Purpose, Mission And Vision: What Is The Difference?

If you are a person who aspires to bring about a change in the world, you must have heard about these three terms: purpose, mission, and vision. But what if I asked you the meaning, or better yet, the difference between these terms? It’s alright, if you don’t know, I’m here to explain. Let us read about “Purpose, Mission, And Vision”

Purpose, Mission, And Vision

Purpose, Mission, And Vision

We use these terms so frequently every day, not realising that they have small, but very substantial differences. Purpose, mission, and vision can be rooted in these three words: why, how, and what.

First, let’s find out what these terms really mean.

What is a Purpose?

In simple terms, a purpose is the reason for doing what you are doing. It is for this reason that a person exists in this world.

A purpose defines one’s commitments in life and justifies one’s dedication towards their goals. It isn’t easy to find one’s purpose in life, and it takes time to finally recognise it. And on your journey on finding your life’s purpose, you’ll face many ups and downs, but at the end of it all, one thing is certain: You will have found yourself. You will have learned what you have to do in life, what drives you forward in this world.

What is a Mission?

A mission is something that defines how one will accomplish their purpose in life and achieve their eventual goals.

One might know one’s purpose in life, but a mission is what helps them to plan and articulate the course of action that will be required to fulfil their goals. A mission also lets one know whether they are progressing in the right direction or not. A mission is an illustration of your plans and journey toward your goal, and how it will assist you in achieving your life’s purpose.

What is a Vision?

“You can’t do it unless you can imagine it.”

The above quote by the famous American filmmaker, George Walton Lucas Jr., perfectly exemplifies a vision. George Lucas is credited with creating the world famous film franchises of Star Wars and Indiana Jones. In this quote, he explains to us in very simple words the gist of ‘vision.’

Vision is something that one imagines. It’s something you want to happen, somewhere you want to be.But none of this is at all possible without that person’s ability to imagine that which he wants to paint into reality. A person’s vision is their faculty, which helps them dream about their aspirations and goals, and merge those two into a single force that drives them forward.

Why are Purpose, Mission, and Vision, so important?

Let’s take a dive back into the past. Imagine if Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel didn’t dream of a united India or if Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam didn’t aspire to make India a nuclear-powered nation. What would have happened then? Where would our country be in today’s world?

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel wanted to bring the princely Indian states under the Union of India, the newly formed independent country. And his absolute, unfaltering, and uncompromising struggle towards this vision was what gave him the moniker “The Iron Man of India.” Today, his fame sits upon the mountain of his great deeds. The determination, the sheer will power, and the unwavering commitment he had towards bringing this vision into reality were his purpose in life, and the means by which he used to realise his vision were his mission, his roadmap.

So, even though we have to agree that purpose, mission, and vision, all have subtle differences, they all have one thing in common: they ultimately contribute to leading a person to achieve their final goal. And the synergy between these three elements is such that one cannot exist, or work, without the other two. They are designed to keep a person motivated and driven.

At the inception of a person’s journey towards their goal, they might ask themselves questions that revolve around the why, the how, and the what. But in the end, these elements work in tandem to help a person make their dreams come true. Such is the power of a purpose, a mission, and a vision.

How are Purpose, Mission, and Vision, different from one another?

A vision is a picture that an individual’s imagination paints on the empty canvas of their mind. A mission is the series of steps that an individual needs to take in the direction of bringing that vision to reality. And the purpose is what tells that individual why he needs to realise that vision.

  • A mission is different from a vision because it requires stronger efforts.
  • A purpose is why a person is doing what they are doing, while a mission is how they are doing what they are doing.
  • A mission implements detailed analysis, data, and research, whereas a vision only paints the general picture of the goal.

How is a Purpose, a Mission, and a Vision, similar?

It is easier to get lost in the thin line that exists between a purpose, a mission, and a vision, as they have very subtle differences. But still, the question arises: how exactly are these three terms similar to one another?

  • They help drive a person who dreams of change and has the determination to bring about that change towards achieving their goal.
  • Each term is dependent on the other. One cannot succeed if one only has a purpose; they need the assistance of a mission and a vision.
  • They can be a foundation stone for a great future, not just for you but for the people around you.
  • Strong organisational and communication skills are essential for all three of these elements.


Having a vision gives you a purpose in life – the purpose of striving to bring that vision into reality. And it is this striving that becomes your mission. In this way, these three elements complement one another, and by doing so, they help an individual pursue the quest for the betterment of the world.

Purpose, Mission And Vision: What Is The Difference?

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