Purpose – Concept, types and differences with the objectives

We explain what the purposes are and how they differ from the objectives. Also, what are personal and life purposes.

Purpose is the purpose for which we undertake something.

What is a purpose?

With the word purpose we generally refer to the sense or the intention with which we carry out some task, that is, the purpose for which we undertake an action, be it a job, an investigation, a new routine or life itself. In the latter case, the purpose of existence, that is, what we are in the world for, is one of the oldest and most difficult to answer philosophical questions and questions that exist.

This word comes from Latin propositum, formed by the voices pro (“Forward”) and i will put (“Put”), so it can be understood as what is put ahead, that is, figuratively, what is planned for the future. It is common for us to use it as a synonym for objective, purpose or intention, and in the latter it allows us to say that something was done with full awareness and motivation, that is, it was planned, it was done on purpose.

In fact, it is common to speak in situations of amendment, personal improvement or moral questioning of the purpose for which someone did something, or even the future purposes that are outlined, as we do at the end of each year with the “New Year’s resolutions ”, Which are the commitments to ourselves that we are ready to undertake and fulfill.

Difference between purposes and objectives

Although these two terms can be used synonymously, it is also possible to understand them as different concepts. Usually, We call objectives to the goals that we have set in advance, and that are concrete, measurable and achievable, so that we can adapt our methodology to achieve them.

While for purposes we usually refer to the same thing, but emphasizing the intention, that is, in subjective planning, since a purpose may be unattainable, it may be fictional or abstract. Thus, we turn a purpose into an objective when we undertake the concrete actions that will lead us towards the goal.

Personal purposes

When we speak of personal purposes, we mean the future plans that we draw or dream about, and that generally have to do with the people we want to be, that is, with an idea of ​​personal improvement, commitment to oneself and, sometimes, with self-help.

Personal purposes are individual, they concern each one, since depend on the commitment with which the person assumes them. Examples of this can be quitting smoking, losing weight, changing jobs, finishing that novel we are writing or simply being more friendly with our co-workers.

Purpose of life

Instead, when we talk about life purposes, we mean something much more serious and bombastic: the main role that we will fulfill throughout our existence, if that exists. That is, the purpose of life of each person is what they will dedicate themselves to and that will give meaning to their transit through the Earth, and whose importance is defined by the subjectivity of each person.

Thus, for many people a life purpose may be to help others, protect the defenseless, make a lot of money or accumulate as many experiences as possible. Whatever it is, it is an abstract goal that will guide our steps and our vital decisions.

If, on the other hand, we speak of the purpose of life, assuming that life has some kind of general purpose or objective, we refer to the difficult answer to that question that we have all ever asked ourselves: “why are we here? ” or better: “what are we here for?”

To think about the purpose of life is to think that there is a central objective to which human existence points, but that it is hidden and we must somehow find it, since without it existing is meaningless. Unlike personal purposes or life purposes, the purpose of life is linked to the ideas of God or divine planning that guides the events that occur.

“By the way”

Doing something on purpose or doing something on purpose means that you are doing it with full intention, with awareness of its consequences, that is, intentionally. It can also be used to say that we are referring to something previously mentioned in passing. It is a very commonly used adverbial phrase, in sentences such as:

  • By the way weather, we will have heavy rains this Saturday ”(synonymous with“ in relation to ”).
  • “I’m sure you did by the way”(As a synonym for“ intentionally ”).