According to some philosophies, purpose is central to a good human life. Helen Keller wrote that happiness comes from "fidelity to a worthy purpose", and Ayn Rand wrote that purpose must be one of the three ruling values of human life (the others are reason and self-esteem). Some people think that God assigns purposes to people and that it is their mission to fufill it. Others say that purposes are freely chosen by individuals, or not chosen, in which case their lives lack meaning. Among these, some say that natural propensities may determine what sorts of purposes a person needs to pursue, but do not guarantee that he or she will pursue them, that being dependent on free choice.
Pursuing a career and raising a family are perhaps the most widespread of long-term purposes that make life meaningful according to such philosophies. Helping the needy is an often-cited example, not as widespread.