Living Deliberately: Unraveling the Essence of Purposeful Living

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” -- Henry David Thoreau. Read on to learn what it means to live deliberately..

Henry David Thoreau's thoughts on Living Deliberately: 

Photo: Andrea Hunt
“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” -- Henry David Thoreau

The first time I heard this poem, I was 11 years old. I had just watched a scene from one of my favorite Robin Williams films: Dead Poet's Society. I was not that old at the time so I don't think I really captured the full meaning and it was one of those things that made more sense the more I lived and the longer I lived and the more experiences I had.

My high school days were not pretty. Among other things, my family fell apart during that time and so did I. I was completely lost and as I looked around, there was nothing to look forward to. I felt like I was in some bottomless pit of complaining, negativity, wasted time and nothing of purpose or substance. I was living about as UNdeliberately as possible (not even on purpose) and it felt like crap. Every day. Everything happened TO me. I was powerless. Or so I thought.

I decided to move away from my hometown and start new in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. For me, living in Mexico filled my life with sense of purpose, community, adventure, and wonder. Mexican culture appreciates little things and celebrates every small milestone. It was a complete change from the life I had and from then on I knew that I would live differently. And I would do it on purpose.

"Every day, you're always one decision away from a totally different life," Mark Batterson

It's hard to describe the sense of empowerment I realized I had that I could completely change my life at 20 and create one I wanted to live and grow in. It was a change of perspective. A change in the way I was being. And living. It was the change to Living Deliberately that I needed as I finally realized that things would happen to me inevitably, but that I had the power to create my life.

What Does it Mean to Live Deliberately?

Photo: Mohamed Nohassi

Living deliberately is a journey that (for me) involves embracing purpose, passion, and love in every aspect of our lives. It involves being intentional in our actions, making each day meaningful, and exploring our hearts and souls. It doesn't mean that every day you need to be climbing mountains and doing extraordinary things and changing the world.

Instead, it means exploring the essence of living deliberately and what is means to you. And asking yourself how it can bring meaning, fulfillment, and growth to your life.

Being alive is, undeniably, one of life's great gifts. However, while many people are able to take advantage of this fact, far too many find themselves merely "existing" rather than living.

These individuals live their lives on autopilot – following the same paths as everyone else in pursuit of their stable, yet totally unfulfilling comfort zones.

Maybe they wake up from day to day without even contemplating the possibility or asking themselves if there isn't more they could do each day they are blessed with. In many cases, they're unhappy, complaining, and have simply resigned to live this way until they die.

Sure, this kind of automatic programming may feel safe and comforting, but it denies us true self discovery and the experience that comes with being alive.

Although it might feel scary and a bit unsettling at first, taking initiatives that allow us to push beyond our boundaries is important for making the most out of our lives. By bringing curiosity back into our days and looking for unique experiences, we can try to appreciate what it truly means to be alive; as it not only involves existing, but most importantly pursuing contentment on our own terms.

Here are 6 Ways to Live more Deliberately

Photo: Danica Tanjutco

1. Living with Purpose

Discovering our life's purpose and aligning our actions with our values and aspirations is the first step to living deliberately. Identifying our passions and what brings us joy allows us to create a meaningful path. Embracing purpose brings clarity to our decisions and creates fulfillment.

In our modern world, it is often too easy to be swept up in the chaos of day-to-day living, substituting meaningful activities with false pleasures or simply entertainment – but without this appreciation of a usage for ourselves that is greater than just ourselves, life can seem empty and unfulfilling. Driven by the need to feed our bodies and egos, we easily forget that what we truly need is something outside of ourselves – something towards which we can direct all of our enthusiasm and energy.

With this kind of intention in place, it becomes possible not only to live fully and vibrantly in the present moment, but also to give back to society and leave the world a little better than we found it.

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”― Eleanor Roosevelt

2. Living with Passion

Living deliberately means infusing passion into aspects of our lives. It involves finding joy, enthusiasm, or just contentment in even the simplest tasks. Passion fuels creativity and motivates us to achieve our dreams. Also, love and connection play a crucial role in our lives. We need to nurture relationships and cultivate supportive networks. This involves surrounding ourselves with like-minded individuals who inspire us and have a passion for life as well. By valuing community and exchanging love and understanding, we create an environment that helps us grow and succeed.

