First and the foremost reason is that we are conditioned like that by society. Since our childhood we are told that we need to have a purpose to live in. In our neighborhood, there is a man who always asks her granddaughter in front of everyone why you are alive and what’s the purpose of your existence and every time she replies the same. My purpose of life is to live for you. So, the idea of having is purpose is ingrained into our mind. The ‘propose of life’ might be a relative concept or personal but it does not come from inside it actually come from outside. It comes from our family, our friends, media, advertising, politicians, our role models, and social media. So, the purposes of life you think are yours but actually it is programmed into us by the society. Like machine we are programmed to do what our society put us in our minds. People consistently try to create false purposes. If we ask a 7-year-old child what is his or her purpose in life, he or she will say I want to be a doctor, pilot. All parent’s purpose is to rise good kids. If the same question is asked of a married woman who doesn’t go well with her husband, she will say that her purpose of life is to live for her children. If we ask a poor man what’s the purpose of her life. He will say to earn money. And we are told that if we don’t have purpose then our life is not worth living.
We have a purpose because we think that we are not as we are now. We need to do something more. We have purpose of life when we are lacking something in our life like if our psychological or physiological needs are not fulfilled or met. Marlow’s psychological theory of ‘hierarchy of needs’ is a motivation theory in psychology. It represents five stages of need that are arranged from lowest to high: physiological needs, safety needs, love and belonging needs, esteem needs and self-actualization needs. First the physiological needs (as food, water shelter, warm and sleep) “monopolizes a man’s consciousness. When it is fulfilled then man’s purpose is to get to safety needs (to feel secure stable and unafraid) after getting it our mind moves to the next level of need ‘love and belonging needs’, and man’s purpose is to be to loved. And after getting to it moves to next level until a stage of self-actualization is reached. It further says that the average member of our society is most often partially satisfied and partially unsatisfied in all of his wants.
We always need a purpose to make our lives meaning full. Or keep ourselves busy. Human beings always crave for a purpose and those who don’t have purpose suffer psychologically. Or if we don’t have a sense of purpose or anything to occupy the mind externally then it makes us vulnerable or prone to boredom that results into anxiety and depression. We feel unconnected with life. We feel like we are wasting our life. People who think that they don’t have a purpose in life are more vulnerable to drugs and at the same time on the other hand those people with a purpose have positive impact. Having purpose is good for our psychological health. Purpose is necessarily associated with subjectivity and it put a positive impact on the mind. A person who has a purpose is less vulnerable to psychological problems. When we align ourselves to a purpose, we focus our attention and energies on something that is external then we spend less time in immersing in negative thoughts and feelings then it makes us less self-centered and we do not focus much on our worries and problems. We feel ourselves a part of something bigger. It also improves our self-esteem and increases our confidence when we deal with the challenges successfully.
Purpose in our lives is just like a fuel to the engine. It gives a direction to life and courage and strength to move forward. Having a purpose give us a motivation to get up in the morning. And our mind is occupied and we have less negativity or thoughts. We focus to our target and work for it. Frankl, in his book ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ gives us example to elaborate how this purpose of life has positive impact on the mind and help us to keep going. He describes his horrible experience in the Nazi’s concentration camps. During his living in concentration camps, he observed that the inmates who had a purpose to see their love one or purpose or get back on the track of their life were most likely to be survived.
Sadhguru, a mystic, says that because it’s some sort of pettiness of our mind that we want to have a purpose. The need for purpose is come because we are trapped into psychological structure, not in life process. We are trapped in a society that gives us a sense of security and safety. When we have a purpose, we are trapped in it for forever. We lack an ability to identify that trap. The way to break this trap is no to have a purpose. He says that life is so intricate, if we spend ten thousand looking at it carefully, we still cannot understand it entirely what it is. If we pay little attention to it. It will keep us engage for million years or more. It will keep us busy and we don’t feel a need of having a purpose.
As we grow, our purpose grows with us. There are times in our life when our priorities and directions change. With our priorities our purpose is also shifted from one to another. First our purpose of life is to earn millions of dollars when we earn it or achieve our purpose. Then we started to thing again or what the purpose of my life I am. I am wasting my life. Then we make another and try to fulfill it and just lie it goes on shifting. Having purpose in life gives us some sort of power. We live under and illusion that we can control our lives. By having purpose we thinks that we can have control on our life and can run it as we want it. We forget one thing that we cannot have control on our birth and death how we can control our life.