Arthur C. Brooks recently wrote in the New York Times:
In a 2009 study published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, researchers interviewed 806 adolescents, emerging adults. and adults about their purpose in life. A key finding of the study was that being able to articulate a life purpose was strongly associated with much greater life satisfaction than failing to do so. In contrast, purposelessness — no matter how closely tied to worldly prosperity — generally defines a hamster-wheel life, alarmingly bereft of satisfaction.
What struck me from this statement, first of all, is that, on this particular study, it didn't even matter what you had articulated as your life purpose - some purpose was better than none. Imagine, then, the level of satisfaction that can result from a truly meaningful life purpose, and one that's deeply right for you.
What is your purpose? Can you put it into words? According to the study cited, that in itself can make a difference in a positive way. And the clearer you are about your sense of purpose, the easier it is to assess potential goals, business opportunities, and even social activities. If you're vague about your sense of life direction, meaning, and purpose, it becomes difficult to know what to say yes to and when to say no, apart from momentary feelings. But temporary feelings aren't always our best guides to long term good. A sense of purpose is a great guide forward.