How do you live life on purpose?

by  Page Cole  |  Self Leadership
How do you live life on purpose? post image

An aerial shot of the sidewalks of any major city bear an amazing resemblance to the view we get as we look down at a large ant den. 

Lots and lots of tiny little bodies scurrying as fast as they can, doing what they can for as long as they can. Both are building, gathering food, and protecting their colony. 

Each strikes out when attacked, at other times seems completely oblivious to the world around it. But there’s something a little depressing about thinking we’re nothing more than a bunch of insects with an insignificant or meaningless existence. Cheer up. We can be so much more! But how? Living on purpose happens when we ask the right questions, and we live larger than ourselves.

One to the most important things you and I can do to bring greater meaning to our lives, our families and our life work is this: ask the right questions.

Remember those conversations with a young child we’ve all had? Questions like “why is the sky blue?”, “do dogs dream?”, and of course, “where do babies come from?” capture the wonder and the curiosity of young minds. I wonder, where does that curiosity go and why does the wonder of this life seem to fade to a mediocre grayness as we age?

If you want to live your life on purpose, you must begin to ask the right questions. Ask questions about love, about values and character, questions about how you can make a meaningful impact on your world. Don’t be satisfied with glibly accepting the sands of time thrown in your direction. Hold those moments in your hands thoughtfully, and consider what you’re doing with the brief moments you have.

Ask how you can better your company or your profession. Ask how you can reach out to a co-worker who is struggling, and together help them succeed. Ask yourself about what experiences you want to have, places you want to see, or people you’d like to me. Ask yourself questions like:

  • What is the single accomplishment I’m most proud of, or want to ultimately be proud of?
  • Where do I want to visit before I die?
  • What is my next big project? What’s my next adventure?
  • If I could only be remembered for 3 things, what would they be? What am I doing to make that a reality?
  • What is MY big question in life?

If you want to live life on purpose, it’s so critical to ask the right questions. But it’s just as important that we make this conscious decision. Today in this day, I will choose to live bigger than myself.

Life on purpose has to include more than living in a bigger house, driving a nicer car and having more prestige or power in the workplace. It’s making choices and living lives that affect our culture to make it a better place. If I’m going to live bigger than myself, I will choose sacrifice over self, and giving over getting. My life will be marked by the lives whose lives are marked by my kindness and character. 

Where we once saw warning signs on the big problems in our companies, our culture and our world, now we only see a bulls eye target waiting on us to take our best shot. Unlike Don Quixote, we don’t see windmills as giants to be conquered — we see giants as old windmills that aren’t nearly as big a fight as we thought they were.

If you are brave enough to live a big life, start with more questions. Look at yourself, your family, your workplace and your community. Find places, projects or causes that could benefit from your passion and creativity. Put a face on this challenge by asking questions like:

  • Who is the next person I want to bless?
  • What cause in the world tugs at my heart, and what are three things I could do to help?
  • Where is their conflict, need or issue at my workplace that I could make a positive difference in if I tried?
  • How much money could I set aside each month to donate or help someone in need? What could I sell or give away that could change someone’s life?

So make the day you stop carrying dirt clods from one side of the ant hill to the other. Make it the day others point to and say, “What has gotten in to him/her? It’s amazing.”

Check out Zoo Life, and see if you recognize yourself.

What’s Next? Get out there and live…on purpose!

About The Author

Articles By page-cole
I’m a dealer in hope… In my career, for seniors who want to stay safely in their own homes… in my family, that our best days are still yet to come… and in my sphere of influence, that we all have the ability to change our world, first and foremost by changing ourselves for the better!  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Chery Gegelman  |  03 Oct 2014  |  Reply


I read your post earlier today and love these questions! I came back to them now to absorb them a little more. They are challenging and encouraging. Thank you!

1. Who is the next person I want to bless?
2. What cause in the world tugs at my heart, and what are three things I could do to help?
3. Where is their conflict, need or issue at my workplace that I could make a positive difference in if I tried?
4. How much money could I set aside each month to donate or help someone in need?
5. What could I sell or give away that could change someone’s life?

Page Cole  |  03 Oct 2014  |  Reply

Thanks Chery! I’m glad they were challenging to you, because they were to me as well! There have been times where I easily sat in the judgment seat over others lives and smugly smiled, feeling that I was “doing it better”… And yet when I reflect on questions like these, it’s incredibly revealing in my own life that it’s in constant need of a daily “retooling, reviewing & renewing” to those bigger and brighter issues in the world that really matter.

