How to Find Your Purpose: The 500 Million Dollar Question
I want to ask you the 500 million dollar question. This will help you understand how to find your purpose today. It’s one of the many exercises I provide in Do Work You Love, but here I want to go a bit deeper.
The question is:
“If you had 500 million dollars right now in your bank account, what would you do?”
However, before you jump into the answers, I want you to follow some guidelines to take advantage of this exercise.
If you had that amount, you would probably buy a nice car, the house you’ve always dreamed of, rent a yacht, sail out and have a huge party. You would go to nightclubs, travel the world, move to the city of your dreams, give some money to charities…you name it.
First of all, you have to actually think it through, visualize it vividly, experience it as it were real. Take 10 minutes to do this.
I know it sounds silly, but really trick yourself into believing you have that amount in your bank account. Picture in your mind what you would authentically be doing. This is one of the quickest exercises I know for how to find your purpose.
Now, I want you to imagine that you went through all this stuff for 3 entire months, and you still have 100 million. You’ve tried everything you could, made sure your kids have a house, college paid and a good health insurance… basically everything.
The question now is: What would you actually be doing with your life?
What would you be putting your effort and energy into? Would you be putting that into some sort of cause, would you be doing something creative? Maybe something productive? Or would you just continue to spend all the money you have, keep traveling and that’s it?
If the answer is again something you would buy or that just requires your money, it means you can have it. So move on. Go deeper and deeper until you reach a sort of “rock bottom”. This just means you’re going deeper and deeper towards your most authentic self.
If you really want to find out how to find your purpose and take the exercise seriously and actually sit down and do that, it can have huge benefits.
My Experience With the Exercise
When I asked myself this question I knew there were a lot of superficial things, so I let all my answers flow. I wanted to buy all sorts of things, from the most technological advanced gadgets to an awesome custom library, both physical and digital. And I also wanted to buy a house on the beach in Italy, one in Indonesia and another in Switzerland.
I listed a lot of other things I would dream of, until I got to the bottom.
Then I imagined myself waking up in that amazing villa in Italy. A beautiful, peaceful morning after 3 months of crazy spending and experiencing everything I could possibly imagine. And I pictured myself asking “And now what?”.
What came out is that I wanted to become a master in self-development, especially studying how happiness truly works and how it can be applied in day to day life. And I wanted to become the best when it comes to the Life Purpose subject. I understood that the most meaningful thing I could be doing for the world is helping others figure out what their purpose is, and how to embody it in their lives.
In that moment I didn’t care about not having the money, or time, or energies to start this kind of thing. And I didn’t care if I could possibly become good at doing it. I just wanted to become the best I could, for me and also for the people I would share these things with.
The trick that worked for me is that I really visualized me having all those money and waking up in the morning and start thinking what my life would be about.
How to Get the Most of the Exercise
For you of course it might be something totally different. Maybe it’s starting a business, or creating some sort of art or inventing something new.
Whatever it is, I think this question is really powerful. Yes, it’s true that after you identified that thing it’s hard because you need to have the courage to go out there and do it. And of course, you don’t have the 100 million so you still have the bills to pay, your job, your spouse, kids, etc.
BUT…the exercise at least gets you thinking and gets you to cut out all the “filler” – or the inauthentic stuff that really doesn’t create lasting fulfillment.
The problem is that right now there’s this tendency to think “If I had a little bit more money I would go do this, or that” and then what you do is creating projects that are just about getting the money. But then the question is what would you really do when you have that money.
You see the problem?
Maybe you want to start a business now, but ultimately if you had 100 million dollars you wouldn’t, because that would just be a way to get a reward (money), and not something you’re doing for the sake of doing it.
You need to start thinking about what you want to do independently of the reward.
You have to figure out what you want not because when you obtain that it will get you someplace else, but because it will bring you to the final state of being you want to be in.
If we go deeper in the exercise, every time you generate an answer that you realize was thought just to get something else, ask yourself what is that “something else”. And repeat the process until you get to the ultimate thing.
The question is what’s that ultimate place you’re trying to get to?
Have the courage to put aside what society wants you to do. Ignore what your parents, colleagues, spouse or friends think you should be doing. Ask yourself what would you be doing if you were free of all the social and financial pressures you have.
Take Action Now!
If your answer is nothing, or sitting on the couch all day, or just continuing to spend all your remaining 100 million dollars, I think you fail to appreciate the depth of the challenge here for how to find your purpose.
You think the stuff you will acquire with the money is going to make you content, but you know better than that. Look at yourself, look at your life until now and all the stuff you’ve gotten. Deep inside you know that it has never really satisfied you. The only thing that satisfies you is what you’re DOING: it’s the action you’re taking towards something you believe is meaningful.
For everybody is going to be different.
The question is what is it for you.
If you had a hundred million dollars, what would you be doing?
Did you enjoy reading this post about how to find your purpose?
Let me know what you think in the comments, I really do care. Please share it with a friend using the social bar.
Join the Facebook page – I’ll see you there!