“Purpose Junkies” …

Age and Life - Leider - Morguefile.com.png

Thoughts around my continuing exploration of the dual themes of our life purpose and positive aging …

I was struck by this quotation from The Power of Purpose: Find Meaning, Live Longer, Better by Richard Leider.  Okay, honestly speaking, I am struck by something on almost every page of this excellent little book.

I suppose one can say that some of us are Purpose Junkies, people who are on a continual quest for our meaning in life and trying to discern what we should do.  

Some say that this is navel-gazing taken to the extreme, while others dismiss our attempts to discover self by pointing out that we need to “get out into the real world, where things are dirty and brutal.  Just get a job and do it until you have enough money to not have to do it any more … Quit your whining” or similar.


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Discovering Purpose …

3 Ways to Discover Meaning - Frankl - Morguefile.com

I really like it when two people who I admire and learn from appear in the same context …

The  quotation by Viktor Frankl introduces chapter 6 of The Power of Purpose: Find Meaning, Live Longer, Better by Richard J. Leider.  The chapter goes on to explore the power of the stories we tell about ourselves and our lives, and focuses on the three ways named by Frankl as how we come to our stories.  

How we come to our stories is how we identify and claim our purpose.

Doing Something ….

Doing something in this context includes two specific elements:  Personal engagement and not keeping score, according to Leider.  We can do a thing, but if we are doing it out of a sense of duty rather an emotional desire to fill a need, the thing we do may not help us clarify our purpose.

In similar fashion, something done in order to be seen as worthy or to up our “score” socially, may actually “reduce our sense of contentment” (Leider, p. 57) , rather than increase it.

I often do things, but am doing them in order to have others think better of me … this is a subtle form of keeping score.  It’s what I do when nobody is watching that is important. Continue reading

Revisiting and Revising …

Revisiting - Leider quotation

Continuing  with my exploration of the themes and concepts in The Power of Purpose:  Find Meaning, Live Longer, Better by Richard J. Leider.  Earlier this week, I kicked around the idea of Loyalty as it relates to our life purpose.  Today I am thinking more about revisiting past decisions and choices.

Many cultural memes point to this, from the saying about never being able to dip your foot into the same river again to 1 Corinthians, 13 where we are reminded that we  act and speak differently as children than when we are older and hopefully somewhat wiser.  That last part is up for discussion.

“There is wisdom in revisiting the questions that we think we already know how to answer.  Our answers change at different phases of our lives and with changing life circumstances.”

Richard J. Leider in The Power of Purpose (p. 7)

Our youthful choices and perceptions are often tinged with naive optimism about both the world we are discovering and our own ability to affect that world.  This is why revolution is best left to those young enough to act, in spite of the reality in front of them.  For example, Benjamin Franklin, a respected 81 years old at the signing of the Constitution establishing the United States, was by 15 years the oldest.  Many of the other signers were much younger, in their twenties, thirties, and forties.

I was very optimistic as a young man in college and the early part of my work history.  I found that many things appeared possible and I behaved accordingly.  While this is not necessarily a bad thing, I look back on my youthful misperceptions around questions of how to approach work, how to lead others best, and who to associate with … and shake my head with a rueful expression. Continue reading

Why Ask “Why”? …

Why is a dangerous question

Well, the first response to the title might be “Why Not?”, but we need to go deeper.  I think many of us are searching these days, although not for the same reasons or with the same goals …

We are not at the beginning of our careers, relationships, or life, but somewhere in the middle of all this.  We have accomplished things, experienced life, created memories, and learned a bit about ourselves and how we are. 

Now we wonder, for a variety of reasons and with consideration of our individual backgrounds, history, experiences, attitudes, beliefs, and so on … 


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