Discover Your Life Path Number: The Key to Decoding Your Life Purpose


life-path-number-purpose-wonderingdiscovering and understanding the meaning of your life path number opens up a whole new world of possibilities for growth, expansion and discovery of your life purpose.

How I Discovered the Life-Purpose Life Path Number System

Despite nearly twenty years spent exploring the human psyche, various insight traditions, and metaphysical models of reality, I remain an empiricist at heart. I value the scientific method, which utilizes

well-designed (double-blind, controlled) experiments to test whether a theory or hypothesis is in fact true — whether, for example, a medication, herb, or other substance works better than a placebo (sugar pill). The methods of science helped to pull humanity out of the dark ages of superstition. So over the years I’ve been skeptical of magical or wishful thinking and untested notions.

I hadn’t even considered the existence of a deeper calling, or anything like a “life path or life path number,” until 1984, when I met an unusual mentor whom I’ll refer to as MB. He had read my first book, Way of the Peaceful Warrior, and had decided to take me under his wing.

Not long after our initial encounter, MB sat me down and gave me a “reading,” which changed the course of my life. In that session, he revealed in-depth information that clarified my past, present, and potential future, including details that rang true and proved amazingly accurate (I later learned he used my life path number as a guide). It was as if his words removed a veil that had previously obscured my vision, and awakened in me the first clear recognition of the life I was born to live.

I was astonished that he could have such insight into my life but had no idea how he gained access to such information. I was at that time well versed in the “cold-read” techniques and tricks used by so-called psychics. MB claimed no psychic abilities, however, stating only that he had been trained to know “where to look”—i.e. to understand my life path number—for such information. He would say no more about it at that time.

In the months that followed that session, I began to learn life’s lessons with greater ease and openness, and to engage with life in a more assertive way. Understanding what I was here to do, I set out to do it. My family’s financial situation improved correspondingly as I refined an approach to living that I called the peaceful warrior’s way—a way of living aligned in large part with my life path.

Meanwhile, I remained fascinated with MB’s apparent intuitive abilities. So when he announced an advanced training he was offering in Hawaii, where he would teach, among other things, the basic elements of the life path number system that gave him such uncanny insight into people’s lives, I was the first to sign up. I could hardly believe that I might learn to do for other people what he had done for me.

At the training, I sat with about twenty other participants as MB began a series of lectures on this mysterious life path number system. The first thing he revealed was an objective method of adding up the digits of anyone’s date of birth, and then deriving meanings that provided insight into their lives.


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I was initially disappointed by this revelation, as when a magician shows how a wondrous illusion is accomplished with mirrors and sleight of hand; the “magic” vanished. Besides, using people’s birth dates sounded like numerology, an occult art that had never attracted me. It made no sense that adding the digits of someone’s date of birth could yield accurate information about central issues in that person’s life path.

MB went on to explain that such methods had been passed down in various cultures over the centuries, but that they differed in interpretations and degrees of accuracy. He added, “Once you learn more about this approach, you can determine for yourself the validity of the life path number system.” He then spent several evenings presenting information that pinpointed key issues in each of our lives.

The life path, or hidden calling, that you are about to explore points to what you are really here to fulfill — the innate drives, challenges, and gifts that for most people remain unseen or obscure.

I took careful notes from MB’s life path number lectures, outlining in about twenty pages the fundamental elements of the system. As soon as I returned home, I began to give free life-purpose readings to family and friends, using the basic information in my notes. Within a few weeks I had internalized the information and no longer needed any notes. Eventually, after working with many hundreds of people, my insight in to the life path system deepened and expanded.

Eight years later, I trained a small number of therapists, health professionals, and life coaches in the fundamentals of what I came to call the Life-Purpose System—based on the use of the life path number which you are about to learn, and eventually I went on to write The Life You Were Born to Live.

Here, in the context of the four purposes of life (outlined in my new book, The Four Purposes of Life: Finding Meaning and Direction in a Changing World) I present core elements of this life path number system as a means to help you clarify your life path and hidden calling—the third purpose of life.

