We’ve left one of the most powerful activities until last – today is about taking one action to be part of something bigger than ourselves. These are things that we care about, but do not personally benefit from (or at least not directly).
Today, spend a few minutes thinking about your personal values, and the principles that you hold dear, then take a small action to contribute to your purpose.
What interests you right now? What do you care about, outside of yourself, your home, and your family? What’s important? What gives you a sense of purpose?
Everyone is different, but it might include:
- The environment or nature
- World poverty, or UK poverty
- Other global issues, such as education or health inequality, or human rights
- Helping people to increase their skills, knowledge or resilience
- A social issue in your neighbourhood or this country
- A single political issue (possibly not connected to a specific party)
- Politics in your neighbourhood
- A national political party
- An aspect of religion, or humanism or atheism
- Providing shelter, safety or work opportunities for people
- Preventing cruelty, for example to children or animals
- Another specific charity or movement or cause
- A short term issue, such as disaster relief
What you choose to focus on could be large or small scale, a broad or very specific topic area, a global issue or something closer to home. It’s completely up to you.
How can you contribute to this purpose?
Once you’ve had time to consider what you care about most from the list above, decide how you could make some kind of a contribution, however small, to the benefit of your cause or purpose. How can you benefit the greater good?
For example, you could take one of these actions:
- Make a small one off donation, or set up a standing order (if you can afford it)
- Donate goods to a specific charity shop, or buy something from them
- Sign up as a volunteer or a mentor
- Sign a petition on an issue you care deeply about
- Send a letter, postcard, email or other communication to your local Member of Parliament (find their details on www.theyworkforyou.com)
- Make an appointment to see your local MP in person at one of their surgeries
- Join a campaign group or political party
- Go to a local meeting or fundraiser, or host one yourself
- Commit to an activity where you’re being sponsored for charity
- Do crafts or bake cakes to sell, or help with other local or national drives and initiatives
- Donate a percentage of the earnings from your side hustle
- Contribute to a crowdfunding project, or offer charitable micro-loans (see www.kiva.org for ideas)
- …And anything else you want to get involved with where you could make a difference!
This isn’t an exhaustive list, so you have plenty of scope.
Invest in your future happiness
Purpose and contribution play a key role in our longer term happiness and contentment. Their importance and power should be celebrated and never underestimated.
Being true to our personal values, helping others and being altruistic can sometimes push us out of our comfort zones, but it’s an important part of who we are and it can give us a greater sense of purpose in life. It also helps to make us feel more connected to others, helps us build skills and confidence, and allows us to take positive action instead of feeling troubled or helpless.
If you find something you care about, consider how you can make a regular commitment to it.
Ideas for further reading:
Happiness by Design: Finding Pleasure and Purpose in Everyday Life by Paul Dolan, Penguin, £6.49. Buy here.
How to Live a Good Life by Jonathan Fields, Hay House UK, ebook £8.54. Buy here.
What do you care about? What gives you a sense of purpose? How are you going to contribute?