Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

Don’t Put a Label on Me!

Don’t Put a Label on Me. Don’t put me into a box and stick a label on it before you even get the chance to know me. I am not the same person I was when I was 20, 30, 40 years old. I am the sum total of my genetics, my upbringing, but also the books I read, the countries I traveled to, the ups and downs that came on my path. I can be reliable and predictable and also spontaneous and unpredictable. I respect people and choose not to worship them. I am a giver but I need to give myself enough time and space to advance my interests too. I am nice and lovely, but I can be dangerous too. Today I can decide to be as exuberant and as colorful as I want and tomorrow, I can decide to be as dull as the grey sky if I feel like it. I don’t gossip, but I read and write. I am all of that and more and a constant work-in-progress. So please, don’t put a label on me.

Don’t put a label on me. The problem with stereotypes.

Don’t put a label on me – Photo by Yarruta via freepik.com

A stereotype is defined as a simplification of reality, a rigid categorizing – and often discriminatory – representation. A stereotype is a fixed, overgeneralized belief about a particular group or class of people. By stereotyping, we infer that a person has a whole range of characteristics and abilities that we assume all members of that group have.

Stereotypes are like air, invisible but always present.

Unknown Author

For example, saying that women have no sense of direction, that girls suck at math or that football is a man’s sport, are stereotypes. Stereotypes can be positive or negative. Negative stereotypes about women and minority groups are easy to spot, more pernicious are the positive ones, such as men are not in touch with their emotions, black people are good athletes. They don’t seem so pernicious because their content is complementary, but stereotypes are bad even when they are good.

“The problem with stereotypes is not that they are untrue, but that they are incomplete. They make one story become the only story.”

Adichi Chimaamanda

Stereotypes can be linked to any type of cultural membership, such as nationality, religion, gender, race, or age, but it is important to note that there is a difference between cultural generalizations and stereotypes. Cultural generalizations allow us to understand the patterns of cultures to which one belongs (nation, age, gender, etc…) and it provides the basis on which one can understand other cultures. Cultural generalizations involve categorizing members of the same group as having similar characteristics. Generalizations are flexible and allow for the incorporation of new cultural information. They are a type of hypothesis or guess, of what we expect to encounter when we interact with a certain culture; and this is a good thing.

Generalization is a concept that is flexible and can subsequently lead to increased cultural awareness and thereby improve intercultural relationships. Generalizations become stereotypes when all members of a group are categorized as having the same characteristics. Stereotypes are typically inflexible and resistant to new information. They can, and often do lead to prejudice and intentional or unintentional discrimination. Cultural stereotypes do not allow for individual differences and interfere with efforts to understand an individual on a personal level.

Stereotypes make us lazy and encourage nonchalant judgment because we assume things about people based on stereotypes. It drives and nourishes racism, sexism, and all form of discrimination. I have a strong aversion to labels and being put into a box and I don’t allow people to do that to me. As soon as someone puts a label on you or throw you into a specific box, you lose your identity as a unique and free individual who may or may not fit into that stereotype, and who is free to be whoever they want to be.

Don’t put a label on me. The problem with being put into a box.

Don’t put a label on me – Photo by Yarruta via freepik.com

The problem with being put into a box with a label on it is that it considerably restricts your freedom to think and act the way you want. We are all unique and different from each other. What makes us different is not the color or our skin or our geography, it is the fact that there isn’t another person like us anywhere else. All around us, there are spheres of authority always dictating what we should do, how we should act, and what we ought not to do. Aside from the formal structure like laws, there are also informal powers dictating our actions lifestyles, speech, thought patterns, education, cultural upbringing, religion, politics, etc… This invisible current forces us to travel a certain path, act a certain way, and be a certain type of person. Much of our individualistic tendencies do not develop as freely as we think because we have to conform to societal expectations of ourselves and stay well within the groupthink model.

