Most of us have wondered at one point or another what the point of it all is. Why are we here? What’s life really about? In short, what IS the purpose of life?

Why study 15 years of our lives, work 80,000 hours, and then reproduce so the next generation can do it all over again if we don’t even know why we’re doing it?

There’s got to be a greater purpose, right?

To get some more clarity, here are the answers from 16 people who seem to know their life purpose. They were all asked the question:

In your belief, what is the purpose of life?

1. The Dalai Lama

Who is he? His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, is the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people. He has been described as a doctor of the soul, and his message is always one of peace and compassion for people all over the world.

I believe that the very purpose of life is to be happy. From the very core of our being, we desire contentment. In my own limited experience I have found that the more we care for the happiness of others, the greater is our own sense of well-being.

Cultivating a close, warmhearted feeling for others automatically puts the mind at ease. It helps remove whatever fears or insecurities we may have and gives us the strength to cope with any obstacles we encounter. It is the principal source of success in life. Since we are not solely material creatures, it is a mistake to place all our hopes for happiness on external development alone. The key is to develop inner peace.

–Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso

2. Steve Pavlina

Who is he? At the age of 19 and locked up in a jail cell, Steve decided to pursue personal growth. He went on to become one of the biggest blogging successes in the field of self-development. A small warning before you visit his site, make sure you have plenty of time (his content is rather addictive).

The purpose of life is to explore and experience.
–Steve Pavlina

3. Byron Katie

Who is she? The severely depressed and suicidal Byron Katie ended her suffering one day when she experienced the life-changing realization: when she believed her thoughts, she suffered, but when she didn’t believe them, she didn’t suffer.

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To understand that what is, really isn’t.
–Byron Katie

4. Chris Guillebeau

Who is he? Chris is a living example that you don’t have to live life the way others expect of you. This rebel against conventionality proves to us that more can be found outside of our comfort zones.

Well, a man who has visited every country in the world (all 193 of them!) should know a secret or two about living.

Hmm… boots and cats?
–Chris Guillebeau

5. Christie Marie Sheldon

Who is she? Christie has an interesting skill. Just by looking at someone, she can determine if they are living their life purpose or not. She is one of the world’s leading energy healers and experts on intuition. Her mission? To get everyone on the planet vibrating at an energetic frequency of Love or Above.

The only Soul-Filled purpose of life is to love and let what makes you soulfully happy guide you — it’ll all work out if that’s your guiding force.
–Christie Marie Sheldon

6. Matthew Silver

Who is he? If you’ve ever been in New York City and seen a man roaming around in his underwear with stuffed animals, making funny sounds, and telling you to live in the now — you already know Matthew.

This well-known street performer is often mistaken for a raving lunatic, but with his messages of love and living in the present, in a city like New York, Matthew might be the sanest of all.

God gave you free will. That’s for you to decide. But I’d use your heart to find it.
–Matthew Silver

7. Ralph Smart

Who is he? Ralph dives deep into life and encourages us to look beyond illusions and perceived boundaries. Through his YouTube channel Infinite Waters, he helps us expand our consciousness and unlock our true potential.

I believe it is to become our greatest version.
–Ralph Smart

8. Parker Heuser

Who is he? Parker and his friends Alexey Lyakh, Ryker Gamble, and Max Gatfield are high on life. Through their social media channels, people all over the world are inspired by their adventurous videos and appetite for fun.

Make sure to check out their “3 Years of Travel in 3 Minutes” video. It’ll get the blood pumping through your veins.

The purpose of life is to discover your surroundings (learn about the world, visit as many different countries as you can, take in lifetimes of knowledge by reading the work of brilliant minds), discover yourself (What do you love and what are you good at? What are your greatest passions and what makes you truly feel alive?), follow your heart (do all those things that make you feel happy, that lift your spirits, that give you butterflies, that make you feel light, as if you’re floating) and evolve spiritually (some call this enlightenment).

You are not a body, you are a soul. Life as we know it is just a step in spiritual advancement. So the purpose of life is to do everything you can to better prepare yourself for the next stage: enlightenment.
–Parker Heuser

9. Barrie Davenport

Who is she? Barrie’s passionate about passions — especially about helping others find theirs.

Looking for more passion in your life? Barrie’s practical and actionable advice will help inspire your soul and move you in the direction you desire.

