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The Need for Purpose


Explanations > Needs > The Need for Purpose

Need | Example | Related to | Discussion |  So what?




We need to have a purpose in our lives.

Purpose gives us direction, it motivates us, it gives reason for our existence. It also helps make decisions, both minor and major.


A dedicated parent has the purpose of ensuring that her children thrive and succeed. Their partner has the purpose of providing for the the family. This leads to them taking decisions that are based on security rather than personal career.

A business founder has the purpose of changing the world through technology. Profit is a secondary motive, so they run at very low profit for several years as they develop and establish products in the market place. 

Related to


Part of Related to
Identity Prosperity, Transcendence (and many other needs)



Purpose is related to meaning, which we also need. The difference is that meaning is often about understanding the outside world, while purpose is about the inner world. Meaning also has focus in the past while purpose looks to the future.

The purpose of a person is often related to their values, which may well be social in nature.

To persuade a person to change their purpose is often very difficult but can be very powerful. Many people have little clear purpose, and helping them see their purpose can be very enlightening for them. When people are unsure about their purpose, you can guide them in a constructive direction.

Many businesses are driven by the short-term purpose of enriching their investors, who also have a short-term interest in the company and will sell the shares if the returns are insufficient. Businesses owned by one person serve the purpose of that person, which may be more social or personal in nature.

So what?

Find out the person's real purpose and align your persuasive efforts with these. You can also test their purpose to see how strong it is (or whether it exists at all). If it is weak, you may be able to shape it.

See also

Motivation, Values

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