Are you doing what it takes to get what you want?
We have begun a new year on the calendar--2015. It is an ideal time to reflect on 2014. Did you get the things you wished for? Did you accomplish what you planned? Did you benefit from the unexpected?
The new year is also a great time to think about what you'd like your life to be in the next twelve months. Make your resolutions. Set your goals. Dream your dreams. Imagine your future. It doesn't matter whether you call it a resolution, goal, desire, wish, or dream, whatever you want to get this year, you must do what it takes.
Are you free to live a meaningful life?
The freedom to live your life with meaning is a matter of choice. You choose what you will own; you choose where you will work; you choose how you will be entertained; you choose whether or not to have the praise of others. If today you feel shackled and unable to live the life of meaning you desire, you must choose to do something different tomorrow. When you set yourself free, you have cause to celebrate.
Do you have the motivation to act in your own best interest? Motivation is the heart's and mind's ability to convince the body to act when you encounter a moment of inertia. It is the force that keeps you going when circumstances compel you to stop. You can maintain the motivation to act if you have reasons, reminders, revisions, rejuvenescence, and reinforcements.
Is there anything that is impossible for you to do? Yes, there is. It is impossible for you to perform or undertake anything that you will not accept as a possibility. In order for it to happen, you first must believe that it can happen, and then you must believe that you have the power to bring it about. To think that it is impossible is a self-fulfilling belief which negates the possibility.
When we were children, we had little choice. We had to go to school; hence, we were definitely going to graduate ... From elementary school. ... From junior high (or middle) school. As teens, we were given more power to choose. Still, most of us chose to finish high school and graduate. Higher education? Well, not everyone would choose that option. Some went to work. Some went to trade school. Others went to college. Still fewer would go on to graduate or professional school after college. Then the vast majority of us stopped our formal education and, as a result, had no more graduations. And therein lies the problem.
What assets do you have?
If I asked you to make a list of what you don't have, you would be writing for quite a while. You might even write "time." You don't have the time it would take to make such a list. Besides, there is nothing you can do with what you don't have. So I won't ask you to make such a list. Focus on what you do have. When you consider that you have purpose for your life, options on the paths your life can take, the power to achieve what you set out to do, and people who are willing and able to assist you, there is no reason why you cannot live a meaningful and joyful life.
How do you keep your new year's resolutions?
A resolution is simply a decision or commitment to behave in a certain way or to move in a certain direction. If you don't put action to it, it is just a good idea. If you can't put your heart into it, it will be burdensome. Sooner or later you will relieve yourself of the burden. The resolution will be broken and soon forgotten.
I learned some things in 2012 about getting things done and they apply to making resolutions and keeping them.
People around you will identify you by such superficialities as your physical characteristics, your ethnic origin, or your socioeconomic status. They look at your outward appearance and immediately assign to you an identity consistent with labels and categories with which they are familiar. Knowing your name, one might call out, "hey, Clarence!" recognizing you by your face, your walk, your hair style, your automobile, etc. But they will never know your true identity until you express your thoughts and your feelings.
Notice the trend for working these days? The primary objective of employers is to continually increase productivity. They want us to work more and more and more. The number of holidays are being reduced, the retirement age is being raised, and the employer is requiring that you take the cell phone with you when she reluctantly approves your vacation time off. My point here is that you must take the vacation. Your employer is not going to give it to you.
The value of your life is greater than the amount of your pay check. It is not the net worth of your possessions. Your life is more than the things that you possess. The value of your life is not reduced by the amount of money you owe. So how do you measure the value of your life?
Is there anything that is impossible for you to do? Yes, there is. It is impossible for you to perform or undertake anything that you will not accept as a possibility. In order for it to happen, you first must believe that it can happen, and then you must believe that you have the power to bring it about.
Making each moment meaningful is a choice to be the captain of the ship that carries you through the adventures of your life. You may not always control the circumstances of your journey, but you always control the benefits that you gain from your sojourn. Because everything that you do involves interaction with other people, a commitment to making the moment meaningful is also a commitment to help others to do the same. This is true even if you are engaged in an activity in which you are competing against another person.
Now is the best time--indeed, the only time--for you to live. You cannot live yesterday, nor tomorrow. You can learn from yesterday, and you can hope for tomorrow. What lies in tomorrow to give you hope for the future is what you create for yourself now.
There is no point in resolving to do something or to stop doing something if you don't change the circumstances of your life. This new year will not be any different from the last if you are not willing to change what you do. Even a small variation can change the course of your journey. The key is having the motivation to change.
Giving and sharing are actions that satisfy the yearning for significance. You were born to provide a contribution to the people with whom you come in contact and to your environment. The depth of your significance is best measured by what flows from you rather than what comes to you. The value of your contribution cannot be measured in monetary units.
Throughout the year, there are days which are designated for showing appreciation. On the second Sunday in May we can show our appreciation for mothers; on the third Sunday in June, to fathers. We honor a person on his or her birthday and express gratitude to family and friends by giving gifts on Christmas. It is common that our appreciation is expressed by giving something material.
We think with two minds--the rational and the emotional. When they agree, we have inner peace and feel that life is in balance. When they don't agree, the conflict can push us into indecision and uncertainty. We may be compelled to seek an answer from an external source. There are plenty external voices ready and willing to offer answers to the questions you may have about what to do with your life.
Take a few minutes to consider everything you did in the past month. I challenge you to identify something you accomplished without the help of anyone else. Wait! I'll even bet you can't do it. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. often spoke about how our lives are inextricably intertwined. John Donne wrote, "No man is an island, entire of itself. Every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main." Because our lives are intertwined and we are all a part of the whole, every aspect of our lives is about relationships.
What if the ultimate purpose of our lives is to love?
I have been pondering this question for the past several months as I worked on the completion of my book, Making the Moment Meaningful: Creating a Path to Purpose and Fulfillment. The question move to the forefront of my thoughts recently as I listened to a radio interview with Poet Elizabeth Alexander, and she discussed the question she posed in her poem, "Praise Song for the Day," which she wrote and recited for the 2009 presidential inauguration. The question she posed: What if the mightiest word is love?
Why are you working at your job?
Making a living is likely the greatest barrier to your living meaningfully. If the only reason that you are day after day going to work for someone else or in your own business is to have an income, you are methodically building a wall that separates the life that you are living from the one you are supposed to live. Making a living can get in the way of your living with purpose in several ways.
How will you engage the new year? The second that brought 2011 into the present brought with it a new decade, a new year, a new month, a new week, a new day, a new hour, and a new minute. Why limit your celebration to only a new year? Oh sure, the beginning of a new year brings energy, fresh promises, and encouragement with a sense of new hope. For each moment of life to be meaningful you need such a revival more often than once a year.