A final note prior to addressing the specifics of this life path number system: If your sense of logic and reality leave you reluctant or resistant to applying a numerological system that uses one’s date of birth as a means to access core issues of life, you have the option of ignoring the following calculations. Instead, you can simply review the nine life paths I’ll soon describe, and contemplate, as objectively as you can, which of these life paths may stand out the most for you. You always have the option of later checking your own conclusions against those that your birth number points to, in order to determine for yourself the validity and utility of the system as a tool for focused insight.

How to Calculate Your Life Path Number

1. Begin with your full birth date.

December 19, 2009

2. Add all the individual numbers that make up your birthdate together as follows.

For Example:
December 19, 2009 translates to 12 (month) 19 (day) 2009 (year)

Add the Individual Numbers Together:
1 + 2 + 1 + 9 + 2 + 0 + 0 + 9 = 24

Then Add the Individual Numbers of the Final Number Together:
24 would translate to 2 + 4 = 6.

3. In this example your life path number would be a 6. In a more in-depth reading of your life path, the number 24 would also be important as these individual numbers of 2 and 4 also have minor influences on your life path.  The full life path number for the above example would be written as (24/6).  More detailed descriptions of this can be found in the next section of this piece below.

4. Important Note: If the final life path number is a double digit number, then reduce it to a single number by adding the two individual numbers together. For example:

11 would reduce to 1 + 1 = and the final life path number would be a 2.

10 would reduce to 1 + 0 = and the final life path number would be a 1.

Your Birth Number and the Third Purpose

Like most people living today, you have a three-digit or four-digit birth number which is essential for calculating your life path number (or, like a small percentage of people born on certain dates after the year 2000, you might have a single-digit birth number).

You will soon learn the meanings and significance of the digits 1 through 9 as they relate to the challenges on your life path. Every digit in your birth number provides information and insight into your life path. However, please make note of the following.

+ If you have a three-digit birth number (e.g., 27/9), then the final digit, to the right of the slash, represents your hidden calling — the third purpose you’re here to fulfill.

+ If you have a four-digit birth number (e.g., 29/11), then each of the two middle digits of your birth number (on either side of the slash) represents key elements of your third purpose.

+ If you have a rare one-digit birth number, then that single digit alone represents your third purpose.

+ A zero in your birth number (for example 20/2 or 28/10) indicates potential spiritual gifts, such as empathy, strength, or intuitive discernment on your life path.

+ As you mature along your life path, the qualities associated with your birth number tend to evolve over time from more negative (less mature) aspects into more positive (constructive) forms.

To make sense of all these numbers and principles—bringing them down to earth and into your life—we now turn to the primary meanings and issues associated with each digit in the life path number system (1 through 9).

The Nine Life Paths

Study each of the following life path number descriptions through the filter of your own history and experience, paying special attention to the digits of your birth number. And remember that each of the following life paths or callings (associated with the digits 1 through 9) represents primary drives and challenges.

1: Creativity

The 1 life path number centers around creative energy — in the arts (writing, visual media, acting, music), or in education, business, family and childrearing, or any other field where creativity gives birth to new directions, solutions, or approaches. The 1 also indicates a knack for inventiveness or reinvention. When those with 1 (or double 1) in their birth number tackle their innate insecurity — an underlying sense of inferiority and driving need to prove themselves — and stop trying to fit in, then their creativity flows like a surging river. But creative energy is a double-edged sword; it can manifest in positive, productive, constructive forms or in negative or destructive ways (such as abuse or addiction). Physical exercise helps those working 1 energy to stay grounded and balanced.

Applied in the positive, their energy charms, attracts, and inspires others to their own creative endeavors.

2: Cooperation

The 2 life path number represents a drive to, and issues around, cooperative service but also a tendency to overcooperate, or start a relationship by overhelping, sometimes to the point of servitude — giving and giving (whether or not anyone asked) — then later resenting and resisting, withdrawing (physically or emotionally), feeling taken for granted. Those with 2 in their birth number (like those with 4) can feel overly responsible and take on responsibility to solve problems (“I’ll just do it myself!”), and need to delegate at times. A key for those with 2 involves establishing a balance (and boundaries) between the needs (and responsibilities) of others and their own.