Thanks for your comments! Blessings!

Chris Wall  |  03 Oct 2014  |  Reply

The statement that most spoke to me in this article was: My life will be marked by the lives whose lives are marked by my kindness and character. This statement led me to a question: Will my life make a mark?

If the Lord allows and I am able to live through every stage in this lifespan, it will likely be my children who will be the ones standing at my funeral reflecting on the impact of my life. The truth is that the greatest opportunity I have to make an impact is growing up right under my nose in my home. As a pastor, I want to be faithful with the Word of God and to be a race finisher of ministry. In the midst of all my goals and dreams, I want to make sure that I make a purposeful and spiritual investment in the wisest of places; right under my roof because that is one key way to truly leave a legacy in the world.

Bruce Neal  |  03 Oct 2014  |  Reply


Busyness is in and of itself rooted in selfishness. We excuse it away as necessary to achieve those things we all hold near and dear, all directed at some form of success.
The truth is, we are all so busy going after or rushing toward those things, that we fail to notice anything or anyone else. God provides divine appointments all day, that we generally miss. First, we must slow down, be sensitive to those opportunities. We have to slow down enough to notice, then we choose whether or not to act.
That is only the beginning of the transition from selfish to selfless. To impact a world by living on purpose and with purpose, we must become selfless (less about me and more about others)
I loved the article. Really stopped me in my busy tracks. Caught me on a frantic Friday when I’m trying to get too much done.
I’m going to walk back onto the shop floor and see what I can do for someone else, because I’ve been asking of them all week.
Thanks Brother. I love you and appreciate the heart you have for people.

Page Cole  |  03 Oct 2014  |  Reply

LEGACY… Chris, I spelled it in all caps because it’s a huge word! I agree, life has to be bigger that projects &deadlines & stuff. It has to be about leaving a mark… I have a friend who calls it “leaving a wake” like a boat, but I like leaving a “mark” too, because it implies a sense of a lasting change.

I wanna be that guy too! Thanks for your encouragement!

Page Cole  |  03 Oct 2014  |  Reply

Isn’t busyness one of the the biggest enemies we have that keeps us from reaching out to make a difference? I wonder how different our world would be if we built the best and biggest things into our schedules first, and then put everything else in around those as we had the ability to?

You’re a great boss and leader of your team and company! Your staff is genuinely blessed to have a leader like you who cares! Keep up the great work!

Eddie Morris  |  03 Oct 2014  |  Reply

The idea that I find most interesting is “why does the wonder of this life seem to fade to a mediocre grayness as we age?” I mean I’ve seen it but I’ve never been able to wrap my brain around the gray area of anything and thus have a tough time selling anyone else on searching out challenges that just seem to make life harder. So I appreciate the article and will share it as a challenge to my “people” in hopes that the way you express the challenge to ‘live life on purpose’ will resonate with them. Thank you!

1. Where do I want to be in 10, 20, 30 years?
2. How many of the projects that eat up my time are laying groundwork for those goals? Do some of them need to be ‘done’ already?
3. What positive stamps of this life that I’ve been blessed with will be in place at each of those markers?
4. What parts of me need to be molding now in order to accomplish those future goals and am I accepting of the ‘heavenly’ sandpaper people in my life that will make that so?

Page Cole  |  06 Oct 2014  |  Reply

I’m excited that you’re going to share the challenges with your staff… it doesn’t matter if they make $10 per hour, or $100,000 per year, people need to be challenged to think BIG in their lives! Asking a few simple questions can be life transforming!

Cheryl Marrs  |  08 Oct 2014  |  Reply

Page, interesting article in light of my most recent trip to Nicarauga/Costa Rica. I am one of the fortunate ones–one who gets to travel and experience life. I get reminded on trips like these that I am fortunate–that I am blessed–that I have so much to be thankful for. I saw poverty. I saw resourceful people. I saw happy people. I saw those who didn’t seem to have anything to be happy for, but they were happy. I talked with a couple of people who had a salary of just over $400 a month. They were provided with a place to live, but they worked long and hard hours. It is good to travel and to see how others live and to be reminded of our good fortune. I want to live large and I do. I want my grandchildren and my friends to know me as caring, as trusting, and as truthful. I want to impart good values and to set a good example. I know I can do better.

Thanks for making me think about these things.


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