Yesterday I wrote about what sober people do on weekends. It was a great post and all, however I forgot to include the big point I had been planning all day. In a way this is even better since the topic deserves its own story.
So in continuation with the thought “understanding it is what you want experience and doing it.”
Personally I noticed a few years ago, when reading and reflecting my journals I noted that most gratifying feelings and emotions have come to me through collaboration for a greater good. All the defining experiences had required me to step out of my comfort zone and take a leap in to the unknown.
Furthermore I contemplated the possibilities to experience such emotions and feelings again and got involved into more exciting projects. This method of understanding what I want to experience became sort of guiding light in my life: it helps to spot the right kind of opportunities.
However I want to make a distinction here between ‘I want ice-cream’ cravings and identifying the kind of emotions you want to experience. The latter is much more well connected with values, mission, vision and purpose in life.
Feelings and emotions of the experience are still the consequence of the action, and if the only motivation is to feel good, then that kind of motivation is unlikely to produce much returns. Action aligned with purpose on the other hand produces much more greater yields.
How and where to find purpose?
Purpose can be a tricky to clarify for oneself, and I’ve failed too after unsatisfactory attempts. Victor Frank, the father of logotheraphy and the author of Man’s Search for Meaning says in the book that we need to seek the purpose of life in that which we can do in the circumstances of each moment, instead of contemplating on meaning of life.
He quotes Nietzsche’s words, “He who has a why to live for can bear with almost any how.”
Here I see a very powerful connection, between our motivation to do things and ability to withstand hard work. The strength of our purpose determines how much, how long and under what conditions we are willing to work and live. Greater the suffering, the longer we will prevail with a strong purpose. Victor Frankl himself lost everything at the Nazi concentration camps, and he survived against the odds of 1 to 27. His purpose was for the greater good of the humanity, and there is no stronger purpose than that. He was truly wise from far away and, despite losing everything, he still prevailed through the most extreme suffering and hardship.
The lesson we can learn from Victor Frankl, is that we shouldn’t bother too much contemplating on the meaning of life. Rather we should think in what ways we can be use for others? What can we do for others?
More people we get to serve, the stronger our purpose becomes.
In my personal life, I am still living out quite tiny purpose in example just by going extra mile and doing chores and small household work that will make me and my girlfriends life easier in the future, is easier to do when it’s for both our sakes. If I would just think it out of my own perspective I would get lazy and focus to others things, when I include the perspective of another, it becomes easy to start the work and my actions have meaning.
Another example could be at the work place. There are myriad of big and small things that someone needs to be responsible of, that someone could be you? I’ve a personal rule when at work or any other public place to leave the place in same condition or cleaner, and often times I choose the cleaner.
At best opportunities to take action will present itself, then we just have to be awake to see and take action. These are the random strangers who run after you after you drop something, or just to help them to lift the baby carriage through a stairs.
It’s about finding actions that you can do, you are willing to do for others and you have a purpose.
Furthermore if we dig to the topic of purpose deeper, we will find that once we are purpose and it’s connected to lives of others, we will find that it will create a positive response. Our minds like positive response, so we become happy.
Connection between purpose and happiness
So action for others is connected to purpose and happiness. On his Google talk Neil Pasricha author of the “The Happiness Equation” shares five actions that the research has found helpful in cultivating happiness in our lives:
- Three twenty minute walks a week
- Twenty minute journaling. Through journaling we will replay especially the good things and every time we go back to read them as well.
- Do five random acts of kindness, this will create a narrative to strengthen positive self-image.
- Find five things you are grateful for in a week
Happiness in life can be deducted into right action. Coincidentally right action is the fourth factor in the Buddhist noble eightfold path.
In the debate, whatever happiness follows success or success happiness is irrelevant, because they both are wrong. Why even fixate to success, if you can just have two inseparable things in the cycle: action and happiness. We need develop our minds (i.e. in accordance to the noble eightfold path or the five actions mentioned above), so that we may take right action each moment.
Our purpose in life is thus to develop ourselves, so that way may benefit as many people as possible through the right action.
Thank you for reading, I really appreciate that you spend a moment of your precious time!
Thanks Unsplash @Pixabay for the great picture!