The next question you should ask yourself is who has an interest in putting people into a box and stick a label on it? People who seek power and control do thrive on sticking a label on you. Because it is easier to control people this way. Once you belong to a certain box you are expected to walk on a straight and narrow line. Venturing outside that path is frown upon. Dissenting views and actions are not allowed because dissent is being viewed as being disloyal to the group. Nowadays if your thoughts and ideas are not in line with the rest of the group you will have to face the new social media Thought Police, because the chance is you are going to get canceled and censored. From a difference of opinion, you can quickly move to fragments of intolerance to violent factions. And just like that you have a 1984-Dystopian-type of society where it is not very pleasant to live in and where Big Brother is watching you all the time with the Thought Police ready to storm in and take you away.

This phenomenon is very much into your face in the political arena, where everything is partisan, and where groupthink ideas are shoved down your throat. The ideas of the group are sacrosanct even if they go against your personal interest because the group knows what’s best for you. When you submit to the group you acquiesce to everything that the group asks you to do. You don’t have to use your ears, your mouth, or your brain anymore. The group tells you where to look and what to see. And if you dare to look the other way and start questioning things, they tell you what you are seeing is not what you are seeing and they proceed to interpret what is going on for you.

One way to free ourselves from the shackle of societal restrictions that impede the originality and flexibility of each person would be to develop our individualism and sense of freedom. Freedom of expression is the lifeblood and cornerstone of a free society, without the freedom to think and express ourselves freely, there is no free society. So, we’d better start thinking for ourselves quickly before it becomes illegal. Don’t get all romantic about your ideas or the ideas that the group promotes. You are not married to those ideas. Some ideas are good and others not so good. Stay free to adhere to the ideas that are congruent with your outlook in life and toss aside anything that makes you uncomfortable.

People should be able to stand for what they think is right. They should be able to fight for what is honorable and acceptable and they should have the freedom to reject what is slimy and unacceptable. The problem these days is that everyone believes that they hold the absolute truth of the matter; except that no one can legitimately claim to have such clarity of mind that they know the absolute truth. Truth is a very fluid concept, what’s true today may not be true tomorrow.

Things change all the time. It is perfectly fine to have strong convictions about this and that, but you should do this with humility. You should hold those convictions and make them contingent on whatever facts, data, arguments, life experience, etc… that come your way with the result that your original convictions can be shaken and made less potent.

You can stand your ground and be open-minded enough to seek common ground. And, don’t try to put a label on me, because I won’t let you.

Joanne Reed

And this my dear friend is your Quest.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Be Happy Self-Help

A Mother’s wish for her daughters

As a mother of two daughters, I was thinking recently about the most precious gifts I could give to them. Something useful and timeless, that they would cherish each and every day. After pondering on the subject for a little bit I came up with 3 gifts ideas in the form of a mother’s wish for her daughters:

1. Learn how to be courageous. You don’t have to be a hero. Just have the courage to be yourself.

2. Have a fighting spirit. When the going gets tough be tougher.

3. Learn to think for yourself.

From the confines of my Island (Ile de la Reunion), my youngest daughter and I had an amazing underwater photoshoot experience thanks to a scuba diver photographer by the name of Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving and an amazing dressmaker by the name of Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture. Those underwater photoshoots are not easy, Alizé got the gist of it fairly quickly. For me, it took a bit longer to get to grip with the technique of trying to look relaxed and not out of breath at the bottom of a pool, but managed eventually. The results are literally breath-taking. There are no tricks on those pictures, just Alizé and me, two amazing dresses, and a scuba diver photographer.

A mother’s wish for her daughters. Learn how to be courageous.

