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What Is My Purpose in Life? Quiz

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Trying to answer “What is my purpose?” can feel overwhelming, stressful, and even terrifying, especially when you’re still in college and may have no idea what you want to do. How are you supposed to know what you’re meant to pursue in life? It’s a scary question but also an exciting one. You can take many paths depending on your interests, strengths, personality, and motivations.

>>MORE: Trying to figure out what you should do with your life? Explore all of Forage’s career quizzes.

So, where do you start? We’ve created a low-stress, fun “what is my purpose in life?” quiz to give you a starting point on where you might want to go — and career options that can help you live through that purpose.

What Is My Purpose? Quiz

Ready to answer “What is my purpose?” and learn what careers you’re best suited for based on your purpose? You’ll have to sign up for your results, but it’s absolutely free. Let’s get started!

1. You're at a party, and someone asks for your opinion on their new haircut. You secretly dislike it, so you…
2. You just won the lottery! You're going to…
3. You'd be flattered if people complimented you for your…
4. You lose track of time and accidentally miss a meeting. What were you most likely doing?
5. You're on a road trip with friends and get lost. You cope by…
6. In a bookstore, you're most likely to pick up…
7. You've got a job offer! What excites you most about the position?
8. Your team is coming up with ideas for a new app. How are you contributing?
9. You're learning a new language. What helps you learn best?
10. When someone's struggling with a difficult task, you're most likely to…
11. You're building a time capsule that will be opened in 100 years. What do you put inside?
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

What Is My Purpose in Life? Quiz: Next Steps and Advice

Congratulations! By completing the quiz, you’ve taken the first step to finding your purpose. What’s next?

Take Your Time

It may feel ironic to tell you to slow down once you’ve taken your first step, but patience is essential when figuring out your purpose. This is often a lifelong journey, so start by reflecting on the results you’ve achieved before taking any action. 

Did the results make sense to you? Did they feel aligned with what you’ve been enjoying and working toward? Or, were they surprising? Did they shed light on a part of you that you hadn’t explored before?

“Give yourself grace,” says Prestina Yarrington, growth and development coach and former senior manager in global talent acquisition at Microsoft. “You first want to make sure you have made an intentional effort in self-discovery. Really get to know who you are as a person and not who you think you should be. Do an analysis of what you are good at and enjoy, what your natural skills and abilities are, and what others have confirmed through their feedback. This will place you in a great position to begin exploring careers or areas of interest that align with these skills and that you can look into further.”

Look Inward, Not Outward

“One of the biggest mistakes young people make when trying to find their purpose is focusing on what other people expect of them instead of their own desires,” says Shawna Martin, a leadership and career coach. “It’s easy to get caught up in what your parents, community, friends, or extended family think you should be doing with your life. These can be subtle comments you’ve heard throughout your life or even more direct demands to pursue a certain path. It’s crucial to take time to reflect on what you truly desire for yourself and separate those desires from the expectations of others.”

Consider activities you’ve done, clubs you’ve been a part of, your major, and even what school you went to. Who decided these things? What did you actually enjoy versus what were you told you should do?

>>MORE: ‘What Should I Go to College For?’ Quiz: 17 Questions to Find the Right Major

It’s OK if what you love to do aligns with what others want you to do — but it doesn’t have to!

Try, Try, Try

Your purpose might not necessarily find its way to you. Trying to answer “What is my purpose?” means you must proactively explore what you might like and get a real sense of what kinds of tasks, work environments, and missions you enjoy. 

There are many ways to “try on” different careers, including internships, externships, job shadowing, and job simulations. Job simulations are free, self-paced programs that walk you through a day in the life working at a particular job at a specific company. 

PurposeJob Simulation to Try
Advising othersKoch Industries Accounting
Advising othersBCG Introduction to Strategy Consulting
Helping othersBloomberg Client Service
Helping othersGE Aerospace Explore Human Resources
Solving problemsJPMorgan Chase & Co. Software Engineering Lite
Solving problemsAccenture Data Analytics & Visualization
Building new ideasbp Digital Design & UX
Building new ideasElectronic Arts Product Management

Know Your Career Doesn’t Have to Be Your Whole Purpose

While your career is a large part of your daily life, it doesn’t have to be your whole purpose. For example, if you think your purpose is helping others, you can fulfill that purpose outside of work, too. You may decide to volunteer with a local organization or be the go-to baker for all of your friend’s celebrations. There are tons of ways to live out your purpose. While your job can contribute to your purpose, it doesn’t have to be the sole thing in your life that fulfills it.

Don’t Stress About One Lifelong Purpose

Figuring out your purpose can not only take time but can also take twists and turns! It’s OK if what you thought your purpose was when you were growing up is different from what you’re feeling now and what you might feel in 20 years.

“You don’t need to know your ‘life purpose’ or ‘your career for life’ when you are in or right out of college,” says Anthony Damaschino, former HR executive and author. “You have time to explore, take risks, and find yourself and a career in the future. A college student doesn’t need the pressure of figuring out either on graduation day!”

Explore many different career paths that might fit your purpose with Forage’s free job simulations.

Image credit: Canva

Zoe Kaplan is a Senior Writer at Forage. Prior to joining Forage, she wrote and edited career and workplace content for Fairygodboss, the largest career community for women.

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