Finding purpose: 20 true stories

November 11, 2013

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Rumor has it that thinking about purpose is a luxury — an exercise for do-gooders or artistic souls who somehow got caught in finance careers. Purpose doesn’t pay the bills (hey, it won’t even do the dishes), so why bother thinking about it?

Because, plainly put, purpose defines who we are and what we do in life.

Think about it. We all know people who have a kind of inner glow — not because they eat kale salad, but because they are animated by purpose. It feeds their self worth. It informs their actions, and helps them thoughtfully decide how and where they allocate energy. And that creates lives that are worth getting out of bed for.

Discovering our purpose happens in different ways. Some see it in a sudden flash. For others, it comes more gradually: Stepping outside social norms or recovering from tragedy or connecting with those less well-off.  Then there are people who have always known what to do, either through family influence, passion, or instinct.

No matter the course, when we realize our purpose, we realize what’s fun about life. To prove our point, we tracked down 20 people who shared their stories of when they discovered purpose — and stopped hitting the snooze button. Their enthusiasm is contagious.

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