TED Conversations

Elizabeth Rivas

Struggling Student,

This conversation is closed.

What is your purpose in life and how and when did you come to realize it? In what ways are you now living towards your purpose?

After having lived for 21 years I would have assumed when I was younger that by this time in my life, surely I would have figured out my purpose. Of course, this is not the case. I have been thinking more and more about my life in terms of my true purpose. I may have a general idea where I want to go in life, for example, I am planning and studying hard so that I can successfully transfer to UCLA, my dream school. I also know that I enjoy working with children, learning about the biological sciences, writing poetry and fiction in my free time, and sharing my ideas. I was hoping I might be able to learn how members of this wonderful community called TED has come to learn their true purpose. Share with me with your lightbulb moments about the exact moment when you realized you found your calling? Or maybe share your not so lightbulb moment. Maybe it took you years and years to discover your calling in life. Either way, I am eager to hear from you and how you not only learned what it is you want to do with your life but how you are implementing those desires today


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Apr 15 2013: Hi Elizabeth,
    I thought I had it all figured out in my 20s, and when reality proved otherwise, I decided that in the 30s I would have it all figured out. Along came the 30s....well this is NOT what I thought it was going to be! Then we moved into the 40s.....more surprises!!! One day, chatting with a very good friend who was in her 50s as I was at the time, we came to the conclusion that life is an exploration. Everything may not always be as we planned.

    For me, there is one main purpose, which is to explore life fully. I have known that since I was a child, and always felt like an adventurous explorer in this earth school. The main goal is to learn, grow and evolve as an individual while contributing to the whole.

    There have been various other "purposes" along the way, and at each stage of the life adventure, one or the other purposes takes center stage, and gets my attention in varying degrees, depending on priorities in the moment.

    When I was a wife and mom, for example, that was my priority....everything revolved around that purpose. I had careers, and various activities that I participated in, and EVERYTHING revolved around the family.

    When the kids got older, and didn't need my physical presence as much any more, I focused a little more on my development. At that time, I faced a physical challenge, so a lot of my focus and activities revolved around strengthening the body. I still had family of course....careers, and various activities, and pursuing physical strengthening to support a physical challenge was my priority.

    I'm suggesting that our purpose and focus can change at various times in the life experience. It sounds from your description Elizabeth that you want to do it all, which mirrors my perception of life. We CAN do a LOT in the life adventure, and we may not be able to do it all at the same time...follow your heart in each and every moment:>)
    • thumb
      Apr 17 2013: Aw, thank you for sharing this. This has been the most helpful and reassuring comment. I will continue to work towards achieving everything it is that I aim to be and share.
      • thumb
        Apr 18 2013: You are welcome Elizabeth.....my pleasure....glad it was helpful:>)

        I think it's great if a person follows one clear purpose all his/her life, and it's also great if we have lots of "sub-purposes" at different stages of our life. If we have an underlying "purpose" to learn grow and evolve as individuals, while contributing to the whole, EVERYTHING can be included in that. Perhaps it depends on how one defines "purpose".

        I'm sure you will do GREAT....enjoy it......whatever "it" is:>)

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.