Purpose-Finding Interview

Activities & Lessons


Purpose-Finding, Community, & Experiential Learning




Human Restoration Project, referencing work by Drs. William Damon & Kendall Cotton-Bronk. CC-BY-SA.

March 2020

An illustrated image of a document with link symbol.

printable / Google Document


Access variations of this resource:


required resources


An illustrated image of a DJ set with someone scratching.


download resource

No remixes are available yet for this resource!

submit a remix

Make an edit? Your input and designs create human-centered practices which fuel our movement for change. Upon approval, your credited remix will be published under a Creative Commons license.

A series of purpose-driven questions for driving classroom learning and activities.

video overview

overview & purpose

The following interview protocol, used by Dr. William Damon and adapted by Dr. Kendall Cotton Bronk, was both used to identify purpose research as well as foster it. These questions, broken down into class activities, reflections, and prompts could be instituted into any classroom.

No items found.

educator notes

Use this quote by lead researcher Dr. William Damon to help frame your practice in introducing these ideas:

"...adults who wish to help young people find their purposes are in a somewhat awkward position. We cannot present a ready-made purpose to a young person and expect that it will suit her comfortably. We can and should, however, introduce inspiring ideas, and sources of ideas—people, books, religious or secular organizations—that may provide young people with the inspirations that will get them on their way. We also can create conditions that facilitate their own efforts to fashion purposes.”

lesson / activity


  1. Tell me a little about yourself. What kind of person are you?
  2. What kinds of things do you really care about? Why do you care about these things?
  3. What’s most important to you in your life? Why is that important to you?
  4. Do you have any long-term goals? What are a few of the more important ones? Why are these goals important to you?
  • If no, That’s interesting, why do you prefer not to have goals? What does it mean to you not to have goals?
  • If yes, Are you doing anything now to achieve these goals or objectives? If yes, What are you doing? If no, What has kept you back from doing something to meet these goals?
  1. What does it mean to have a good life?
  2. What does it mean to be a good person?
  3. What would you say you spend most of your energy on these days?
  4. If you were looking back on your life, how would you want to be remembered? What would you want to be remembered for? Why?

Building Connections

  1. Earlier you talked about [x] being important to you. Can you tell me how and why this became important? When did it become important to you?
  2. Why did you get involved with this particular objective or cause rather than with a different one?
  3. Is there someone who helped you act on your goal(s) initially?
  4. Would you say your friends and family are concerned with the same things? Have your friends, family and other people in your life generally supported or opposed your efforts?
  5. Have you gotten others involved in your efforts? If yes, how did you do this?
  6. Apart from particular people, were there other things that influenced you (books, films, particular experiences, or other things)?
Pictured: A child sits being interviewed by a person inside an astronaut uniform.

Opportunities & Supports

  1. Do you look up to anyone?
  2. Do you have a mentor? Are there qualities in this mentor, or in others, that you admire?


  1. Has it been hard for you to remain dedicated to this aim? Will it be difficult for you to remain committed down the road? If yes, What were the obstacles? How did you overcome

Future Goals

  1. Are there qualities that you possess that helped you in achieving the goals that are important to you? Are there qualities that you possess that have made it more difficult?
  2. Picture yourself at, say, 40 years of age. What will you be doing? Who will be in your life? What will be important to you? What will be going on in the area that concerns you?
  3. What are your plans in the immediate future, say the next few years?
An illustrated rocket.

similar resources

An illustrated play button.