The creator of logotherapy – Victor Frankl – during World War II hypothesized that “people who realize their life’s purpose can survive, whereas people without it die.” His lessons are covered in the classic Man’s Search for Meaning, which is a great read for anyone looking to learn about what it means to have true meaning inlife.
Obviously, the modern world we live in is not exactly similar in terms of context to WW2, but the principle is the same: When you know where you’re going, and, more importantly, why, you’ll find yourself surviving and potentially even thriving amidst all the struggle.
You’ll live a fulfilled life.
Sometimes far too many times we’re obsessed with some mythical “growth” that will automatically make our lives more bearable.
Indeed the whole idea of Kaizen Hour, too, is growth.
But where to?
Growth for the sake of growth is the ideology of the cancer cell.— ۞ Atlas ۞ (@DentesLeo) February 5, 2021
Have a grandiose purpose.
If you’re just pursuing growth for the sake of growth, much like our current global economic system according to many is, what’s the point of all that suffering?
Growth means suffering. Suffering leads to growth.
It’s far more pleasant to devour a bowl of ice cream than make the right call and do what’s good for you in the long run.
At the same time, growth is one of the best feelings in the world. So it’s definitely worth pursuing.
Those little measurable goals. The habits to get there. And then the feeling of actually noticing your growth — no matter in which area of life it is.
No matter which area.
That’s the key. You get to choose. You don’t have to improve yourself to improve yourself. Get clear about your why.
Need inspiration? Here are a few rather public figures who have been bold enough to openly state their missions:
Maya Angelou: My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.
Mahatma Gandhi: I shall not fear anyone on Earth. I shall fear only God. I shall not bear ill will toward anyone. I shall not submit to injustice from anyone. I shall conquer untruth by truth. And in resisting untruth, I shall put up with all suffering.
Richard Branson: To have fun in my journey through life and learn from my mistakes.
Oprah Winfrey: To be a teacher. And to be known for inspiring my students to be more than they thought they could be.
Get very clear about your mission.
And how do you find a mission?
I’m going to borrow some wisdom from a book I once accidentally (yes, really) bought: A Personal Mission Statement: Your Road Map to Happiness.
(Not an affiliate link, by the way!)
So, here we go. First, don’t rush it. Take the time to think about what is meaningful to you in your life, and why. Consider as many alternatives as you can think, and just reflect:
“My short recipe for making a personal mission statement is: examine yourself to the verge of insanity; use imagination; write everything down.”
Sleep over it. Do it again. You can afford several days for this, as your mission will not be something you change like a t-shirt. Sure, it may live, but chances are it’ll stay the same for months and years to come!
But take the time: “The first step is to decide that you are going to create your mission statement, period. Put it on your to-do list, promise yourself you will do it, give yourself a deadline, put a task in your calendar – do whatever you do when you are serious about finishing something.”
Don’t screw around with this.
If you don’t have time today, surely you have time today to block time in your calendar on some other day.
Once you find it, see how it feels after a week. But remind yourself daily: “Read it every day. Or even better – read it several times a day.”
Daily. Not every now and then. But examine your feelings. If after a week you’re still sure this is it, then this really just might be it!
After that, it’s time to chart goals and actions to get there. Goals, habits, visualisation — all great tools in the Kaizen Hour Fundamentals toolkit!
But first, you need that mission. Go create it!