What is the Difference Between a Goal and a Purpose?

Look at it this way: The road is Purpose, leading towards a Goal.


As L. Ron Hubbard points out, a Goal is “the prime intention”, and a Purpose is “the survival route chosen by an individual, a species, or a unit of matter or energy in the accomplishment of its goal.”

Purpose is how you have chosen to accomplish the goal. The goal is the ultimate destination, with the purpose being the road you have taken to accomplish the arrival.

For instance, some have the goal of “Improving the health of people so that they experience a better quality of life”, and there are many methods and “roads” to accomplish this: Nutritionist, Chiropractor, Counselor, etc.

When determining a purpose or goal with a client, I will often ask, “So, if that is accomplished or done, what do you then have?” If I can go no further without getting into the ludicrous or way far out, I know that I have a goal in hand.

If you take the above as an example, a step up from “Improving the health of people so that they experience a higher or better quality of life”, would lead us to nowhere. But, if the goal had been stated as “Providing effective nutrition data to clients”, it would easily yield to the next step up: “Better quality of life”.

This, therefore, indicates that “Providing effective nutrition data to clients” is not a goal, but a purpose, leading to a higher purpose, so to speak.

Happy Trails.

Arte Maren, International Speaker, Writer and Business Consultant

Arte Maren, Author, Speaker and Business Consultant


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