“The desire for a feeling of importance is one of the chief distinguishing differences between mankind and the animals”.
Living a meaningful life is a duty, not a choice. As humans, we have the power to live a life that matters. Our ability to cooperate empowers us to act with a purpose. This collective quality goes hand in hand with the desire to be important and experience life beyond oneself. Equally, it is the emotional trigger to move forward in times of uncertainties and challenges. As the most adaptive species, we can overcome hurdles and build bridges when we are on edge. Our flexibility and conscious of acting towards a common goal are what makes us human.
Still, there are times that we lose our inner-drive; the ordinary aspects of life blur our visions and our aspirations. These moments may happen when we are overwhelmed with indecisiveness or are faced with stressful situations, so we lack interest or excitement. Our world becomes mundane, and our life visions a far-flung dot in the sky. So how do we get a grip on these unproductive emotions? I’ve learned that purpose, motivation, and momentum are the three powerful forces that will help us tackle difficult times and tasks.
Everyone has a purpose in life and a unique talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals.
Purpose: Know or remember the purpose of your life vision. Some people will state that passion is the key driver; however, not everyone has a fully developed one. Besides, passion is an outlet for emotion and, most notably, not the leading force in our life. University of California Berkeley Professor Morten Hansen surveyed 5,000 employees and managers to understand the make up of star performers. He examined the relationship between passion and purpose and concluded that people perform better when tied to a goal, such as making a substantial contribution to society. He further explains the difference between purpose and passion. The purpose is defined as a sense that you contribute to others that your work has a broader meaning. Passion is the feeling of enthusiasm and excitement you have about your work. He grouped employees into categories, and the shocking finding was that employees who were passionate about their work were poor performers if they were not clear about the purpose. The purpose is the fuel, and a purpose-driven approach, from mission statements, philanthropy to corporate social responsibilities, the root of living a meaningful life.
What does it mean, and what kind of questions lead to define or re-create our purpose? Inquiring into our intentions, examining our beliefs in the steady and positive betterment of humankind, and considering our contribution to collective progress is definitely on top of the checklist that empowers us to experience a meaningful life.
“It’s time you realized that you have something in you more powerful and miraculous than the things that affect you and make you dance like a puppet.”
Motivation: Several theories explain motivation and how it is initiated and guided. Some people are driven by intrinsic and some with extrinsic motivation. However, many people are more inclined to act by the former. They care about satisfaction rather than reward. Essentially, one of the pillars of intrinsic motivation is to align your stimulus with a higher purpose. Since fulfillment developed by self-growth and expanding our horizon to matter and make a difference is in our DNA.
One way to keep momentum going is to have constantly greater goals.
– Michael Korda
Momentum! Go forward, even if you lack the passion, but you have a vision also if it might not clear. Whether you are performing in a contest or a task, momentum expands your mental focus and physical efforts initiating an action. In turn, the act creates results. When you are on a roll, the synergy between the motion and our perceived capabilities enables us to perform with confidence and efficiency. For example, a chore as mundane as ironing a pile of clothes when is 2/3 done, we realize that we have the strength to complete the task. The same perception applies in our professional life. Therefore, our competence, the span of our movement and the continuous efforts will encourage us to perform remarkably.
The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.
― Barack Obama
Understanding and revisiting our desires and goals, acknowledging our need to feel important, eyeing for the progress, and keep the ball rolling is like personal hygiene; they must be looked after with care and regularly.
Featured image – Painting “Nude Youth sitting by the sea” was made by Hippolyte Flandrin, Ingres’ student. Louvre