Meaning and Purpose: A Navigation Map
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” Viktor Frankl
This is the third part of a five-part series of blogs about what is meant by finding a sense of meaning and purpose in one’s life. The first article looked at the importance of finding ways to uncover a sense of awe, perhaps through experiencing nature both first hand or even by watching videos and how research has shown that a sense of awe can make us feel more connected to others and make us behave more benevolently towards others.
The second article looked at the work of Viktor Frankl who was able to find meaning even in the misery and brutality of a WW2 concentration camp.
The next few articles will take you through a simple process that can help you to discover your true mission and purpose in life, based on an exercise contained in the recently published book Forward Focussed Trauma Therapy by J. Eric Gentry. I have used this both for myself and for many of my clients and the results are often quite illuminating. The end of a year, looking ahead to the New Year, is the ideal time to do this exercise.
So when you are able, take some time out for yourself, make a cup of tea and settle down with paper and pen. There is no need for perfect spelling or perfect grammar, just a willingness to be honest with yourself. Keep your writings and make changes as time goes on – this is an ongoing organic process:
The North Star – a Navigation Map
For thousands of years humans have used the North Star to determine their location and the direction home. We need to be able to know our inner “true north” – our core values, mission and beliefs.
Think about (but don’t overthink!)and then take a few minutes to consider the following questions:
What is your purpose on this planet? Why are you here? What unique talents and perspectives do you bring to this life? What would make your life truly worthwhile, not only for yourself but for those around you? Who is your best self (if you were free of the shackles of fear, anger, stress and if you could fully express your talents and creativity?)What role would you play in helping others to become their best selves?
Now putting pen to paper, answer the following questions:
Part 1: Why are you alive? What is your purpose for living on this planet? (a few short sentences)
Part 2: What do you want to be when you “grow up”? J
Part 3: What dreams do you have for yourself that are, as yet, unfulfilled?
Part 4: What is REALLY important to you?
Part 5: What are your greatest strengths?
Read over what you have written and circle the 3-5 responses you feel are the most accurate and meaningful to you. What do they tell you about yourself? How well does your current life match up with the mission you’d formulate if your life was stress-free?
My next 2 articles will show you how to complete this exercise.
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