The purpose of life is to live mindfully and passionately in the present moment, to love unabashedly, to be a lifelong learner, to seek adventure and growth, and to spread kindness and peace along the way.
–Barrie Davenport

10. Gary Vaynerchuk

Who is he? Gary is a loud serial-entrepreneur and social-media master who loves the hustle of turning passions into reality. He demonstrates that in this Internet era, with all the possibilities that come with it, you have no excuse not to do what makes you happy.

To leave Legacy that is a North Star for all my family in the future.
–Gary Vaynerchuk

11. Justine Musk

Who is she? A car accident became Justine’s wake-up call. After eight years of marriage to super entrepreneur Elon Musk, she realized she had turned herself into a side player and trophy wife. So, she made the decision to stop living in the shadows, take the lead role of her own story, and step into the fiery, talented, and powerful writer she is today.

To cultivate your gifts and inner knowing in your lifelong quest for soul: that point in place and time where what you do is who you are and whom you serve, and to take care of yourself is to take care of the world.
–Justine Musk

12. Alex Blackwell

Who is he? On the brink of divorce, Alex found himself needing to make some serious changes in life. He not only managed to save his marriage (and to turn it into a very happy one!), but he also decided to invite others to benefit from his experience. On his blog, he shares openly and honestly about his journey of making positive life changes.

To give love without being asked and to believe you are worthy to receive love always.
–Alex Blackwell

13. Will Mitchell

Who is he? Will is an Internet entrepreneur since the age of 12 when he started skipping school to build his own businesses. Today he’s running StartupBros with his best friend Kyle Eschenroeder, with the purpose to help “wantrepreneurs” build their first successful business.

The central message of these two bros? You don’t need a job.

The purpose of life is self-actualization – shaping the world in our vision through reaching our full potential.
–Will Mitchell

14. Joshua Becker

Who is he? A few years back, Joshua and his family got rid of over 70% of their belongings. They discovered that less stuff meant more life. The minimalist guru now helps others simplify their lives to leave more space for the things that truly matter.

The purpose of life is to give it away in the service of others.
–Joshua Becker

15. Luminita Saviuc

Who is she? Luminita is all about purpose. Her words of wisdom are like a magic wand that touches the hearts of people all over the world.

If you haven’t seen it yet, make sure to check out her insanely popular article “15 Things You Should Give Up To Be Happy” (which got shared over 1.2 million times on Facebook).

What is the purpose of life? To love, to truly love. To become one with love and then to radiate that love outwards… And to love those who love you, and also those who don’t. Not necessary because they deserve it, but because love is the only thing we have to offer… To get to a place where, no matter where you look and no matter what you do, you can’t help but feel an overwhelming love towards that which you see and for the things you do.

That’s the purpose of life…

The way I see it, life is love and love is life, and the more love flows through our veins, the more joyful we become, the clearer our vision gets, and the easier it becomes to connect not only with our own heart and Soul but also with the heart and Soul of every living being that inhabits the planet.

On the surface, we might all look very different from one another but at the core level, we are all the same. At the core level, we are all ONE, connected with each other in a very deep and powerful way. At the core level, we are essentially the same, all members of one human race.

There is no separation except the separation we created in our minds because of our attachment to fear, and if we allow love back into our hearts, becoming one with it and allowing ourselves to live our lives from that place, then we will recognize ourselves in the world around us and we will finally understand that we are in the world and the world is in us… We are ONE.

16. Brendan Baker

Who is he? Successful at his job at a young age, Brendan was early to realize that what is considered success isn’t necessarily equate to happiness. This wake-up call set him on a mission to help others turn passion into profit.

That could mean a difference to a person, to a community, to the environment or to the world. When you connect to a higher purpose that is beyond yourself that’s when life truly begins.
–Brendan Baker

The Big Question In a Simple Answer

The purpose of life might seem like an overwhelming and difficult question (my dad wasn’t the only one without an answer). Most of us probably spend more time contemplating what series to watch next on Netflix than thinking about our reason for living.

But looking at the answers, it might not be so complicated after all. To be of service to others, to love unconditionally, to watch a Youtube video about boots and cats, to see through illusions, and to realize our full potential. It all comes down to one thing — feeling good. 

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There’s a reason that so many brilliantly talented, naturally creative, intelligent and capable people never reach their potential, and it is, quite simply, a lack of direction.

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You can have the most expensive, fastest car in the world, but if you set off without a clear idea of where you’re going, then the rusty old Beatle with a map and compass will beat you there every time.

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Maria Stenvinkel is a corporate drop-out with a mission to help people get a career they truly love. Want to learn more? Check out her free worksheet to help you get a clue to your calling.