Purposeful Living – Part 1 – What is the difference between a purpose and a goal?

Image Credits: http://www.purposedriven.com

The notion of ‘purpose’ has fascinated me, since I discovered it more than 20 years ago. I have attempted to live a purposeful life and help others to do so during my practice of helping individuals and teams live their potential. A concept in the centre of this endeavour is to help those who I am fortunate enough to interact with, discover ‘purpose’ and ‘live purposefully’. I have also chose to inquire in to the notion of purpose in my doctoral studies that I am pursuing at the moment. I invite you to read and reflect on this series of blog posts, take action that you are driven to take after reading them, reflect again on the action you take and take further action based on such reflection. I find this cycle useful and I hope it serves you too. It will also help my inquiry if you are willing to write to me about your experience.

The first of this series of blog posts is to explore the difference between a purpose and a goal? Let me take you to the second half of the first day in the ‘Mastery of Self – Through Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP)’ playshop, where we attempt to understand the concept of purpose. We start this section by trying to clarify the difference between ‘purpose’ and ‘goal’. While there is a discussion on this question, an answer that generally comes out is; purpose is the bigger reason why we pursue various goals in our life. It is the big ‘why’ of our choices. For example, if you are attempting to get a qualification, ask your self ‘why? If you keep repeating the question ‘why’ until there is no answer remaining, that might help you understand the difference between ‘purpose’ and ‘goal’ and perhaps give a hint of your higher purpose. So lets try to find the reason for pursuing the qualification;

Q: Why am I pursuing this qualification?

A: To have better expertise and credentials.

Q: Why is it important to have better expertise and credentials?

A: To be more effective in my job.

Q: Why is it important to be more effective in my job?

A: To get promoted

Q: Why is it important to get promoted?

A: To have a bigger salary

Q: Why is it important to have a bigger salary?

A: To provide a better quality of life to my family

Q: Why is it important to provide a better quality of life to my family?

A: Because I love them

Q: Why do you love them?

A: I just love them … I don’t know why?


So in this example, the goal is to obtain the qualification and the purpose is the love for the family.


During the next few weeks, I invite you to ask these questions regarding some of the important decisions you have taken in your life and reflect on the answers. Notice if this process of asking these questions makes you feel there was a better course of action that could have been taken. How do you feel about it now?


It might be also interesting to ask these questions with regard to important decisions you need to take in your life right now. Notice if this process of asking these questions makes you make different choices to what you would have made. As you start implementing these choices, notice what you do and how you feel and reflect on it. I invite you to get yourself a nice notebook and do some journal writing end of the day regarding some of the most important choices and actions during the day based on the above answers.


As I mentioned to you at the outset, please feel free to share your experiences with me, as it will help in my inquiry in to the notion of ‘purpose’. I hope my inquiry will have the potential of helping people live a better life and your contribution will be valuable.

5 thoughts on “Purposeful Living – Part 1 – What is the difference between a purpose and a goal?

  1. Ferdous Hossain

    Dear sir, Hope you are fine and okay with everything.first of all many thanks as you searching of inner or worthful meaning of life. For my case, when i asking for moe and more questioning in myself, i could not find any logical reason to do things in my everyday life. At that times it leads to me on my spiritual life and i will be a little bit unsocialise person, more importantly it’s leads to me unsuccessful person in terms of worldly life.

    Sorry for wasting your valuable time.

    Best regards


    1. Dear Ferdous .. thank you for your view point. Yes the questions can take you to your spiritual life .. it may make you less sociable (as defined by society itself), but it could eventually lead you to success with divine support. However if you give me an example, i could understand better and perhaps help you to reach some clarity.


  2. Hi blogger, i must say you have very interesting articles here.
    Your page should go viral. You need initial traffic only.

    How to get it? Search for: Mertiso’s tips go viral


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s