A sense of purpose is an important and teachable attribute. Studies find that pursuing one’s purpose is associated with psychological well-being. Individuals with a sense of purpose report they are happier, more satisfied with their lives, and more hopeful about the future. Knowing your purpose is also associated with improved physical health, including lower stress hormone levels, improved cardiovascular and metabolic markers, reduced pain, a regression in some cancers, and longevity.
Institutions of higher learning are beginning to see that their responsibilities include creating a framework for students to understand themselves and their pathways to success. In Student Success in Higher Education: Developing the Whole Person through High-Impact Practices, we describe college and university programs, courses, and workshops that teach students a framework for future success and emotional, psychological, and physical well-being. The “north star” of all of these frameworks is life purpose.