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Purpose Archives - Page 3 of 11 - The Meaning Movement

Category "Purpose"

How to Find This Year’s Theme

- - Goals, Inspiration, Purpose, Tools

A good friend of mine always chooses a theme for his coming year. He bases his theme choice on a combination of what he learned from his last year, what he hopes for the coming year, and the practical details of what’s ahead.

Back in college when he first told me about how he did this, I didn’t think too much of it. More recently, my friend Lacy from A Sacred Journey has been a consistent advocate for choosing a word (and all things related to intentional and spiritual living— see her post about her word for this year here). Over the years the idea has grown on me. Sometimes I’ve felt like I want a theme for my year but don’t know what it should be. Other years I haven’t felt the need for a theme. Still others it’s felt like there’s an obvious choice.

This year for me is the later. There’s one thing that is on my horizon. It’s as if everything that I’m pursuing passes through it.

But before I tell you what it is, I want to offer some ideas for you to think through as you consider what your theme might be.

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How Responsibility Helps You Find Purpose in Life

I have a confession.

As you may know, I had a crazy health issue last fall that sent me into emergency surgery and a lot of nights in the hospital (it was a Volvulus if you really want to know).

Here’s the confession: after the surgery, when I knew I was going to be alright and I was laid up in the hospital, I felt this weird sense of relief. One part of this was the relief that I had made it through surgery and that I was going to be ok eventually— that’s no surprise.

The surprise was the other part of the relief— the part that is embarrassing to admit: Continue Reading

How to Find Your Breaking Point

You know the saying about the straw that broke the camel’s back. It’s used when things add up to more than a person can take. It often refers to negative events stacking up; inevitably there’s one that pushes things beyond capacity— “the straw”.

It’s when you reach the tipping point and just cannot take it any more.

Things fall apart.

I recently read about how our breaking point is further away than we usually predict. A helpful measure of your capacity for hard things is to know that when you reach the moment when you feel like you can’t take it any more, you’re only 40% done.

So when you feel like you can’t run another mile, you may have a few miles left. Or when life falls apart and you think you can’t go on, you likely have a lot more to give.

Here’s what this means: when things get tough, there’s a time to stay the course and there’s a time to quit.
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An Agile Approach to Life and Career Planning

You can’t plan your whole life out. It’s just not possible.

In his book Stumbling on Happiness, author Daniel Gilbert makes the point again and again that humans are consistently bad at predicting what will make us happy.

Isn’t that funny? We’re simply bad at anticipating in the present what we’ll want and what will make us happy in the future.

So even if you could plan out your entire life without any unexpected twists and turns, you’d have created a stagnant map to a moving target.

This is something I keep coming back to when it when it comes to career planning and your life’s work. For most people, your life’s work doesn’t change very much, but what will change is how you go about making that impact. You can say that your work is about helping people in a certain way, but you can’t necessarily be sure how you’ll go about doing that work 10 years from now.

Some of the difficulty in predicting and career planning is that at this moment you only know what’s possible at this very moment. Possibilities open and close in sets. What’s available and even imaginable to you right now is based on where you are and what you’ve been exposed to.

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The Psychological Necessity of Breaking the Rules

“We see you as an artist,” he said. His hair was long, thick, and wavy. His face thin and defined. His gaze intense and gentle.

Sixteen of us sat around a big solid wooden table, eating a meal together. We were all part of an Artist Residency at the graduate school I attended.

Somehow I ended up among them.

I didn’t think of myself as an artist. Though I studied music composition in undergrad, I always felt a bit like I was faking it— everyone else had a much greater mastery of their instruments and musical concepts.

I thought my main focus for the week of the Artist Residency was going to be writing music. It turns out it was something much deeper.

His words to me around that table were part of shift in how I thought of myself. It may seem small from the outside, but on the inside it was big. And risky.

I didn’t spend time around artists in my younger years. My family didn’t have a category for them. None of us were artists. In fact, I don’t know that I could find a single artist in my family tree.

We’d go to art events, but there was always a sense that those people weren’t our people. They were misunderstood and called “artsy-fartsy”.

Artists may make pretty things, but they didn’t seem to belong in our family.

It wasn’t until I was in my mid twenties that I began to embrace the fact that I really am a creative at heart, and that making is a big part of who I am.
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