A mother’s wish for her daughters . Courage is the most important of all the virtues. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne & Alize Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Being courageous doesn’t mean that you have to do bold spectacular acts of bravery and become a hero. You don’t have to be a hero, just have the courage to be yourself. Courage can show up in a very quiet manner and in thousands of unexpected ways. Deciding not to fight can sometimes be as courageous as charging into battle. Forgiveness requires a lot of courage. Learning a new skill, starting a new business venture, stepping outside your comfort zone requires a lot of courage. Standing up to bullies and speaking your mind requires a fair dose of courage. Falling in love, letting your guards down can be an act of courage. Staying positive and upbeat when facing setbacks, ill-health, old age or even death requires a lot of courage.

Courage is the most important of all the virtues because, without courage, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.

Maya Angelou

The word courage originates from the Latin word Cor (Coeur in French and cuore in Italian) which means heart; in essence, it means ‘to act from one’s heart’. The etymology of the word indicates that when we act courageously, we are activating our inner power and strength which surfaces through our heart’s desire. Courage is the mental preparedness and ability to deal with difficulty, challenges, and sometimes seemingly impossible circumstances. It is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, intimidation, and other threats.

Courage is not a quality that you are born with. It is one that has to be cultivated and honed. Today we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds but being courageous does not necessarily entail doing something dramatic or astoundingly heroic, everyday living requires courage. So what is courage? There are many definitions of what courage is. Below are my favorite ones.

A mother’s wish for her daughters . Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. Photo featuring Joanne & Alize Reed. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Courage is not the absence of fear but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel fear, but he who conquers that fear.

Nelson Mandela

Success is never final failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.

John Wooden

The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.

Jim Hightower
A mother’s wish for her daughters . Every day living requires courage. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne & Alize Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

We all have varying degrees of courage. Finding courage can be the choice we make every day, often in the quietest of ways. There is great courage in living life to the fullest, living with authenticity and a sense of alignment with one’s most deeply held values. And sometimes, simply getting up every day and putting a foot in front of another is an act of immense courage.

Barbara Bonner

As Maya Angelou rightly said courage is a virtue and it is the most important one to cultivate because without it you cannot practice any of the other virtues consistently. When we work to develop courage, we both empower ourselves with the ability to confront problems head-on, as well as acquire the skills required to deal with life’s inevitable challenges.

And this my dear daughters is Your Quest. Be courageous.

A mother’s wish for her daughters. Have a fighting spirit. When the going gets tough, be tougher.

We live every day with the knowledge of our staggering fragility, and we know how physiologically vulnerable our body and mind can be. We are aware that terrible outcomes are always possible and often probable. Your Quest as a human being is to protect yourself against the danger of losing your life but also against the danger of losing your mind. When the going gets tough, be tougher. Have a fighting spirit but choose your battles carefully. Some fights are worth fighting and others aren’t.

A mother’s wish for her daughters . Have a fighting spirit. Focus on your goal quietly and silently. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Alize Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Choose wisely which pursuits you spend your energies on. Do not waste your efforts on those that will not give you something positive in return. Be determined and independent. If at first, you don’t succeed, try again until you make it. It’s OK not to get it right the first time, so don’t let your failures prevent you from achieving your dreams. Focus on your goals, quietly and silently. And then when the time is right, trust your instincts, take action with swiftness and confidence. Be observant of people and your surroundings. Balance all the possibilities before you make a huge decision and act swiftly when required.

When the going gets tough, be tougher. Sure thing, but how? You can become tougher by removal. The solution to many problems in life is solved by removal, not by addition. Living a healthy life is more about removing sugar, processed food, and unhealthy snacks from our diet. Similarly, people become wealthy by reducing their exposure to going bust. Professional athletes win games by removing mistakes. You can become tougher by optionality. The more options you have, the more freedom you have to respond to unforeseen circumstances, thus reducing your fragility to unexpected events. If you have optionality you don’t need to be right that often. All you need is the wisdom not to do things that will hurt yourself and to be able to recognize favorable outcomes when they arise. You can become tougher through trials and errors. Try new things and find out through a process of trials and errors what works and what doesn’t. If an idea doesn’t work, make it fail quickly then move on to the next one. Play safe in some areas of your life and take some risks in others.

