they turned that job over to the machines, too. And the machines finished up the job in less time than it takes to say, "Tralfamodore""

Vonnegut

I love Vonnegut. He is one of the only ones who will make me laugh and strike home a serious point.

Wekeeprollingdowntheroad

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #75 on: April 05, 2016, 04:56:05 AM »
Our central purpose, as defined by our genetic programming, is to spread our particular strain of traits far and wide through procreation and to spark our brain's reward receptors frequently. Our purpose as defined by our mental programming differs for each individual, although many people share similar themes. Generally these two factors result in us wanting to be happy with ourselves. Commonly by being important in some way. Loved, feared, powerful, little copies of us running around doing important stuff, etc. And pretty much everything we do is in pursuit of the central goal and it's related subgoals.

But our biggest asset is also our biggest liability--our minds. We ask ourselves difficult and painful questions that challenge our biological predispositions. Why does it matter if we are important? We're all going to be dead some day. What does being important matter then? What does it matter if we do anything? So we (in part because it hurts, and in part because it runs contrary to our mental programming from society) quickly move beyond these questions and focus on the things that ping our reward receptors. We invent religions to solve these questions through magic (the purpose is to do these things so that you can be important forever). We focus on demonstrations of importance here (money, positions of power, status symbols, desirability of sexual partners, etc). And we focus on things that get our minds beyond the daily grind of simple survival (like that food we want to eat or that person we want to have sex with or that place we want to go).

You have a life and it's a gift. You only get one. The purpose is up to you. You're the only judge of your life and whether it's meeting your purpose.

I was going to put more time into this post, but it wasn't hitting my reward receptors enough and other priorities were providing negative feedback instead. So it is what it is. Which is to perhaps be quickly skimmed by a handful of people on the Internet and then turn into bytes on a server that get relegated to history and eventual deletion.

Thanks for taking the time- enjoyed reading that. One of the really interesting things about life is that you can train your own reward receptors. So that one can literally enjoy anything they choose. The unfortunate thing is that so many people are trained by outside (and often harmful) entities.  But now I'm preaching to the choir :)

brandino29

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #76 on: April 05, 2016, 11:09:44 AM »
I was going to put more time into this post, but it wasn't hitting my reward receptors enough and other priorities were providing negative feedback instead. So it is what it is. Which is to perhaps be quickly skimmed by a handful of people on the Internet and then turn into bytes on a server that get relegated to history and eventual deletion.

Haha, not only did I skim it, I actually read it.  And I enjoyed it.  Purpose achieved. 


Metric Mouse

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #77 on: April 11, 2016, 09:02:34 AM »
I was at a business the other day and saw a poster on some poor cube-slave's wall. "The purpose of life is a life of purpose."  My first reaction was "Dogshit", but reminded me of this thread.

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #78 on: April 11, 2016, 08:02:37 PM »
In the way I think the question is intended -- None. And I'm still trying to make peace with that.

luciep

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Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #79 on: April 11, 2016, 08:21:44 PM »
A few month ago, I made my peace with the fact that there is no purpose in my life. I decided to pick something simple that makes me feel good and happy, and I turned it into my life goal.

My goal in life is to wake up whenever I want. It means that I would follow the natural rhythm of my body, but it also implies that I wouldn't have a mandatory job that forces me to be somewhere at a specific time every week day.

I've found that when I wake up naturally and I let my mind wander while laying in bed, this is when I am the most productive. I come up with a lot of ideas and I am extremely productive.

trashmanz

  • Bristles
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  • Posts: 338
Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #80 on: April 11, 2016, 08:25:27 PM »

My goal in life is to wake up whenever I want.

So no children then...  :)

Gone

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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  • Posts: 21
Re: What's your life purpose?
« Reply #81 on: April 20, 2016, 05:41:37 PM »
Cool list. Sounds like you'll have some fun.

I don't have a purpose. I try to increase whatever is best and reduce whatever is worst in the world.