Your life’s mission

‘Here is a test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished. If you’re alive, it isn’t.’

Richard Bach

King Solomon, reputedly the wisest man of his era, said, ‘Where there is no vision, the people perish.’ But it’s amazing how some people have no vision for their lives, no idea where they are going or where they want to be. How about you? Do you have a vision, a sense of mission in your life? Once you know what that is and immerse yourself in it, you open yourself up to great possibilities.

Clarifying your values is the starting point. Once you are clear on what is really important to you, a vision of your ‘life mission’ starts to form.

You already have the answers within you. If you’re not sure, try the following and make a note of your answers. They’re fun to think about, and before long, clear ideas will start coming to you:

1. Ask yourself, ‘What is my life about?’ Listen to your intuition. Allow yourself to daydream (daydreams are often the intuition attempting to communicate). And ask late at night, just before you drop off to sleep – your mind will work on it and you may wake up in the morning a lot clearer. Write down anything that seems relevant, or make a drawing of it. Be patient; the answers may not come immediately, but they will.

2. Try mind storming: write down all your main areas of interest and any cherished goals you can think of. The first few that come to mind are often the right ones for you.

3. Ask yourself the following questions and write down the answers:

  • If I could achieve anything I wanted with no possibility of failure, what would I choose?
  • If I had ten million pounds, what would I do?
  • Supposing I had only six months to live, what would I want to do that would leave the world a better place?
  • What would I do if I had everything I wanted?
  • If I could have three wishes granted, what would they be?

4. If you had a week to yourself that you could spend any way you wish, with no limitations, how would you spend it?

5. What did you enjoy as a child? (Children are more closely in touch with their intuition.) Then take the top three or four and ask yourself: ‘How can I do more of this or do it more often?’

6. List all the main things you are good at. Add anything you were good at as a child. Then take the first three or four and ask yourself: ‘Am I making the most of these talents? How can I make more of them more often?’

7. Reflect on the coincidences in your life. Is there a pattern? Is it possible that life has been trying to guide you? Be alert; the answer could possibly be in a newspaper article you come across, or a chance remark by a friend.

You’re looking for a major purpose and perhaps a few secondary ones. Don’t expect to get all the answers at once; allow your mind to work on them for a few days. Hopefully, the answers that come will point in a consistent direction.

You’ll know when you’ve found what you are looking for, but if you’re still not sure, try one or two things you fancy. You may be guided to your true vocation this way.

There’s nothing more important than finding a sense of purpose that gives your life meaning and direction and inspires and motivates you.

Find a mission that gives your life meaning and purpose. Turn it into something tangible by setting firm goals (the tried and tested formula for bringing dreams into reality). Find plenty of compelling reasons for wanting to achieve them. Then go for it!

©David Lawrence Preston, 27.7.2016

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Your Purpose

One of the secrets of a long and healthy life is this:

You can derive a great deal of strength and courage from identifying and affirming your purpose – especially when things are not going well. When you’re off-purpose you feel stressed, listless and empty inside.

Your major aim, of course, is to find happiness and peace of mind, and the only place to find them is within yourself. Ther’s a common theme to most people’s ultimate source of happiness and contentment:

Love and service!

Maurice Tester wrote:

‘There are two ingredients essential to the full life. Every great philosopher has reached the same conclusion. You may disguise them under different labels. You may decide what I write is trite or banal. But the indisputable facts are that no-one can live a full life without the magic ingredients of love and service.’

You simply cannot fulfill yourself without being of service to others. Everything and everyone exists to serve something else, that’s the circle of life. The inability or unwillingness to serve others produces a profound emptiness inside.

Fulfillment comes from helping others with no thought of return for yourself. We are constantly giving and receiving energy from each other, and if we don’t play our part, we stagnate and die. Every time you give to others, you receive in return and you feel better too.

But there is an exception:

If you give only because you’re looking to receive in return, you will be disappointed. If you give with a consciousness of selfishness and greed, all you’ll get back from others is their selfishness and greed.

Get your mind off ‘What’s in it for me?’ and ask instead, ‘What can I do for you?’ Practise spontaneous acts of kindness. Look for ways to help others. Even your happiness is a gift to the world if you share it.

A famous Buddhist painting has two scenes depicting heaven and hell. One shows people sitting at a magnificent banquet holding spoons with handles so long they can never reach their mouths. This is hell. The other scene shows people sitting at the same banquet using the same long-handled spoons – but they are feeding each other. This is heaven.

Namaste

There is an old Sanskrit greeting – ‘namaste’ (na-mast-ay) – which means ‘I recognise the place in which you and I are one’. Namaste:

  • Reminds us that we are one and there is no separation.
  • Teaches us that if we cannot recognise the divinity in others, we fail to recognise it in ourselves.
  • Encourages us to look for the beauty in everyone we meet, overlooking the shortcomings of the personality.
  • Instructs us to approach everyone with an attitude of love and acceptance, then anxiety and suspicion melt away.

‘One thing I know;’ said Dr Albert Schweitzer, ‘those who will be really happy are those who have sought and found how to serve.’ Our purpose is to find and give this expression.

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 16.7.2016

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Secrets of a Long Life

A wise sage once said that it was his intention to die young at a great age! And there are indeed many octogenarians and older who still look good, are active, healthy, trim and have all their mental faculties.