And this my dear daughters is Your Quest. Have a fighting spirit and when the going gets tough get tougher.

A mother’s wish for her daughters. Think for yourself.

A mother’s wish for her daughters . Think for yourself. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne & Alize Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Thinking is difficult, that is why most people judge.

Carl Jung

Before you assume, learn the fact. Before you judge, understand why. Before you hurt someone, feel. Before you speak, think. Thinking is part of what makes us human. What differentiates humans from animals is our cognitive abilities such as fully developed language, reasoning capabilities, and the ability to make plans for the future. We are all born with the capacity to think, but not everyone is capable of critical thinking, and it is a skill that needs to be learned and practiced with discipline. We all think of ourselves as rational, strategic creatures, but in reality, humans are deeply irrational and are often governed by emotion rather than logic.

Moreover, we have a tendency to operate within our own echo chamber, where the only information that goes through our brain is information that validates our prior knowledge, vindicates our prior decisions, or sustains our existing beliefs. You should get into the habit from time to time of walking down the road less traveled, the one taken by critical thinkers. If you decide to walk down that road, it will require that you possess a certain fluidity of mind, some discipline, and be driven by the will to get to the truth of the matter rather than the urge to be righteous no matter what.

A mother’s wish for her daughters. Critical thinking helps you determine what’s real and what it is not. Photo by Thierry Nikolaeff @terydiving featuring Joanne & Alize Reed. Dress by Nathalie Pezzotta-Davranche @lartisanecouture.

Critical thinking means many things, but at heart, it is a search for the truth. Critical thinking helps you determine what is real and what it is not. But before you are able to exercise your cognitive ability to think critically, you need to have a certain base of knowledge as a starting point. You can only think critically about things you have knowledge of, you can’t really think deeply if you haven’t spent time mastering a body of knowledge related to that thinking.

The problem these days is that we are living in a world of information overload, data about almost everything is available to all who wish to access it at the click of a button. We are constantly bombarded by a steady stream of information (sometimes misinformation, exaggerations, and mischaracterizations) about a whole range of subject matters, making it very difficult to know what and who to believe. Critical thinking is important because you need this skill in order to navigate your way through all the information, misinformation, and disinformation that is being served to all of us on a daily basis on all media platforms.

Do not relinquish your power to think critically on someone else even if that person goes by the name of Expert. It is important to note that society needs experts because those people know a thing or two about their own area of expertise, they are specialized in their field and are being paid to share their knowledge, wisdom, and experience with the world at large. Having said that, whenever you decide to ask an expert for his advice on a particular matter, I suggest you put your critical thinking hat on to ensure that you fully understand the advice you are being given, the scope and limitations of the adviser’s expertise, his or her ability to see the problem in its proper context, the possibility that these experts may be subject to bias and in the worst-case scenario, the possibility that the expert may be wrong. History is full of anecdotes showing that even the experts can be wrong.

Trying to nail down the authenticity of anything and verify our knowledge about the world is a tall order. We expect Facebook, Twitter TikTok, and Google to filter the truth for us rather than putting in the hard work to do some thinking for ourselves. The problem these days is that the media is trying to spin everything you see and everything you hear. White is black and black is white. Use your discernment, look out for inconsistencies, trust your instinct. Don’t accept things at face value, ask questions, look under the surface, lift the veil.

And this my dear daughters is Your Quest. , think for yourself.

Personal Note

DDI Chat – Personal Growth – One-to-one Chat with Joanne Reed

In addition to publishing my articles on my website, I have also been publishing on Medium. I have been working closely for the past months with Data-Driven Investor (DDI) Publication.  DDI has recently launched a new marketplace/platform where people can book a paid one-to-one session with an expert of their choice.  DDI asked me to join their panel of advisors/experts in the Leadership, Coaching, and Personal Growth category.  Here is my profile. If you wish to book a one-to-one chat with me you can do so on this platform.

