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The role of Emotional Intelligence in finding your Goals, Meaning, and Purpose

Updated: Oct 15, 2022

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There is one moment in every person’s life when the world suddenly goes out of orbit and the weight of life gets ever so heavier – the moment you first ask the question of “What do I want to do with my life?

We spent most of our early lives doing what is imposed upon us, according to what society, family, or friends supposed we should do. However, there reaches a turning point where you start wondering about the reason underlying it all:

  • What is the reason for your existence?

  • Where are you heading in this life?

  • What are the things you want to do before the clock strikes midnight?

Having these questions can be scary, and finding the answers sometimes takes a person their whole lifetime. However, once you found them, life would be so much more rewarding and meaningful – like finding a treasure map leading you straight to the thing you want most in life.

What are Goals, Meaning, and Purpose?

The first step in finding the answer is distinguishing between the Goal, Meaning, and Purpose of your life. Though these terms are sometimes used interchangeably, they contain different connotations. Goal is what you wish to do, Meaning is why you want to do it, and Purpose is the impact you want it to have. These three concepts build upon each other to form a continuous cycle. Our Purpose helps us create Goals, and our Goals help us do what is Meaningful. Those meaningful steps, in turn, add up to something greater - our Purpose.

In a way, Purpose is the compass of our lives, and Goals are the actions we take to move in the right direction.

How do I find my Purpose?

Unfortunately, merely knowing the definitions and differences between Goals, Meaning, and Purpose does not help you identify your life directions. In fact, you can never find the answer looking outwardly into the external world. The answer can only be seen by an inward gaze, deep into yourself.

This is what makes the question the most difficult but also the most simple. The inner world of a person is so complex that no one may ever be able to fully comprehend. However, after all these years living in our own minds, our inner worlds are, in fact, our most familiar places.

Understanding this is as if realizing the treasure you have been searching for all this time was in your (huge and messy) bedroom all along. Hence, the key to answering this question is to re-organize and reflect on your inner thoughts and experiences. To do this, utilize the powerful tool that is your emotions.

Emotional Intelligence and the search for Purpose

Emotional Intelligence is the capability of individuals to recognize their own emotions and those of others, discern between different feelings, and label them appropriately. This emotional information is then used to guide thinking and behavior and adapt to environments. Hence, this skill plays a crucial role in helping the person to understand their own emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

Indeed, you can recognize what a person takes to be important by observing and analyzing their emotional response to it. Evolutionary psychologists believed that the mind-emotion connection is a method that helped our ancestors ensure their safety, have their needs met, and obtain important information about their conditions. In other words, emotion is the fastest and most primary method that helps a person connect with others and with their true self.

Applying Emotional Intelligence to your search for Purpose, you should take the first step by reflecting on your past experiences. Observe your emotional response to different environments, situations, and stimuli, and analyze their causes. Over time, you would start to recognize an underlying pattern in things you find intriguing and meaningful, which is, then, the foundation to develop your Goals and Purpose in the future.


Besides these suggestions to self-reflect on your experiences and explore your inner worlds, Compassio also offers you the opportunity to have the guidance of an expert (a mentor, a coach...) on your journey to find your Purpose. and Coach Hằng Hà - Network Leader of Six Seconds in Vietnam will share about this topic in our upcoming Sharing Talk of "How to use Emotional Intelligence for Goals, Meaning, and Purpose." Coming to this event, you would get to listen to Coach Hằng Hà share her knowledge on this topic, and participate in a discussion at the end of the Sharing Talk, lead by our moderator, the founder of Compassio - Phạm Đại Bàng.

Through our Sharing Talk: Purpose, you will gain:

  • An understanding of what Purpose means and why it is important

  • The knowledge on the role of emotions in helping us clarify and commit to our Purpose

  • A draft (or new draft) of your own purpose statement for 2021

To join our event:


Information on the article:

Editorial board of Compassio: Author - Quỳnh Chi ; Editor: Phạm Đại Bàng



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