Msgt. Erik Larson
Msgt. Erik Larson

Commentary: Finding your purpose

by Msgt. Erik Larson
Stripes Korea

“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” 
– Mark Twain

In the military, a common experience is deployments away from home. As I found myself deployed for several months I noticed a general trait among people is a blank stare, seemingly detached from reality.

I do my best to greet everyone I pass while walking around base. Sadly, most of the people I greet usually pay no attention. They just keep shuffling by like zombies; dead to reality, going through the motions letting life pass them by.

You may meet people like this in your everyday life or perhaps this describes you. It is easy to sink into a monotonous routine. However, in our life tomorrow is not a guarantee. Time is our most valuable resource. Therefore, we should strive to live each day with purpose. To make the best possible use of our time we need a life’s purpose statement to direct our daily decisions.

Recently, several near death experiences shook me out of my life’s usual routine. I evaluated my life and was inspired to take charge of it by intentional personal development.

In the process, I found my life’s purpose statement. I cannot believe I lived my life so long without it! I no longer float along letting life happen to me. I make the best possible use of my time by using my purpose statement to direct my daily decisions.

I challenge you to find your own life’s purpose statement. Become one of the very few who will take on this challenge and use the method described below to develop your own purpose statement. I found this is definitely something that will set you apart from others and get you on track for success.

I found writing exercises and asking for feedback are effective ways to evaluate yourself and develop your life’s purpose statement.

Start by writing at least thirty of your most important values. Take your time and cautiously ponder the ones most meaningful to you. Next, rank them in order of importance and examine your top ten. Look for common themes and use them to describe yourself in five words or less.

After you can describe yourself in a few words, you will need a list of at least twenty of your natural gifts and talents (strengths). The best way to determine your strengths is to gain feedback from a trusted mentor or peer.

Along with getting feedback, I recommend taking a personality assessment that many free online resources offer. After answering a few questions about yourself, the website provides you with your personality type and an evaluation of that type’s strengths and weaknesses. You will be surprised at how accurate they can be.

After you have a list of your strengths decide which ones you want to share with the world and circle the top five. Ponder the ways in which you can share your talents with others.

Consider the description of yourself and list of natural gifts and talents. You are here on earth for a reason. Meditate, pray, and open your heart and mind. Be ready to write a few words about yourself this will be your purpose statement. Write “My purpose is…” pause…breathe deeply and write what comes to your mind.

If you do not feel confident about what you wrote, do not worry. Your purpose statement is not set in stone and can change as your life changes.

However, you will need a purpose statement to proceed in your journey of personal development. I encourage you to write what you can and continue to evaluate yourself until you find your purpose. Evaluation of yourself needs to be a continual process. In this process, you need to seek feedback from trusted mentors and peers.

After you develop your purpose statement, the next step is action. Be a person of action; use your purpose statement to influence your daily decisions. Make a habit of waking up each morning and reciting your purpose statement. Put your purpose statement notecard under your pillow on the wall next to your bed or on your bathroom mirror. Doing so will motivate and ignite your daily passion and purpose.

At the end of each day, write your purpose statement in your journal. Reflect on your day examining how your purpose statement was an influence. You will be more satisfied with your life as you see how your purpose statement is directing your daily decisions.

Incorporating your purpose statement into your life will set you apart from others. All great achievements started out small with just an idea fed by inspiration. Focusing on your purpose statement will lead to great achievements in your life.

Be one of the very few who have a written life’s purpose statement. Let this be a turning point a moment that defines your life as you stop going through the motions. Find and use your life’s purpose statement to take charge of your life.

I want to know how having a written life’s purpose statement has benefited your life. Please email your purpose statement to and let me know how it has influenced your life.

If you are interested in learning more about starting an intentional journey of personal development, check out my book Your Journey of Personal Development: Be inspired to reach for your highest potential, which is available on The book contains easy to use methods and strategies to improve all areas of your life. Included is a chapter about creating a deliberate and specific plan to focus your life’s purpose statement into great achievements in your life.


About the writer: MSgt. Erik Larson is stationed at Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, but is currently on a 7-month deployment to Djibouti. He writes so he can “give perspective on my military/personal life to make a positive impact in the lives of others.”

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