Our lives will be happier, more meaningful, and more effective, if we have a purpose in life.
If you haven’t found meaning in your work for months … If your career seems to have peaked … If going out with coworkers and spending time with colleagues is totally unappealing to you … If simply thinking about the next work meeting weighs you down … Something inside you has begun to die.
Don’t let another day go by without addressing this, because time alone doesn’t fix things: we must act if we want to change the course of our lives. Find a purpose in your life, set a goal, and you will start to see things differently.
This is the advice of Mario Sergio Cortella, who holds a doctorate in education, and is a full-time professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of São Paulo. Based on his long professional career, he believes that it is essential in life to know why we do what we do. Following in the steps of Aristotle, Cortella suggests that this self-knowledge helps us make sense of our days and our entire life. It serves as a starting point and gives us the ability to carry out the tasks at hand, and even sacrifice ourselves, if necessary, to achieve our clearly identified goals.
The first great message Cortella offers is that we need to know how to endow our life with a purpose, with a concrete objective. For example, why do I get up in the morning? Who or what motivates me to get up, go out, and look for work when unemployed, even after doors have closed on me?
Though the author focuses on the professional arena, his advice can help in other areas of life as well. Cortella reminds us that “purpose” comes from Latin roots “pro” and “ponere,” which mean “to put” or “to place” something “in front of” me.
The author has found that many people are no longer satisfied with a mere salary or income, for example. “There is a quest to be recognized and valued for what one does. I don’t want my effort to be useless or wasted. And I don’t want to be misunderstood either, if I’m a person who has good intentions.” People often say, “I need to know the purpose, and what’s the point of what I’m doing,” says Cortella, who stresses that the vast majority of people today are no longer willing to live as if they were blind to things that are harmful to society, or work simply as “merely useful but ignorant fools.”