Those working 2 can be strong and supportive worker bees, nurturers, and caregivers of the world. While fully capable of leading, their deepest and most satisfying calling is bringing loyal, capable support to a person, organization, or mission in service of a higher good.

3: Expression

The 3 life path number points to an emotionally needy and sensitive soul (whether or not outwardly visible to others) — a romantic whose acute sensitivity makes criticism especially painful but also helps them intuitively tune in to and connect with others. The 3 centers around a powerful drive for self-expression — through speaking, writing, music, art, public relations, coaching, or teaching. If the expressive drive of those with 3 is blocked, stifled, or obstructed, they can get moody, depressed, or manipulative (hinting at rather than clearly expressing what they need). In the negative, 3 energy takes the form of complaining, sarcasm, insults, gossip, or cutting wit; in the positive, those with 3 in their birth number bring creative, constructive, encouraging, uplifting, enthusiastic expression. The biggest 3 hurdle is an innate feeling of self-doubt (a sense of being unprepared or not capable enough). The courage to push past this hurdle enables those with 3 to bring uplifting expression into the world.

4: Stability

The 4 life path number represents a deep call to structure and stability, but with tendencies to do the opposite. Those with 4 in their birth number are ambitious and gregarious problem solvers with a natural analytical ability; thus, they make excellent managers and organizers. But 4 indicates a tendency to overanalyze that can lead to a sense of confusion, so writing down options and listening to gut feelings can help. Those with 4 have innate strength that can turn to stubbornness, because they view themselves, others, and the world as they “should” be. Like those with 2, those with 4 are so responsible they need to resign as “general managers of the universe.” Those with 4 benefit immensely from using a clear, step-bystep process to accomplish their goals. Practicing anything over time, or engaging in a construction project, can be immensely helpful. When they balance strength with flexibility, and analysis with intuition, and temper impulsiveness with patience and persistence, they establish stable foundations in their lives and relationships, and can accomplish great things.

5: Freedom

The 5 life path number represents freedom — a drive to experience many facets of life. Those working 5 are vivacious, quick-minded, multifaceted individuals who can see life from many angles, but their wide variety of interests can leave them scattered or burned out. Easily bored, they seek drama and excitement — or they create it. Most of these freedom-loving people favor new experience or adventure (direct or vicarious) over security or money in the bank. They have a powerful a drive to rescue others and to fight for the underdog. A notable challenge for those with 5 is a tendency to swing from dependence to independence — so they benefit from establishing interdependent relationships and healthy self-reliance in their own lives. Their key to freedom is discipline in the form of clear priorities and focus — digging one well one hundred feet deep rather than ten wells ten feet deep. Ultimately, in helping to liberate others, they find their own freedom.

6: Vision

The 6 life path number points to high ideals and standards of beauty, purity, justice, fairness, and authenticity. But idealism can lead to disappointment, since few people or situations live up to the initial expectations of those working 6. Disillusion is a big word for them, both in the negative sense of disappointment and in the positive sense of freedom from illusions — maturing into realism and a sense of perspective. In a group-learning environment, those with 6 tend to compare themselves to the most accomplished — and even if they do twenty things well, they tend to focus on a single mistake. Once they replace perfectionism with perspective, and learn to accept life as it is, they learn to celebrate their progress rather than obsess about so-called mistakes in the past. As those working 6 come to appreciate the innate perfection of life unfolding as it is, in its own good time, their strong sense of duty and commitment contributes to their vision of a better world.

7: Trust

The 7 life path number centers around issues of trust — of self, others, and life unfolding. The 7 is an introspective, insightful energy, and those working it possess incisive minds that can read between the lines.  and researchers (or hermits, despite a social persona), those with 7 favor and need solitude. Their private, suspicious, individualistic nature — and tendency to overshare or undershare what they’re thinking or feeling — can lead to misunderstandings, which they may view as betrayals. Those working 7 are here to learn to trust their own bodies, instincts, and sense of discernment rather than relying mostly on the guidance of books, experts, and the theories of others (including conspiracy theories). Otherwise clear and capable, they can refresh and revitalize their spirits out in the natural world, whether garden, beach, desert, or mountains. Once they learn to trust themselves, they finally establish trust with others through clear agreements — and achieve a relaxed openness in a world they can rely on.