For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com

Categories
Self-Help

Learn How to Be Courageous. Watch the Lions, the Tigers and the Bears

Learn how to be courageous. Watch the lions, the tigers and the bears. What is Courage?

“Courage is the most important of all the virtues because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently”. Maya Angelou.

We can learn how to be courageous by watching the lions, the tigers and the bears. The word ‘courage’ originates from the Latin word cor (Coeur in French and cuore in Italian) which means heart; in essence, it means ‘to act from one’s heart’. The etymology of the word indicates that when we act courageously, we are activating our inner power and strength which surfaces through our heart’s desire. Courage is the mental preparedness and ability to deal with difficulty, challenges, and sometimes seemingly impossible circumstances. It is the ability to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, intimidation, and other threats.

Courage is not a quality that you are born with. It is one that has to be cultivated and honed. Today we typically associate courage with heroic and brave deeds but being courageous does not necessarily entail doing something dramatic or astoundingly heroic, everyday living requires courage.

So, what is courage? There are many definitions out there of what courage is. Below are my favorite ones.

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel fear, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela

“Deep down in the human spirit, there is a reservoir of courage. It is always available, always waiting to be discovered.” Pema Chodron.

“Courage is a special kind of knowledge: The knowledge of how to fear what ought to be feared and how not to fear what ought not to be feared.” David Ben-Gurion.

“The opposite of courage is not cowardice, it is conformity. Even a dead fish can go with the flow.” Jim Hightower.

“Success is never final; failure is never fatal. It’s courage that counts.” John Wooden.

“We all have varying degrees of courage. Finding courage can be a choice we make every day, often in the quietest of ways. There is great courage in living life to the fullest, living with authenticity and a sense of alignment with one’s most deeply held values. And sometimes, simply getting up every day and putting one foot in front of another is an act of immense courage.” Barbara Bonner.

As Maya Angelou rightly said courage is a virtue and it is the most important one to cultivate because without it you cannot practice any of the other virtues consistently. When we work to develop courage, we both empower ourselves with the ability to confront problems head-on, as well as acquire the skills required to deal with life’s inevitable challenges.

Be Courageous. Native American Woman. Photo by @freepk via freepik.com

In certain cultures, including in the Native American culture, there is a belief that our spirit guides accompany us during our life journey and those spirit guides include animals. A spirit animal acts as a teacher or messenger that comes in the form of an animal; it is believed that you do not choose the animal, rather the animal chooses you and is there to provide guidance, lessons, protection, power, or wisdom. You can have one or several spirit animals throughout your lifetime. They can come in and out of your lives to give you guidance, teach you about yourselves, and help you maintain balance. A spirit animal can bring you a message in several ways. You can physically cross paths with the animal, you can dream about it, see representations of the animal when you are out and about or it can come to you in your meditations. Your spirit animal often represents qualities and attributes that you may see in yourself.

To help us learn how to be courageous, I called upon the animal world and asked the lion, tiger, and bear to teach us a thing or two about courage.

Learn how to be courageous, watch the lion.

Learn how to be courageous wacth the lion. Photo by@freepik via freepik.com

The lion is the king of the jungle, it epitomizes courage and is universally known as the symbol of strength, true leadership, and a commanding presence that cannot be easily intimidated. If the lion spirit animal makes you aware of its presence, it will give you the strength you need to face and overcome hurdles in your life; it will also teach you how to harness your fear, anger, and wild emotions. The lion animal spirit urges you to move forward with courage and decisiveness and push through life, no matter what.

With the lion animal spirit by your side, you will learn to choose your battles carefully. Some fights are worth fighting for and others aren’t, but taking care of the weak and vulnerable is always worth it. Lion people are very protective of their tribe and will spend considerable effort training their young to take care of themselves. For this reason, lion people are readily recognized as a leader and protector.

