The Purpose of Life Is to Be Helpful, not Happy

“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.” — Winston Churchill

Most people believe that life has no meaning. That’s why they don’t feel fulfilled and can’t find their life’s purpose — they think about meaning as a thing. Purpose is not something we can have; it is what makes our lives meaningful.

Happiness is a paradox, because the more you pursue it, the less you feel. The dark side of happiness is a negative state that people can get caught up in. It’s easy to become distracted from other important aspects of your life.

If you have a big desire to be happy, it will make it hard to enjoy what you already have. The most important thing you’ll learn while traveling is to be present and mindful. You’ll learn to find purpose while traveling and in the process, you’ll learn to live a more conscious life.

Being helpful brings purpose to life

“We rise by lifting others.”

— Robert Ingersoll

Many people approach finding meaning by taking an individualistic perspective. They think it is about them. You need to find a way to create meaningful change, and that means helping people to see the true potential in their relationships.

The purpose of life is to be happy, and to be happy means to be in love and to be useful, and to have the opportunity to pursue these three aims in practice.

Living with the person you love is the greatest gift you can give yourself. Relationships are the central feature of a positive, well-lived life — that’s the key insight that psychologist Carol Ryff discovered when reviewing the writings of countless philosophers throughout history.

Similarly, researchers have found that prosociality strengthens meaning in life. People who were more altruistic reported feeling more purpose and meaning in their lives.

Hedonic wellbeing is concerned with how we feel or how much pleasure or happiness we have. Eudaimonic wellbeing is concerned with what gives life meaning and what makes it meaningful. It’s about what gives life purpose and what makes it meaningful.

A meaningful life and a happy life often go hand-in-hand, but not always.

That’s the insight behind a paper published by Roy Baumeister in the Journal of Positive Psychology. These findings suggest that happiness isn’t connected with whether or not you’re healthy, have enough money, or feel comfortable in life — while meaning is.

Satisfying your wants and needs may bring you happiness, but it won’t add meaning.

I’m the best in the world at what I do. I’m also the most happy. It’s all about the now, and doing what makes me happy. It’s not about being great at something but being a better version of myself. I’m a better person when I am being a better version of me.

Research shows that one of the most important ways to find meaning in life is by developing good relationships. Happiness is associated with being a giver rather than a taker. Meaningful life comes from helping others.

Life is a give and take

“There were two classes of charitable people: one, the people who did a little and made a great deal of noise; the other, the people who did a great deal and made no noise at all.” — Charles Dickens

In her book, “Give and Take”, Adam Grant tells us about the importance of reciprocity style for success, and that there are two possible approaches to success. According to the Wharton Business School professor, there are three different reciprocity styles: Takers, Givers, and Matchers.

1. “Takers” are fixated on always getting more than they give.

They believe the world is a dog-eat-dog place, so they need to always be the smartest one in the room, if not in the school or company. They want to succeed at any cost, so they give. That makes them weak.

Takers feel the need to self-promote to gain favor from others and appear to have more clout than they actually do. “What’s in it for me?” “What am I getting out of this?” “Why should I care? Takers are Calculators, Cautious, and Self-Protective.

2. “Matchers” believe in quid pro quo.

There’s a fair and equal approach to relationships. If you’re going to be nice to someone, you need to know when to be nice, and when to be demanding. If you help someone, they’ll want to help you back. “If you take from me, I’ll take from you.

If you give to me, I’ll give to you. Matchers are driven by balance. They are always tracking how much they give and how much they receive.

3. Givers are other-focused

They’re driven by generosity. They don’t weigh the pros and cons. They do not carry a balance sheet of good deeds. “They seek to enrich the lives of the people they interact with.” “How can I add value for this person?” “What can I contribute?

Generous people share their time, knowledge, ideas, and connections with other people. Don’t be a jerk. Be nice and helpful to others. It’s not easy to give to others, but when it’s a good deed, it’s well-worth it. Giving too much can harm you.

The problem with giving

“If you can, help others; if you cannot do that, at least do not harm them.” — Dalai Lama

The gift of giving can be a strength — you can become overburdened. There is a bi-modal distribution of givers in organizations. There was a common theme for those who underperformed. Sometimes, they give too much.

They’re often giving to the wrong people (the takers), but context matters too. Giving in a work culture that rewards takers sucks away the passion from givers. No matter what kind of emotional situation, you can’t stop giving – and that’s a good thing.

Some people don’t care about their own needs. They’re afraid of disappointing someone else, so they don’t ask for what they need. Many people think that if they don’t try their best, they may get in trouble. Balancing the act of giving is an important skill that helps you protect yourself from being taken advantage of.

Giving gives meaning to your life by developing stronger relationships. Givers create win-win situations and help others succeed. Everything we do is connected. We are what we are because of everything we’ve done. Matchers — those looking for quid pro quo — are more likely to want to give back

7 ways to be helpful to others

“If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.” — Buddha

People who are generous, who give more than they get, and who genuinely try to help others are more likely to succeed. Being helpful is one of the ways to help others. Here are some suggestions to keep in mind when trying to continue being helpful.

1. Build, don’t limit others:

The simplest way to help others is to borrow their ideas and give them credit for them. Most of us are reacting “no,” or “yes, but”, when we’re writing people off. Whether we are busy or not, we should always be polite. When we are helpful, we make others feel important. Amplify other people’s ideas and thoughts. Creativity is driven by generosity.

2. Practice 5-minute favors:

When you need a fun favor for a kid or a grandchild, consider giving them a 5-minute favor. They’re easy to make and the results can be awesome. You should consider all the ways you can help others, and it might take just a few minutes to do so.

3. Be an active listener:

Most people just want someone to listen to them. They don’t need advice, they just want someone to tell. To get clarity about an issue, I first talk about it aloud. Most people don’t listen – they just want to pass on their smart words of wisdom.

It takes generosity to understand. Stay in the moment and don’t interrupt.

4. Be a Positive influence:

People often overlook how their words and mindset affect others. Your words and thoughts are a powerful influence—bring meaning to your relationships. Don’t let yourself get caught up in your own problems; instead, practice being a source of help and inspiration for others.

5. Volunteer your services:

Give your work without expecting anything in return. Your time is a valuable asset. People, companies, and non-profits that are just starting out need your services the most. Your current clients need a reason to refer new business your way. This is the best way for consultants to show their gratitude for their clients’ success.

6. Mentor others:

You can change other people’s lives by mentoring them. Either if you’re a professional who’s just looking for a career change or if you’re just getting started as a mentor, mentoring transforms both parties. We’ve all seen how mentors are perceived as the teachers who teach us.

7. Volunteer in your community:

According to a report by Deloitte, 74% of people who volunteer experience a sense of purpose and an increase in well-being. You can’t be nicer, kinder, or gentler than you were yesterday. Try this 30-day kindness challenge and you’ll be spreading kindness for years to come. Or browse volunteering opportunities in the U.S. or across the globe.

Life has no meaning. We discover our purpose in life as we travel.

The world is full of Givers and Takers. Some people like to give, and others just look out for themselves.

You can find purpose and pleasure in serving others without expecting anything in return.