As I’ve started writing about what makes people happy at work, I’ve gotten into a lot of conversations around “Do what you love”, “Find Passion in the everyday”, and “Do what drives you.” During a lunch, someone asked me if my issue was capitalism (and it may be) but I do think it is a little more than that. (Although I am for sure trying out the Work Uniform, black pants everyday anyone?) As individuals, the work we do should give us some kind of greater satisfaction. One employee helping people get mortgages could say their role is helping people get money, but another person in the same position may say they’re helping people own the homes they’ll build memories in. Finding purpose can come from the work, and it can also come from how you interpret the work.
To hone in on the importance of purpose, today, I’m going to focus on an NPR article that reports that people with purpose live longer.
Patrick Hill and Nicholas Turiano reviewed the data of 6,000 people in the Midlife in the United States (MIDUS) Study. They found that people who felt they had more purpose and direction in life outlived people who didn’t feel they had purpose or direction. A 15% lower risk of death in fact, no matter what age.
The article is sure to mention that the concept of purpose means different things to different people. Purpose could be defined as having a happy healthy family, making social changes, being pleased with your daily job or creating beautiful works of art for others to enjoy. Patrick Hill refers to purpose as a “compass or lighthouse that provides an overarching aim and direction in day-to-day lives.” Purpose is how you personally define it.
Of course, this is only one study and more research would help fine tune these findings, but it’s still really interesting to think about. I’m going to try to find more information around Purpose, but, at least we know that if we have a reason to get up each day, we’ll probably get up each day for longer!