Learn how to be courageous, watch the tiger

Learn how to be courageous watch the tiger. Photo by@freepik via freepik.com.

Tiger symbolism is most commonly associated with strength and courage, as well as determination and independence. Tigers travel great distances, but they also spend much of their time resting and saving their energies. Choose wisely which pursuits you spend your energies on. Do not waste your efforts on those that will not give you something positive in return.

The tiger animal spirit also wants you to be determined and independent. If at first, you don’t succeed, try again until you make it. It’s OK not to get it right the first time, so don’t let your failures prevent you from achieving your dreams.

The tiger animal spirit is silent and solitary and thrives when there are no distractions. Its focus becomes more laser-sharp, and the silence makes it easier to spot any kind of movement nearby. Do not come rushing and roaring at your targets because this is the easiest way you can lose them from your grasp. Take a step back and think of the best approach. Sometimes to be successful in life, you need to forgo speed and aggression; slow down, listen closely, and wait for the perfect timing, no matter how long it takes.

When the tiger animal spirit makes you aware of its presence, it will teach you to focus on your goals, quietly and silently. And then when the time is right, trust your instincts, take action with swiftness and confidence. Persistence, patience, and hard work will lead you to success. Balance all the possibilities before you make a huge decision and act swiftly when required. Rely on your personal strength when you need motivation, determination, or courage.

With the tiger as your animal spirit, people can trust you to be calm and collected. You are very observant when it comes to people and your surroundings, which makes you wise and perceptive.

Learn how to be courageous, watch the bear

Learn how to be courageous , watch the bear. Photo by@freepik via freepik.com

The bear is emblematic of grounding forces and strength. This animal spirit gives those who need it the courage to stand up against adversity. The spirit of the bear is a strong source of support in times of difficulty. When the bear shows up as a spirit guide in your life, it’s perhaps time to stand for your beliefs or your truth. Bears symbolize warrior spirit and courage to fight and would be invoked to help the warriors in the battle.

With a bear animal spirit at your side, you will learn the art of being patient and will learn to wait for just the right moment to manifest your ideas and projects. Moreover, you will have a great deal of confidence in who you are and where you are going in life.

The bear is an animal that lives a solitary life. Having a bear as a spirit animal can mean that you find balance and comfort in solitude. The presence of this animal could point to the need to “regroup” and set up boundaries, so you feel comfortable in your own space, where you can re-energize yourself in order to come back stronger than ever.

Be courageous, wake-up, dress-up, and show-up.

Being courageous doesn’t mean that you have to do bold spectacular acts of bravery and become a hero. Courage can show-up in a very quiet manner and in thousands of unexpected ways. Deciding not to fight can sometimes be as courageous as charging into battle. Forgiveness requires a lot of courage. Learning a new skill, starting a new business venture, stepping outside your comfort zone requires a lot of courage. Standing-up to bullies and speaking your mind require a fair dose of courage. Falling in love, letting your guards down can be an act of courage. Staying positive and upbeat when facing setbacks, ill-health, old age or even death requires a lot of courage.

And this my dear friend is your Quest. Be courageous.

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For more on this subject you can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble.  The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com.

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Categories
Self-Help

How to Find Meaning in Life? The Secret is Revealed…

How to find meaning in life? Engage in worthwhile pursuits

Finding meaning in life has always been of paramount importance. Human beings have contemplated their existence since the beginning of times.  The primary focus of our ancestors was to find food (preferably without being killed in the process), find shelter, and a community to interact with. Fast forward to our modern era, with our basic needs taken care of, our main focus has become trying to find meaning in life.

The feeling that one’s life has meaning can come from any number of things, such as committing ourselves to the pursuit of academic knowledge, focusing on doing our job to the best of our ability, committing ourselves to help others by doing some volunteer work or dedicating ourselves to raising a family. All of these are examples of worthwhile pursuits, but the important point is that the actual purpose does not really matter. What matters a great deal more is that there is a purpose.

