Advice to Your Children on Finding Their Main Purpose in Life

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This is a letter I wrote to my three children, many years ago, just as they were morphing from children into adults.

Dear Kids:

You have all grown up so fast. I’m struggling with the fact that in a few short years you will all be out of the house and on your own. You will learn that life has its ups and downs.

The ups will make you happy and the downs, unhappy. Some things that create these ups and downs are outside your control but, thankfully, most things are within your control.

I’ve often told each of you that how you live your life determines your success and happiness. You’ve heard me say many times that your daily habits are the key to a great life. If you have more good daily habits than you have bad daily habits, life will be good, you’ll be successful and you won’t have to worry about money. 

I think you all got that message.

But there’s one more message I want to share with all of you before you set out on your own. It has to do with finding your main purpose in life, which will be your primary source of happiness.

One of the things I’ve learned over the years is that when any one of you are unhappy, your Mom and I are also unhappy. So I am being selfish here. I want all of you to be happy so your Mom and I can be happy as well.

Happiness is elusive to so many. Most people are, in fact, unhappy. 

Henry David Thoreau said it best when he wrote: “Most men lead lives of quiet desperation…”.

Most people who are unhappy are unhappy because they are struggling financially. They are struggling financially because either they are living beyond their means or their job simply does not provide them with a sufficient income.

Odds are, when you are not making a sufficient income at your job, it is because you are doing something you do not particularly like. When you can earn a sufficient income doing something you enjoy, you have found your main purpose in life and you will be happy.

But how do you find your main purpose in life?

Believe it or not, finding your main purpose in life is within your control. Here’s the process:

  1. Make a list of everything you can ever remember that made you happy in life. Hopefully, this will be a long list.
  2. Now highlight those items on your list which involve a skill.
  3. Assign a job-type designation to each of the highlighted items.
  4. Next rank each of the highlighted items in terms of happiness with #1 being the greatest happiness and #2 the next greatest happiness and so on.
  5. Now rank each of the highlighted items in terms of income potential with #1 being the highest income and #2 being the next highest and so on.
  6. Total the two columns. The lowest scores represent your main purpose in life.

Here is an example:

This is a guide for selecting that job which will give you the greatest chance for happiness.

Experiment with each job for six months.

You will know that you found your main purpose in life when one of those experimental jobs does not feel like a job at all – time will fly by and you won’t want to stop.

When you find the job you are supposed to do, you will devote significantly more time, focus and energy on doing it. Eventually, you will become a Virtuoso at what you do and the world pays a hefty premium to Virtuosos.

But, more importantly, because you will enjoy what you do for a living, you will feel fulfilled. Fulfillment is permanent happiness.

I love you very much,

Dad

TCORLEY

2 Comments

  1. Eric Sowers on September 17, 2020 at 1:29 PM

    Good stuff.

  2. Janie Braxton on September 17, 2020 at 3:32 PM

    Love this! Love this! Love this!!!
    I am going to do this with my grandchild.
    Thank you, Tom. I have wondered how to talk to my 10-year-old granddaughter about pursuing her dreams and being financially secure at the same time.

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