A clear understanding of one’s purpose is an integral part of physical and mental well-being. However, this is a rather illusory concept. How to understand that you have made the right choice? What is it like to live knowing your main goal? Entrepreneur and Columbia Business School professor Hitendra Wadhwa has created a five-step plan to help you find yourself and fulfill your potential.

Stage 0: the path with the flow

Technically, there is a preliminary stage when we are satisfied to “float” through life with a feeling of complete comfort. “We do not ask ourselves what is worth striving for and what else can we get, besides what we already see and feel,” says Hitendra Wadhwa.

Of course, there is nothing wrong with this. Being at this stage does not mean that we ignore everything that is happening around us. And for many, it is this stage that precedes the birth of curiosity about one’s destiny.

Stage 1: Shake

This is the moment when we feel some kind of push or inner call. “A shake-up can be the result of a shock, such as a personal loss or setback, or the result of an inner awakening,” describes Hitendra Wadhwa. He recalls the story of his student, who one day, returning home from school, told her mother that she wanted to treat cancer. And now his student is an amazing oncologist.

Not all of us experience this “awakening”. However, according to the expert, many have moments when we catch ourselves on intuitive guesses and inexplicable attraction. It seems to us that there is something else in our life that we do not notice yet. Over time, if we begin to pay more attention to such glimpses and connect these dots, we find our main goal.

Stage 2: search

To connect internal points, you need to go to a new stage – the search. Here we look for answers in books of spiritual content or turn to mentors and people to whom we are drawn and who share our values ​​and goals. “Internal introspection and external research can lead us to a new point where we already know a little more about ourselves and our destiny,” notes Hitendra Wadhwa.

Stage 3: Definition

As the search begins to be useful, we systematize everything that is fundamentally important to us. The stage of determination continues throughout our lives, which means that you should not choose a destination once and for all. It can change with us.

Hitendra Wadhwa

Entrepreneur, professor of business school at Columbia University.

I have always been an opponent of violence, but my understanding of this concept has constantly evolved. At first, I tried to avoid purely physical violence. However, as they grew older, the scope expanded. I began to suppress impulses to emotional violence – words and actions that can hurt the feelings of others, offend or offend others.

Then I realized that sometimes for the common good it is necessary to make important decisions that will inevitably upset someone. I don’t know how I will define violence in five years. The definition stage is a very active phase of the search for a calling. It can’t be black and white, and you can’t make a list of five things that interest you and relax. This is a constantly evolving process.

Stage 4: focus

Now is the time to clarify your goal. Hitendra Wadhwa warns that in order to achieve it at this stage, you will have to compromise and ignore many things. Here it is worth asking yourself: “What am I willing to put aside in order to devote more time to my purpose?”

Hitendra Wadhwa

Entrepreneur, professor of business school at Columbia University.

It may be necessary to limit social interaction, dedicate less time to hobbies, or disappoint some people in order to find inner peace and make sure you spend enough time and energy on your own goals. This is usually the stage at which we try to understand our relationship with family, society and the world around us.

Of course, this does not mean that you need to completely forget about the needs of others – it’s about finding a balance.

Stage 5: merge

“This is an amazing period when literally everything you do is filled, guided and inspired by your goal. At this stage, even in the most ordinary everyday moments, people who have merged with their destiny intuitively find the opportunity to compare with it everything that needs to be done here and now, ”explains Hitendra Wadhwa.

Imagine a pyramid. You start from its base, where you don’t yet have any understanding of the structure and direction of development, and gradually move up to the top, where you reach the confluence. The transition to this stage is the main goal of finding a purpose, something worth working for. If you haven’t reached this point yet, don’t worry. You can enter the merge period at any age. Each of us has our own unique path.