Only human beings keep asking, “why?” It’s our blessing and our curse. Asking, “why does the sun shine?” can help us build a better understanding of the world around us. But asking “what’s my why?” can leave many of us feeling lost and confused.

There Is No Universal Why

Many self-help authors would have you believe that there’s a single why in the universe. It’s to earn big bags of money, get married and have babies and retire in luxury. Yet, this isn’t the way most lives pan out – does this mean they’re meaningless lives?

Of course not. In fact, the pursuit of this life can often be terribly unfulfilling. Achieving “wealth” at the expense of nearly everything else often means neglecting the really important things in life.

Everyone has seen the children of rich and powerful people talk about their unhappy lives. Can you say you “succeeded” when all you did was make those you love miserable?

Your Why Is Not A Mystery

Once you recognize that there’s no universal “why” for people then you can start to think more clearly about your own life’s purpose.

And yes, having a purpose is important. Recent research suggests that people who feel that they have a purpose live longer, are happier and are more successful in every aspect of their lives

However, it’s important to note that when you define your purpose, your definition of “success” is much more likely to be attainable than it is when you let someone else define that purpose for you.

You Don’t Need To Dream Big

There is one universal constant between human cultures. It’s not science, it’s not maths, it’s not language and it’s not business excellence. It’s art.

There are cultures with no interest in physics or chemistry. Others where no-one can count higher than 5. There are even peculiar cultures where people elect not to speak. Yet, all cultures create.

They paint, they make music, they write poetry. Such art rarely has a “big purpose” except to be enjoyed. It would be hard to deny though that they bring happiness and connection much more than big-agribusiness has ever done, right?

Finding Your Purpose Means Looking Inside

We can take a lesson from the artists of the world. Our purpose doesn’t need to be material. Our self-worth is not measured in dollar bills and all the money in the world cannot buy happiness.

Finding your why is an inward journey and not one taken from others. It means identifying the aspects of your life that bring you delight and focusing your efforts on them.

It’s OK to choose to have an amazing family life. It’s OK to choose to take photos and travel the world. It’s OK to choose whatever you want.

Your purpose is yours. It’s your choice. It’s your life. It’s your happiness. Play the song that is you, don’t dance to the beat of a self-help author’s drum. Be you. That’s your “why”. To be the best version of you that you want to be.