Dr. Victor Strecher is a professor and director for innovation and social entrepreneurship at the University of Michigan School of Public Health. He has published over 100 articles in scientific journals and is the author of Life on Purpose.
Dr. Strecher explains that purpose is a concept that has existed for thousands of years. The concept was actually refined by Aristotle 2400 years ago, when he conveyed that alignment with one’s true inner self gives deeper happiness. In last 10 years, there has been great research around this. Studies have shown that those with a strong purpose in their lives are less likely to develop a heart attack, stroke, or Alzheimer’s. They are also likely to live longer.
To find one’s purpose, Dr. Strecher explains there are six steps:
- Think about your core values. Do they include kindness, expertise, relationships, or security? Find what you value the most and operationalize those values.
- Assign a purpose/goal to your values.
- Think of the domains where the values can be applied. Family purpose or community are several examples.
- Perform a headstone test. Imagine yourself dead tomorrow. What would you want to appear on the headstone? This provides an interesting contrast to life.
- Try on new purposes. If they don’t work, replace them. Keep trying different ones until you find the right fit.
- Once you find the purpose that fits, articulate it to the public.
Purpose takes more energy and willpower every day. To allow yourself more of this energy and willpower, Dr. Strecher explains we need more SPACE, or sleep, presence, activity, creativity, and eating. Maintaining a level of glucose will help with this. Love and kindness meditation may also help to give greater purpose and transcend your own ego and defensiveness.
Dr. Strecher’s book, Life on Purpose, is now available for purpose through Amazon or independent bookstores. Dr. Strecher also created a free On Purpose app, where you can get instructions on how to live in alignment with greater purpose. You can find the On Purpose app here.