"Believe in Your HeartBelieve in your heart that you're meant to live a life full of passion, purpose, magic and miracles."— Roy T. Bennett (The Light in the Heart)

3. Living with Meaning

Photo: Devin Avery

Living a meaningful life is integral to our overall well-being. If we're intentional about connecting to what we deem to be true and good so that we are better equipped to navigate difficult periods in our lives. Additionally, living with intentional meaning challenges us to answer big questions that determine how we live our lives. Things like values gain more clarity and leave us with greater emotional understanding towards ourselves and other people. Ultimately, being connected to meaning helps unlock how each of us dynamic respond to life events, leading us towards paths more full of fulfillment than ever before.

“If my life is going to mean anything, I have to live it myself.”― Rick Riordan, The Lightning Thief

4. Living with Mindful Presence

Living deliberately means being present in the present moment and seizing opportunities. It requires letting go of the past and not worrying about the uncertain. Instead, it involves fully experiencing each moment and embracing the unknown. Stepping out of our comfort zones allows us to explore new experiences and expand our personal growth.

“Your life requires your mindful presence in order to live it. Be here now.” ― Akiroq Brost

5. Living with a "Clean Heart"

Examining our emotional well-being is important for intentional living. Forgiveness and self-compassion are crucial for personal growth and moving forward. Releasing past grievances and nurturing self-love allows us to let go of emotional burdens and make room for growth and healing. EFT tapping is a powerful tool for fostering forgiveness, healing, and inner peace, enabling us to live intentionally and authentically.

“Forgiving isn’t something you do for someone else. It’s something you do for yourself. It’s saying, ‘You’re not important enough to have a stranglehold on me.’ It’s saying, ‘You don’t get to trap me in the past. I am worthy of a future.’” – Jodi Picoult

6. Living with Meaningful Connection

Love and connection play a crucial role in our lives. We need to nurture relationships and cultivate supportive networks. This involves surrounding ourselves with like-minded individuals who inspire us. By valuing community and exchanging love and understanding, we create an environment that helps us grow and succeed.

How to balance impulsive YOLO mindset and rationality

Photo: Brett Jordan

Living deliberately is about striking the perfect balance between embracing life’s joys and finding stability in our lives. It involves being mindful of our decisions and taking responsibility for their consequences. Yes, letting ourselves enjoy the present is important. NO, that doesn't mean blowing our life savings on one activity because we're trying to make the most of the present. :D

We can start by defining our values and setting goals that align with those values and choosing the actions on a daily basis that align us with them.

“You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.” Mae West

This helps us stay focused on what is important to us and prioritize activities that lead to greater fulfillment. Create daily intentions and also milestones.

Ask yourself: does this support the life I'm trying to create?

Living deliberately requires finding a balance between routine and spontaneity. Routines are important for establishing healthy habits, cultivating self-discipline, providing structure, and enabling us to invest our energies effectively. At the same time, creating some spontaneity in our lives can help us stay connected to our environment and remain open to unexpected learnings and experiences.


Living deliberately is an intentional lifestyle that takes effort, awareness and dedication to build. It is about having enough knowledge of yourself and your life circumstances to make purposeful decisions towards a desirable destination.

To live deliberately means making thoughtful decisions rooted in one's core values and consciously directing one's focus away from distraction and excess.

Living deliberately is about purpose, passion, and love. It requires intention and making each day count. It involves embracing growth opportunities and cultivating forgiveness and compassion.

So, today, ask yourself: if today you took your last breath, do you feel you have sucked all the marrow out of life?

ANDREA HUNT - Online Transformational Life Coach & EFT Tapping Practitioner based in Munich, Germany

I'm an accredited transformational life coach from Animas Centre for Coaching UK  and a member of the International Coaching Federation. I'm also a Level 2 practitioner in EFT Tapping (Emotional Freedom Technique) and a member of AEFTP (Association of Emotional Freedom Technique Professionals).

If you're not sure where to start transforming your life, you can download my free ebook on How to Start Your Personal Growth Journey.

Are you ready to change your life, let go of old beliefs, empower yourself for a mindset shift to move forward? Mark Batterson says: You're always one decision away from a totally different life.

header image: Andrea Hunt

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