8: Recognition

The 8 life path number involves drives, struggles, mixed feelings, and deep satisfaction in the realm of material success — work, money, influence, self-control, and authority. Those with 8 may deny (even to themselves) an innate drive for recognition and may resent displays of wealth, power, or authority in others. Whatever their grades in school, those with 8 have powerful, logical, and strategic minds that see the path ahead and the writing on the wall, but (like those with 4) they need to follow a diligent process of effort over time to reach their goals. Because those with 8 like to make the rules rather than follow them, they sometimes need strong lessons to break through their resistance to feedback. Accepting their place in the material realm puts them in touch with their personal power to manifest their goals if only they step forward and follow through. They evolve and fulfill their calling through productive enterprise — sometimes philanthropic or humanitarian causes — achieving material success in service of a higher good.

9: Integrity

The 9 life path number represents the one who leads the way — the wise man or woman whose life and example draw others to follow. However, this example of integrity and wisdom is achieved only after those working 9 overcome hurdles, learn the lessons of experience, and “get real.” They may be slow to gain wisdom, but when they do so, they can be a great resource for others. Due to their depth and charisma, those working 9 find themselves in positions of leadership. They will either become role models of integrity or will suffer the consequences. They may have friends and family yet feel lonely due to a tendency to live in their own world of mental concepts and ideas at odds with reality. They have strong opinions and are also acutely sensitive to the opinions of others. Only when they free themselves from the “god of opinion” can they hear the god or goddess of their heart and find the wisdom that is their birthright and destiny, demonstrating the true value of leadership as they help light the way for others.

Putting It All Together

This may be a good time to take a deep breath and let this information settle in. If you haven’t read The Life You Were Born to Live, it may take a little while to absorb these highlighted issues and qualities associated with the primary “life paths of potential” 1 through 9. Give yourself some time to explore how the descriptions may (or may not) apply to your past or present experience. All that follows is designed to further clarify the life path number information as it relates to the third purpose of life—your hidden calling and higher potential.

At this juncture it’s entirely possible that you relate to issues in most or all of the nine life path number categories: 1. We’ve all done something creative or felt insecure at times; 2. we’ve supported someone who took us for granted; 3. we’ve felt self-doubt or had trouble expressing ourselves; 4. we’ve felt impatient, stubborn, or confused or have acted impulsively; 5. we’ve desired independence or rooted for the underdog; 6. we’ve idealized someone who disappointed us or failed to meet our expectations; 7. we’ve needed alone time or felt betrayed; 8. we’ve wished to influence others or struggled with money; and 9. we’ve assumed a leadership role, had a slip of integrity, or needed a reality check.

I recognize many facets of the primary life path numbers in my own life as well, because all these issues are a part of the human experience. However, if each birth number were a suit of clothing, you might come to appreciate — after trying on different birth numbers (and related issues) — that your own birth number is indeed a better fit in expressing those strengths and challenges you have faced in the theater of your history and everyday life.

For example:
+ If you have 1 in your birth number
, you will feel (or have felt) a need to prove yourself, and feel most on track when your creative juice is flowing.

+ If you have 2 in your birth number, you will struggle (or have struggled) to balance giving with receiving, and feel most on track when your support is accepted and appreciated.

+ If you have 3 in your birth number, you will feel (or have felt) self-doubt and emotional sensitivity, and feel most on track when you find a receptive listener.

+ If you have 4 in your birth number, you will feel (or have felt) confused due to overanalysis, and feel most on track among family or other foundations in life.

+ If you have 5 in your birth number, you will feel (or have felt) both dependent and independent, and feel most on track in the adventure of service to others.

+ If you have 6 in your birth number, you will feel (or have felt) that you could have done better, and will feel most on track as you accept yourself and the world as it is.

+ If you have 7 in your birth number, you feel (or have felt) betrayed, and will feel most on track as you learn to trust your body, your mind, and your life.

+ If you have 8 in your birth number, you feel (or have felt) mixed emotions about money, fame, and authority, and will feel most on track as you gain recognition for excellent work in service of others.

+ If you have 9 in your birth number, you feel (or have felt) clear messages about integrity, and feel most on track when leading and guiding by your example.

