November 19     

Today's quotation:

The first thing to do in life is to do with purpose what one proposes to do.

Pau Casals

Today's Meditation:

How often do you take the time to define the purposes for your actions in your life?  This isn't a skill or a habit that most of us have been taught-- in fact, it's something that most people never will do.  Even though I've studied and read about this concept pretty regularly, I still do much of what I do without defining a purpose for it beforehand.  Often I can make the claim that the purpose is implied in the action, and while that may be true, it doesn't do anything to make the action more effective or more helpful to anyone at all.

To do something with purpose is to do it with something particular in mind, some accomplishment that will come of the action.  Having this idea in mind will give strength to the action by giving us stronger focus not just on what we're doing, but on the desired outcome.  And while it's also important to stay flexible and realize that the outcome may turn out to be something different than we foresee, having our focus on a purpose will make it more likely that what we do will turn out as positive as it possibly can.

The first thing to do, then, is to have a purpose behind what we do.  I tell this to students who are writing-- a paper without a purpose is pointless.  And we can define the purpose beyond what our bosses or friends or family members expect-- it's completely up to us.  And when we can imbue our projects with that purpose, then we've gone a long way towards creating conditions for success in anything that we propose to do.

Questions to consider:

Why can giving purpose to our projects make them more valuable?

What's the first step in developing a purpose for what we do?

How easy is it to focus on a task when there's no clear purpose to it?

For further thought:

Great minds have purposes; little minds have wishes.

Washington Irving

more thoughts and ideas on purpose



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