Purpose vs Objective
Purpose, objectives, goals, aim, intentions etc. are some words that we think we know very well and often use them interchangeably despite the fact that there are subtle differences between them. Special mention needs to be made about two words purpose and objective that confuse people a lot. These are common everyday words that are often used incorrectly. This article attempts to highlight the differences between the two for a better understanding of the two concepts.
Behind every action or behavior, there is a purpose or motive. If one looks up a dictionary, purpose is defined as the reason behind everything that takes place. There is a purpose behind even suffering and poverty, they say, as God has designed them to make people learn a thing or two about life and life’s values. The word can be used as a noun where it implies the aims or goals of an individual or an organization, or it can be used as a verb where it implies the intentions or the motives behind an action or behavior. In our lives, we become so confused and mechanical with everything that we hardly pay attention to the purpose or the reason of our actions. Ask a person the real purpose of life and you are sure to draw a blank. The basic purpose of a business entity is to make profits to satisfy the stakeholders, and the basic purpose of a school is to educate young kids to make them knowledgeable. Similarly, there is a reason or purpose behind everything in life.
Objective is the goal or aim one has set for him in life. Objectives provide a set of guidelines to people and organizations, as they motivate people to accomplish these goals. When a sprinter starts to train, he sets objectives or goals for him to be able to beat the competition. Similarly, there are clearly spelt out objectives of various welfare programs and policies made by government for the people and backward sections of the society. Though the word is mostly used as a noun where it means a goal or an aim, it is also used as an adjective where it means non-biased and impartial. In this sense, a person can be objective as he is not judgmental and does not take decisions on the basis of emotions or feelings.
When JFK declared putting a man on the moon and safely bringing him back to earth by the end of the decade as the objective of the space mission in 1961, he gave people a dream to live. JFK was a visionary as he knew that people would not be interested in abstract missions. This single idea kept the people inspired for a decade, and it remained the objective of the space program till 1969 when the first man was finally put on moon.
What is the difference between Purpose and Objective?
• Purpose is the reason or the meaning behind every action in life whereas objective is the aim or the goal a person has set for himself in life.
• Purpose is abstract while the objective is specific and clear cut.
• The purpose of a business establishment is to make profits to satisfy shareholders and owners whereas its objectives are the goals that have been set for the future.