While we have all experienced feelings of happiness, contentment and fulfilment at some point in our lives, the likelihood is that these feelings were brief and transient. So how do we make them last? One of the simplest yet most powerful ways is by harnessing the power of a mission.
What Is A Mission?
A mission is what represents our ultimate purpose in life. It serves as a positive and specific vision of the future that we want to create. It is our way of serving something that is greater than ourselves and it has the power to literally transform our lives.
The difference between a mission statement and a vison statement is that a mission statement focuses on the present and on what a business does, who it does it for and how it does it while a vision statement focuses on the future and why a business exists. Both are critical to success.
In his book The Infinite Game, Simon Sinek uses the term ‘Just Cause’ which he defines as “…a specific vision of a future state that does not yet exist; a future state so appealing that people are willing to make sacrifices in order to help advance toward that vision.”
“If a man has not discovered something that he will die for, he isn’t fit to live.” – Martin Luther King, Jr
The Secret To Lasting Happiness
The difference between a mission and a goal is that a goal is finite – a mission is infinite. A goal has an end – a mission has no end. A goal is attainable. A mission is unattainable. Why is this important?
We know that when you set a goal, your brain releases dopamine – a pleasure hormone – that motivates you to pursue the goal. However, because goals have an end, once you have achieved them, your brain stops releasing dopamine and so you no longer experience feelings of pleasure and motivation.
The advantage of having a mission is that it has no end and so it is something you can pursue your whole life. Therefore, it will provide you with an endless supply of pleasure and motivation which consequently lead to lasting happiness, contentment and fulfilment.
“Where there is no vision, the people perish.” – Proverbs 29:18
Identify Your Mission
You can identify your mission by asking the following questions:
- What positive impact do I want to have on the people around me?
- What do I want to contribute to the world?
- What change do I want to see in the world?
“If you want to live a happy life, tie it to a goal, not to people or things.” – Albert Einstein
The Power Of Having A Mission
By setting a clear, obsessive and compelling future, it provides purpose, creates energy and evokes inspired action. It acts as an internal compass, directing our focus and guiding our every move. In fact, research has shown that on average, people with purpose live 8 years longer.
A mission also shields us from negative thoughts and emotions and broadens our perspective, allowing us to overcome inevitable challenges that may otherwise have overwhelmed us or obstructed us from living the life we desire.
Your “problems” are relative to the size of your goals. So the bigger your mission, the smaller your problems become. In fact, you can experiment with this right now. Think of a mission or a cause that you feel extremely passionate about. Now think of a problem that is generating stress or anxiety in your life right now. Now view that problem through the lens of your mission. Does it give you perspective? Does it make your problem seem less daunting? Does you feel empowered?
“When you dream big, your problems become small.”
A mission is our singular purpose in life. It represents what is most important to us in serving something beyond ourselves. A mission gives us meaning and acts as an internal compass that guides our thoughts, decisions, feelings and ultimately, the actions we take.
The significance behind having a mission is that it is something we can experience throughout the entirety of our lives and thus it is the key to creating lasting happiness, contentment and fulfilment.