Explorers, perhaps the most spontaneous personalities of all, may find it hard to see a genuine reason to define their life purpose in the same sense that most people do. Winging it is more their style. Rather than finding a distinct North Star to follow into the future, they might view their life purpose more like a picture of what they’re good at, with perhaps a descriptive standard for doing the things they do. “I am a painter with a passion for stretching beyond conventional art and exploring more experimental ways of looking at the world.”
But that doesn’t mean that finding or defining a life purpose isn’t useful to Explorers. The main role of a life purpose is to keep people on the right track, and a strong sense of purpose can work for Explorer personality types. For example, if the painter quoted in the previous paragraph begins to feel that their art becomes too bound to tradition rather than something innovative, their succinct life purpose might pull them back on course with an eye toward trying new things.
“What if she was supposed to be a painter, but no one ever gave her a brush?”
Here’s what we’re looking at when developing a life purpose: a life purpose is a guiding vision that is the core reason for all the significant activities in a person’s life. We usually describe a life purpose as a self-organizing principle based on passions, beliefs, and competency. But nothing says it has to be some lofty statement describing a reasoned direction into a future marked by inflexible dedication. While Explorer personalities plan and dream like anyone else, their commitment to these things is often less fervent due to their preference for letting life flow where it will.
If you’re an Explorer, this doesn’t mean that you can’t develop a life purpose. Yours may look different and suit your life approach better. And you can use any traditional template for your purpose if you’re so inspired. Why not? But here are suggestions for your consideration that might work better for you.
Give It a Name
Your life purpose is most likely found in what you do, and what you do often defines who you are. Explorers take much of their identity from the things they do, perhaps more than other personality types. Other types often create a life purpose based on their thoughts, attitudes, or even societal expectations rather than from their skills.
So instead of forcing philosophies, attitudes, or societal expectations on yourself when creating a life purpose, perhaps the first step for Explorer personalities is to identify what you call yourself because of what you do. Maybe something like a mechanic, preschool teacher, parent, spouse, actor, or any title that describes your skill set. It also might be a skill you hope to attain. And these are legitimate ways to discuss a life purpose. For example, becoming the best parent that one can be is a worthy, purpose-filled guiding principle for any life.
So what do you do, and what do you call yourself in life? Dress it up by describing special qualities of that pursuit, if you want to. “A woodworker who turns out furniture designed to last for generations” might be an example. But a special quality is an addition. It’s unnecessary for your purpose. Exploring your skill or your interests any way you want to is purpose enough.
Flexibility – You’ll Have It No Other Way
When thinking about a person’s life direction, it’s tempting to say, “Stay the course.” That advice seems implied in a life purpose. But it’s not the only advice that might be given. How about instead: “Always explore your options, because there are so many suitable options to explore.” You don’t always need or want the consistency of a long-term commitment, and that can work in your favor.
Suppose your life is all about finding something new and interesting to learn or be. That’s almost a defining quality for many Explorers. Who says a life purpose must never change or that you should write yours in stone? No doubt some people may push such rules. But it’s your life, so who cares?
Build into your sense of purpose the idea that, typically, an Explorer…explores. A life of such exploration can be a noble life…or, at the very least, an interesting one. “I will be the best baseball player I can be…until I find something else that I think is very cool. And I’ll tell you what that is when I figure it out myself. It’s about the journey, not the destination.”
Opening your life to many experiences not only works for you but also provides an often uptight world with a stimulating example of what it means to loosen up. It gives the non-Explorer personalities a sense of what it looks like to actually “follow your bliss.”
Putting It All Together
So here’s an unorthodox approach to finding a life purpose for personality types who sometimes specialize in unorthodox – but practical – approaches. And in all of Explorers’ uniqueness, it may be the thing that helps you focus on what you’re doing and why. Even the most spontaneous explorers (small e) need some idea of where they’re going, no matter how flexible their plan might be. They may not need a detailed map, but it helps if they have some idea of how to find their way using the sun and the stars.
And there’s no way of getting this wrong. It’s your life and your purpose. You be you.
If you’re an Explorer feeling inspired to discover a life purpose – or if you know one who already has – we’d love to hear from you in the comments below.
- Is your job starting to feel like the same old routine? This article is for you: “4 Nimble Ways Explorer Personality Types Make a Fresh Start at Work.”
- If you’re just starting to think about potential careers, you might find some ideas you like in our two-part series on career compatibility for Explorer personalities.
- Our Premium Profiles for Virtuosos, Adventurers, Entrepreneurs, and Entertainers can help you explore even more paths for academic, professional, and personal growth.