This is a great Toolkit that has had a big impact on my life! It has helped me realize exactly who I want to be and where I’m trying to get to in life.

—Eva Cho, student

What does purpose mean? Having a sense of purpose means being committed to something that is meaningful to you but also makes a difference to something bigger than yourself. How you want to leave your mark on the world and make it a better place, how you want your life to have mattered . . . that’s what purpose is.

What’s so great about purpose? It might be easy to guess that people who have a strong sense of purpose in life tend to be happier, more motivated, and less stressed. Because they’re working towards something they really care about, they find studying and homework more meaningful, do better at school, enjoy their jobs more, and even live longer!

So how can I find purpose? Even if you don’t feel very purposeful right now, odds are there are lots of things in your life that you can use to build a sense of purpose. This toolkit will help you think about things like what matters most to you, what your most important goals are, and what you can do to work towards them. Here are some examples of the activities you’ll have the chance to do.

  • Watch and reflect on a video of a celebrity talking about what matters most to him
  • Imagine and write about what your life will ideally be like when you’re 40
  • Rank different values according to how important they are to you
  • Design a tattoo that symbolizes what’s most important to you

At the end, you will have the opportunity to write an essay about purpose in your life. This is something you could use as a college essay.

  • FAQs

    How long will it take to complete the purpose-fostering activities?

    Students will log in four times over the next week or two. Each time you log in, you’ll likely spend about 15-20 minutes completing the online activities. Between these times, we hope you’ll reflect on the activities and your thoughts about them.

    Can I complete these activities on my phone?

    Yes, everything you need will be available online, and you can complete the purpose-fostering activities using your phone, a tablet, or a computer. However, we recommend you write the final essay on a computer to facilitate the typing process.

    What kinds of activities will I complete?

    The activities are designed to help you think deeply about the things that matter most to you and what it is that you want to accomplish in your lives. To that end, activities include sending emails, writing responses, viewing brief video clips, responding to quotations, and sorting value statements. We’ve tried to create a set of activities that is both thought provoking and fun to complete.


  • Imagine you are 40 years of age and things in your life have gone as well as you could have hoped. What will you be doing? Who will be in your life? What will be important to you? Why?

    Spend 5 minutes picturing your best possible future and 5 more minutes writing about it. Describe it in as much detail as possible.