A lot of us wonder what the purpose of our lives is. We don’t know if we are meant to be doctors, lawyers, celebrities, or athletes. Yet, at its most basic level, the purpose of life is to live it meaningfully, to enjoy what we can enjoy, and to make a positive impact on others.
As we think about what this means to each one of us, let us look at three ways how we can start.
As those with experience will tell you, there is a very big difference between going overseas on a vacation or business trip and living in a different country. It is perhaps one of the biggest understatements to say that you only get to experience a new place on a superficial level when you go on holiday.
The reasons are plenty. First, you don’t have the chance to immerse yourself in the local culture. Second, most of us are trying to maximize the limited time we have. As a result, we find ourselves running from one place to the other without soaking in what each locale has to offer. Third, we don’t get to experience day-to-day life and all the twists and turns that it entails.
But what does it mean to live abroad? Is it six months, less than that? Answers might vary. Still, as a rule of thumb, living abroad represents at least a full year in a foreign nation.
If you are an employee, you could apply for a transfer to one of your company’s international branches or speak to your boss about taking a temporary sabbatical. As a student, you could look into gap year opportunities in the country of your choice.
Learn a New Language
English is the global language of communication in both business and social environments. If you can speak English well, you will have little trouble getting by in most countries worldwide. Even so, this doesn’t mean that you cannot learn a new language and try to communicate with others in their native tongues.
Learning a new language is not only about saying the same thing with different words. It is much more than that. When you understand and speak Italian, you can converse with Italians and learn about their culture and why they do the things they do. If you can master Japanese, you will grasp the true meaning of concepts like humility, harmony, and the value of hard work.
Speaking a new language will open your mind, help you understand where others are coming from, and even learn about yourself. As the wise man once said, the more you know about others, the better you can comprehend who you are.
If you don’t know where to begin, then look at your neighbors. The United States has Canada to the north and Mexico to the south. Why not start with Spanish or French?
Take Risks and Do Things that Scare You
Walking into the den of a hungry lion is not a risk. If you do this, the chances of meeting your maker are pretty much one hundred percent. If there is no probability of something different happening, doing it is not risky. A better word might be stupidity or foolishness.
A risk is something you can do without having to give up your health or even your life. Risk is also something that will teach you a valuable lesson, regardless of whether you succeed or fail.
For example, taking a risk is deciding to change your job. No matter how much you plan or how well-prepared you think you are, you might not succeed either career-wise or financially. But it also won’t be the end of the world if it doesn’t go your way.
A common mistake a lot of people make is thinking that risk is measured in size. This couldn’t be further from the truth. You don’t have to go bungee jumping or swimming with sharks for the experience to be valuable. Risk can be having the courage to talk to the person you like even though she might not like you back. It is deciding to live on your own rather than depending on somebody else to take care of you.
We all have a limited amount of time on this earth. Some of us have more than others. But not a single one of us can live forever.
As such, we should live a life that makes us happy and fulfilled. We should see how others live and communicate with them. You should also take chances and aim for something bigger and better.
If we do so, when the day comes that we are no longer here, our hearts and minds will be filled with good memories and happiness. They will be empty of regret.