Why We Strive To Find ‘Purpose’
Why do we strive to find purpose in our lives?
Purpose doesn't exist outside of the minds of men and women. All that exists, when our brains are taken out the equation, is matter and energy. They don't have a purpose. They just are.
Rocks fly through space, but they're not on some cosmic journey to fulfill their life's ambitions.
Stars burn brightly, but not because they want to live up to their full potential.
The laws of physics don't have a purpose. They just are.
F = ma
Force equals mass times acceleration, but force doesn't want to equal mass times acceleration. Force doesn't strive to equal mass times acceleration.
Force doesn't feel that it's purpose is to equal the other side of the equation. It just does.
So what are we funny humans doing with a sense of purpose between our ears?
We're affected by the laws of physics, but unlike stars and asteroids we want to do things. We want to feel a connection to others. We want to find a reason for what we do.
Why do we strive to find this meaning or purpose? Simple. It feels good.
When we feel we're achieving something and striving towards a worthwhile goal we get a sense of satisfaction.
Doing certain things feels good because our bodies have evolved to make them so.
A warm fire on a cold day feels good because our bodies need a way of telling us to avoid frostbite. Orgasms feel good, and it makes damn sure we don't forget to procreate.
Having a purpose feels great because, in a similar vein, it keeps us doing what we're supposed to do.
If you're the caveman in the tribe who lulls around all day eating his comrades meat and munching on berries others have harvested you're likely to be ousted pretty quickly. You'll be dead within the week.
On the other hand, if you've got a purpose... 'I gather the berries.', 'I skin the deer to make clothing.' then you're much more likely to be accepted by your peers.
Having a purpose feels good largely to make sure we have one. Not having a purpose and feeling 'purpose-less' leads to depression in order to push us to find one.
Humans who didn't feel the need to have a purpose died out pretty quickly.
Humans who had an internal urge to search for meaning in their actions fared better.
Today, most of us have evolved to enjoy the feeling of doing something with purpose. Our bodies have adapted to make this beneficial activity feel good.
When you're on purpose, you feel great. It's evolutionary.
People who don't feel their lives have meaning will often feel depressed. They'll spend millions on 'Ra-ra' motivation because they think that a purpose will genuinely make them feel better.
Just like getting closer to a warm campfire, feeling closely aligned with a purpose brings a sense of peace and contentment.
We've been programmed this way.
Why not use this inherent trait to your advantage?