How to find meaning in life? The possibilities are endless

“Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it because you can’t ever really know the meaning of your life. And you don’t need to. The only thing you need to know is that every life has meaning, whether it lasts one hundred years or one hundred seconds. Every life changes the world in its own way. So, don’t take it for granted. But don’t take it too seriously either. Don’t postpone what you want. Don’t leave anything misunderstood. Make sure the people you care about know you care about them.”

Mahatma Ghandi

Life can be hard and finding contentment and meaning in what you do can help you withstand the innumerable hardships of existence. A 2019 study conducted by the University College London revealed that feeling your life is worthwhile could have a positive impact on your physical and mental health and also influence your economic and social standing. Ultimately, the pursuit of happiness and finding your life purpose goes hand in hand.

How to find meaning in life? Go on a road trip

“So many of our dreams at first seem impossible, then they seem improbable, and then when we summon the will, they soon become inevitable.”

Christopher Reeve
How to find meaning in life? Go on a road trip

Why do so many people fail to achieve their dreams? There could be many valid reasons, but failing to achieve your dream because it is going to be hard is not a good reason. Nothing is easy, so expect some pain and consider the possibility that sometimes hurdles come your way to test your resolve, teach you some lessons and build your resilience.

Imagine you are in your car on your way to Pleasant Ville which represents your ultimate dream destination. You put in the coordinates and drive along quite happily until you realize you are going in the wrong direction after taking a wrong turn. There is no need to panic, the GPS will re-direct you to Pleasant Ville, albeit using a different route. This little detour cost you some time, but you are now more focused on the road, determined not to take another wrong turn or to miss the next exit. You are getting closer to your destination and will get there as long as you stay focused.

How to find meaning in life? It depends what type of driver you are

Now, imagine that you are sharing the road with three other drivers and you all want to go to Pleasant Ville.  Driver 1 is the fast-and-furious type who starts his engine and immediately speeds-off, impatient to get to his destination as quickly as possible. But, after taking a wrong turn and finding himself in the wrong place, Driver 1 is now annoyed, discouraged and disheartened by losing his early lead (who said that this was a race anyway). Driver 1 returns home feeling defeated.

Driver 2 is the are-we-there-yet-type of driver who drives around not paying attention to hid GPS and turns around in circles thinking are we there yet? Driver 2 eventually gets disheartened by driving around in circles not knowing where he is going. He also returns home feeling defeated.

Driver 3 is the zig-zag-type of driver. Before arriving at his destination Driver 3 decides that a different place is better than where he was originally going, so he changes the coordinates again and again, never arriving anywhere.

How to find meaning in life? Road Trip gone bad?!

Driver 4 is the smart-and-steady-type: focused, and patient, he pays attention to the road, and doesn’t fret if he takes a wrong turn, because it doesn’t matter which road you take, there is rarely only a single road that leads to your destination. Eventually, driver 4 arrives to Pleasant Ville and when he gets there, he realizes that it was worth all the time, effort, sweat and tears and rejoices in the happiness of the moment.

I know what type of driver I want to emulate. Which one are you?

Where to find meaning in life?

You will not find your life purpose delivered to your doorstep and waiting for you inside a box wrapped with a nice pink ribbon. You will have to go out to find it, it could be hidden underneath a rock or hidden deep inside you, and it will take some effort and some courage to unearth. In this situation, think of yourself as an explorer.

Explorers are a special type of human being. They have physical endurance, mental toughness, abundant determination and willpower, a deep feeling of purpose, they have faith in their pursuit and live everyday with the conviction of their Quest. For more on this fascinating subject, check out this video below and follow me in the footsteps of some modern-day explorers.

Modern-day Explorers, Adventurers and Travelers – Chapter 2 of “This is Your Quest”

And this, my Dear Companion, is Your Quest!

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