Individual Differences, Shared Patterns

No two individuals are exactly alike, even if they share the same life path number. Even identical twins do not remain completely identical; they grow into unique personalities with their own interests. Factors including birth order, gender, family dynamics, and childhood experiences influence our choices and responses and help to shape our lives. No single tree on the planet is exactly like any other, yet we can accurately describe differences between redwoods and pines and birches.

Despite our individual differences, we humans also fall into recognizable patterns or life paths, each with common issues, potentials, and challenges. You’ll work through those shared issues in your own way, in your own time. And your life may look radically different from the life of someone else on the same life path if one of you is working through the issues in a more positive, constructive way, while the other animates the negative or destructive aspect.

Even though there are forty-five possible birth number combinations (e.g. 27/10 or 35/8, etc.) shared among many millions of people born from 1900 to the present, you can speak of your life path number as a personal path — because you will experience and respond to those issues in your own unique way. There’s ultimately no better or worse way to experience your life path. There’s only living and learning.

You may recognize both negative and positive elements in your life path number as you reflect, with patience and compassion, upon your struggles and progress. Note where you’ve been, where you are at the present time, and where you’re going — that is, who you’re becoming. As you do so, bear in mind the often-repeated story of a conversation between an elder Native American and his grandson after the boy had gotten into some trouble: The grandfather says, “Within each of us live two wolves — one kind, productive, and peaceful; the other cruel, destructive, and hurtful.”

“Which one is stronger inside me, Grandfather?” asks the boy.

“The one you feed,” answers the elder.

This is the freedom and power within you: You can choose whether to animate the negative possibilities of your life path number or to feed those more positive aspects as you mature and evolve through time in the school of life. This power of choice means it’s never too late to follow your life path where it leads — never too late to fully live the life you were born to live.

Fundamentals on Your Life Path

To deepen and reinforce your understanding, here are some of the basic premises of the Life-Purpose System that relate to your life path number.

First, your life path number(s) represent(s) the path you are here to ascend — it’s an uphill climb — so what you are here to do isn’t necessarily what comes easiest. In fact, your path brings special challenges as well as special potential. As you overcome the hurdles, you experience the benefits. This principle applies to every primary digit in anyone’s birth number.

For example, those with 1 in their life path number — especially those with a double 1 (such as 19/10 or 29/11) — have higher creative potential but also feel the challenge of insecurity more acutely. So they won’t always or immediately demonstrate creative flair or artistry; they may in fact show less creativity at first (or create in negative ways) until they overcome their insecurity and show the courage to be different, original, and to stand apart from the crowd.

An opposite example is also worth noting: My own life path number (26/8) does not contain the digit 1. This doesn’t mean I necessarily lack creativity; rather, it means that I don’t have the same sensitivities, challenges, or potential in this arena; that is, neither creativity nor insecurity is as central in my life as would be the case for people with 1 or double 1 in their birth number.

Second, as already noted, any life path number has both negative and positive poles — and, more than any other factor, whether you work more in positive or negative ways will shape the course of your life. (The reasons one person chooses to create a software application and a second person comes up with a software virus could fill another book.)

Third, no life path number is better (or worse) or easier (or more difficult) than any other; they are only different, each presenting distinct strengths and challenges.

This article on understanding your life path number is excerpted with permission from Dan Millman’s book, The Four Purposes of Life: Finding Meaning and Direction in a Changing World (New World Library).

About The Author

Dan Millman is a former world champion athlete, university coach, martial arts instructor, and college professor. After an intensive, twenty-year spiritual quest, Dan’s teaching found its form as the Peaceful Warrior’s Way, expressed fully in his books and lectures. His work continues to evolve over time, to meet the needs of a changing world. Dan’s thirteen books, including Way of the Peaceful Warrior, have inspired and informed millions of readers in 29 languages worldwide. The feature film, “Peaceful Warrior,” starring Nick Nolte, was adapted from Dan’s first book, based upon incidents from his life. Much of Dan’s time is devoted to writing and speaking. His keynotes, seminars, and workshops span the generations to influence men and women from all walks of life, including leaders in the fields of health, psychology, education, business, politics, sports, entertainment, and the arts. Visit his website