Ageing is a fact of life. No-one looks forward to getting old, and some people go to drastic lengths with scalpels, implants and drugs to try and avoid it. But is there really anything we can do to retard the ageing process and prolong life, or is disguising it all we can do? Should we embrace the ageing process, or fight it? Should we grow old gracefully, disgracefully or under heavy disguise?

Life expectancy has been rising. Today, British men and women can expect to live well into their eighties, women longer than men. Is there anything we can do to deliberately prolong life and maintain good health into our eighties, nineties and beyond? Well, barring accidents there is.

young fitness woman running on sunrise beach

What’s the secret?

Attitude

Attitude is one of the things that thriving senior citizens have in common. Ageing expert Dr Marios Kyriazis says, ‘Our attitude towards old age plays an important part in our own longevity. Many people consider advanced age to be a disadvantage instead of a positive asset. They expect old age to be a period of decrepitude and suffering instead of a period of new challenges and new experiences.’

Choose your parents and grand-parents wisely!

Medical evidence suggests that longevity runs in families. A major French study of centenarians examined every aspect of lifestyle and psychological make-up and found only one common factor – they all came from families of long-lived folk.

Some people seem genetically programmed for a longer life. Some scientists believe that every person is born with an individual biological ‘clock’, preset to a certain expiry date. They are confident that one day they will find a longevity gene, and when this happens we will be able to extend our natural lifespan to one hundred and thirty or beyond.

We cannot do anything about our genes, but we know that certain lifestyle changes keep the main life threatening diseases at bay.

Refuse to accept the effects of ageing

People with a strong desire to stay young take better care of themselves. And people who look younger than they are have more energy, suffer less anxiety and make love more often than those who look their chronological age.

Stay slim

Recent research suggests that you will live longer and be healthier if you get your bodyweight down to around twenty-percent lower than the current recommended weight, while maintaining a full intake of vitamins and minerals.

Keep laughing

You don’t stop laughing because you grow old, you grow old because you stop laughing!

A Sense of Purpose

People who have a sense of purpose, know what they want, are self-motivated and take responsibility for themselves are more likely to live long. Senility is rare in people who have maintained a lively interest in the world around them. This is probably the greatest factor of all.

‘Here is a test to find whether your mission on Earth is finished:

If you’re alive, it isn’t.’

 Richard Bach

 ©David Lawrence Preston, 16.7.2016

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Finding purpose and meaning in your life

There is ultimately only one route to success that brings true happiness: find a purpose that excites you and pursue it, using your talents and potential to the full.

In her book, ‘The Fourth Instinct’, Arianna Huffington writes:

‘Give a gibbon a mate, a peaceful stretch of jungle and plenty of figs to munch on, and he will most likely live in contentment for the rest of his days. Give a man or woman an environment correspondingly idyllic – say, a successful career, adorable children and all the comforts civilisation has to offer – and we feel dissatisfied, restless and vaguely aware that there is something very important missing from our lives.’

Similarly, Dr Carl Gustav Jung, the influential psychotherapist, wrote, ‘About a third of my cases are not suffering from any clinically definable neurosis, but from the senselessness and aimlessness of their lives.’

Fully functioning individuals have found something that brings purpose and meaning, which inspires them and gives direction to their lives.

You came into the world to accomplish something worthy of you – not small or insignificant – and make a contribution to life on this planet. If you’re not yet aware of your life purpose or ‘mission’ it’s not because you don’t have one. It’s because it’s lying dormant somewhere within your consciousness, waiting to be discovered. So find out what you came here to do. And do it!

This is not an intellectual process; you can’t usually analyse it or think it through logically – you need to get in touch with your intuitive inner self.

Be clear on your true values

Before you can really know what your purpose is, you must have a solid sense of what is really important to you – your values. Your life goals must be in complete harmony with your values.

George Gershwin once approached Maurice Ravel, creator of the famous ‘Bolero’, for instruction in orchestral scoring. After several lessons, Ravel was exasperated. His student hadn’t even grasped the basics. ‘If I were you,’ he advised, ‘I would be happier to be a first rate Gershwin, rather than a second rate Ravel.’

The same applies to you. Be a first-rate you, not a second-rate someone else!  Honour your talents and live your values. You may think you do already – but are you clear on what your values actually are?

Our values are often shaped haphazardly. As children, we initially adopt our parents’ values, then, as we grow, we modify them. The following  method will help you decide which values are most important you.

Take a pen and notepad and write down:

1. What do you stand for? What would you defend with your life if necessary?

2. What do you enjoy? What really turns you on? What turns you off altogether?

3. If you could only improve one area of your life, what would it be?

4. What for you would make the world a better place? A worse place? And what, if anything, are you prepared to do about it?

Now take this opportunity to think about your values by ticking one box per row in the table below:

 

 

How important to you is/are your:

 

 

Crucial

 

Important

 

 

Quite important

 

Not very important

 

Totally unimportant

 

 Health and physical appearance?
       
 Having lots of money?
         
 An enjoyable career?
         
 A good social life?
         
 Family life?
         
 Leisure activities and hobbies?
         
 Fun
         
 Personal development?
         
 Spiritual growth?
         
 Happiness?
         
 Security?
         
 Independence?
         
 Acknowledgement by others?
         
 Your environment?
         

 

Now – do you feel you’ve been paying too little attention to some of your most cherished values? Have you, for instance, been giving your children too little time, or ignoring your health, or worrying too much about what other people think or having fun. If changes are required, make a note of them. It’s time to do something about it!

 

©David Lawrence Preston, 27.5.2016

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How To Books, 2004