There’s a stark contrast between living with purpose and simply existing.
This difference often boils down to behavior.
Living without purpose can often lead to certain habits or actions that we’re not even aware we’re doing. It’s like walking around in the dark, completely oblivious to our surroundings.
On the flip side, when we live with a sense of purpose, our actions are deliberate and our intentions clear.
Recognizing these subtle signs can be the first step towards finding your life’s purpose.
So, let’s dive into the 9 behaviors often displayed by people who lack purpose in life, without them even realizing it.
1) Procrastination dominates
A lack of purpose in life can often manifest itself in the form of procrastination.
Procrastination is more than just an occasional bout of laziness or lack of motivation.
It’s a chronic behavior, where tasks and decisions are perpetually put off to the last minute or avoided altogether.
People who lack purpose may find themselves constantly delaying tasks, not because they’re inherently lazy, but because they lack a clear direction or goal.
This lack of clarity can lead to indecisiveness and a constant cycle of delay.
It’s like being stuck in a foggy maze, unsure of which path to take.
And so, instead of choosing a path and risking making the wrong decision, they choose to remain stagnant.
2) Drifting through days
I remember a time when I felt like I was just drifting through life.
Each day was like a repeat of the last – wake up, work, sleep, repeat. There was no passion, no drive, and certainly no purpose. My actions were routine, almost robotic.
I didn’t have any clear goals or aspirations.
I was simply doing what I needed to do to get by. It’s a strange feeling, living without purpose.
It’s like you’re just existing, rather than truly living.
Looking back, I realize that this ‘drifting’ was one of the key signs that I lacked purpose in my life.
If you find yourself drifting through your days without any real sense of direction or purpose, take a step back and reassess.
It could be a sign that you’re lacking purpose in your life.
3) Neglecting personal growth
In the world of psychology, Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs suggests that self-actualization, or the pursuit of personal growth and self-fulfillment, is a fundamental human need.
Individuals who lack purpose often neglect their personal growth.
They may remain stagnant in their career, relationships, or personal development.
This isn’t due to a lack of ambition or ability, but rather a lack of clear direction or end goal.
Without a purpose to guide them, they may find it difficult to see the point in striving for improvement or seeking new challenges.
Instead, they might remain in their comfort zone, content with maintaining the status quo rather than pushing for progress.
This neglect of personal growth isn’t just detrimental on an individual level – it can also impact society as a whole.
After all, progress and innovation are driven by individuals who strive for improvement and are not afraid to push boundaries.
4) Emotional instability
A lack of purpose can often lead to emotional instability.
Without a clear direction or goal in life, it’s easy for emotions like frustration, sadness, and anxiety to take hold.
When we lack purpose, we may find ourselves constantly searching for meaning and fulfillment in external sources.
This could be in the form of material possessions, superficial relationships, or fleeting pleasures.
However, these sources are often temporary and can leave us feeling emotionally empty or unfulfilled.
This constant roller coaster of emotions can be exhausting. It’s like being on a ship without a rudder – tossed about by the waves with no control over where you’re heading.
5) Lack of motivation
Motivation is the fuel that drives us towards our goals.
But when there’s a lack of purpose, it can feel like the gas tank is perpetually on empty.
Purpose-deprived people often struggle with motivation.
Without a clear goal or direction, it can be hard to find the energy or desire to make progress. It’s like trying to start a car without any gas – no matter how much you try, you’re not going to get very far.
This lack of motivation can manifest in various aspects of life – work, relationships, personal projects, and even self-care.
Tasks can feel overwhelming or pointless, leading to a cycle of inaction and stagnation.
6) Feeling unfulfilled
One of the most profound signs of a lack of purpose is a constant feeling of unfulfillment.
It’s like carrying around an invisible weight that you can’t seem to shake off, no matter what you do.
You might have a great job, a loving family, and a comfortable life.
Yet, there’s still this nagging sensation that something is missing. It’s a void that can’t be filled with material possessions or superficial achievements.
This lingering feeling of unfulfillment isn’t about being ungrateful or discontented with what you have.
It’s about longing for something more meaningful and profound in your life.
7) Difficulty in maintaining relationships
There was a time when I struggled to maintain meaningful relationships.
It felt as though I was on a different wavelength from everyone else, unable to form deep connections.
I later realized that this disconnect was due, in part, to my lack of purpose.
Without a clear sense of who I was or what I wanted in life, it was difficult to connect with others on a deeper level.
When we lack purpose, our relationships can become shallow and superficial.
We might find it hard to invest time and energy into nurturing them because we are preoccupied with our internal struggle to find meaning.
As I found my purpose, I noticed a significant change in my relationships.
They became more meaningful and fulfilling because I was finally able to bring my whole self into them.
Finding your purpose not only enriches your life but also enhances your interactions and connections with others.
8) Easily influenced by others
Without a clear sense of purpose, it can be easy to be swayed by the opinions and expectations of others.
You may find yourself constantly seeking approval or trying to fit into societal norms, rather than following your own path.
If you resonate with this, don’t worry too much because:
This susceptibility is not about being weak-willed or lacking individuality.
It’s more about the lack of a guiding principle or purpose that helps you make decisions that are true to yourself.
You might find yourself making choices based on what you think others expect of you, rather than what truly resonates with you.
This can lead to living a life that feels disingenuous and unfulfilled.
9) Absence of joy and passion
At the heart of a purposeful life lies joy and passion.
These are the sparks that ignite our souls, driving us to pursue our dreams and face challenges with courage and determination.
When purpose is lacking, you may notice an absence of these vital sparks.
Life may seem like a dull routine, devoid of excitement or enthusiasm. You might find yourself going through the motions without truly experiencing the joy of living.
Joy and passion are not just fleeting emotions, they are indicators of a life lived with purpose.
They are the signs that you’re engaged, connected, and invested in your life and your dreams.
Final reflection: It’s a journey
The journey to finding purpose in life is often as complex and unique as we are. It’s intricately tied to our individual experiences, values, and aspirations.
One perspective that shines a light on this journey is the Japanese concept of ‘Ikigai‘. This term, loosely translated, means “reason for being”.
In Ikigai, finding purpose in life is not about reaching a specific destination.
Instead, it’s about the continual process of exploration and discovery.
It’s about finding the intersection between what you love, what the world needs, what you’re good at, and what you can be paid for.
If you’re displaying some or all of these 9 behaviors, it’s not a cause for despair.
Rather, see it as an invitation to embark on this beautiful journey towards finding your Ikigai.
So, embrace the journey with an open heart and an open mind.
Lost Your Sense of Purpose?
In this age of information overload and pressure to meet others’ expectations, many struggle to connect with their core purpose and values. It’s easy to lose your inner compass.
Jeanette Brown created this free values discovery PDF to help clarify your deepest motivations and beliefs. As an experienced life coach and self-improvement teacher, Jeanette guides people through major transitions by realigning them with their principles.
Her uniquely insightful values exercises will illuminate what inspires you, what you stand for, and how you aim to operate. This serves as a refreshing filter to tune out societal noise so you can make choices rooted in what matters most to you.
With your values clearly anchored, you’ll gain direction, motivation and the compass to navigate decisions from your best self – rather than fleeting emotion or outside influences.
Stop drifting without purpose. Rediscover what makes you come alive with Jeanette Brown’s values clarity guide.