Friday, February 19, 2021

The Why Behind All Other Whys, Part 2

So, what about that why behind all other whys? Where does that come from? If it is so important, it ought to be pretty readily understandable.

For many, many people, there would be some basic belief. The primal why, for many, would be how they understood their place in creation in relationship to the creator. So it is for me.

My personal life mission is this: create the circumstances wherein people can become the best versions of themselves. This comes from my why behind all other whys: It is the purpose of the created to show the love of the creator to all creation. My purpose for living grows directly out of my understanding of God and my relationship with God.

Frankly, while I suppose others have other sorts of sources for their why, I cannot think of any examples. But, I stand by the claim that every mission or purpose needs to grow out of some why behind all other whys.

If you are trying to live a content and joyful life, then the first step is to drill down through all the reasons you do things. If there is no single why behind all other whys, you probably will have a problem working out that joyful approach to living we've been talking about.

That's the starting point. What is at the core of why you do anything? If you don't know, then you need to find out.

Thursday, February 18, 2021

The Why Behind All Other Whys - Part 1

Why do you do what you do? Hopefully, it is because you have come to understand your purpose in life. Your personal life mission.

But, where did that come from?

Let's look at an example…

A young man at a gas station sees someone coming out the door he just opened to go in. He holds it open and waits.

Why? Because he believes it was a nice thing to do.

Why? Because he believes people are inherently valuable and worthy of respect.

Why? Because he believes…

We could keep drilling down, deeper and deeper. At some point, we would get to the why behind all other whys.

And sometimes, what we find is… pointless. If you go to work because the why is "whoever dies with the most toys wins" then you probably just need to stop and start over. If the who behind all other whys is vapid, you need a better why!

Hopefully, drilling down deep enough lands at something that has meaning. Hopefully, it results in finding something fundamental that has enduring value and worth.

Where would that put us?

That's the starting place. Understanding the why behind all other whys opens the door to having a unified, meaningful, and fulfilling purpose.

And knowing what that purpose is leads to the possibility of living by a joyful approach to life.

Friday, February 12, 2021

But The Cheese Was Missing

So, if the idea is to abide in contentment, what do you do when things happen that are… disappointing?

Recently, I went through the drive-thru of a fast-food restaurant. I ordered a cheeseburger. Leaving the window, purchase safely situated on the passenger seat, I negotiated my way through the snow and ice back into traffic.

At the first red light, I discovered… There was no cheese on my sandwich. A wave of disappointment flooded over me. My thoughts that there should be cheese that wasn't there left me feeling unhappy.

Yes. The events did not result in my being happy.


Of late, I have been discussing something I am calling a joyful approach to life. I have argued that, better than being happy is being at peace and having joy as a result of how what we do aligns with our purposes for life.

But, the cheese was missing! I wanted that cheese, and it wasn't there! I was unhappy.

However, that did NOT take away what peace I had; peace that resulted from my thinking I had, throughout the day, acted in ways that aligned with what I understand to be my life purpose.

A single… shall we say it was a sad moment? One incident in a day. Or ten. Or a whole avalanche of incidents that leave us disappointed should not take away from that peace. Our contentment should come, not in what happens to us, but rather in what happens by us, in knowing that we lived in accordance to our calling.

Stop for a minute and think about it. Is one or even two missing slices of cheese that important? If so, then, perhaps it is time to evaluate what you are living for.

Thursday, February 11, 2021

Content In The Intent

A joyful approach to life means knowing who you are and what you are trying to do. It relies on understanding your purpose… on having come to understand your life mission.

Guided by your purpose, the joyful approach means to check everything you do against what you ought to be doing… not ought to in light of other people's expectations, but in view of your own purpose. Coming to have that purpose is not simple, and will be addressed later.

When, at the end of each day, you check all you did against that purpose, you can be content if you can say you let your purpose guide you. 

Was everything you did intended to advance your mission? If so, you can rest peacefully being content that you lived according to your calling.

But, intentions are not enough. What about outcomes? Did anything actually work out as designed?

Where you can say yes… Well, there's a nice, little happy spot! Yeah, I said happy.

Where the outcomes came up wanting… You can still be content and at peace that you followed your purpose. But… You can think about what you did and try to find changes that will make the outcomes better. And "better" means more aligned with whatever your purpose is.

But remember, the point is being content in the approach; not trying to find happiness in the outcomes.

Peace and contentment come when your reflections on what you did confirm that you lived according to your purpose.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

A Joyful Approach

Happiness is an emotional response. It is a pleasurable reaction when things meet or exceed our expectations. But… so often, we have no control over the external events to which we are reacting.

Reacting. Happiness is a reaction to…

If we are always chasing happiness, we are often chasing things we are powerless to control.

There is a better way.

Instead of basing how you feel on outcomes, base how you feel on intentions. Adopt a joyful approach to each and every day.

What does that mean?

Starting with who you are and what you believe, at some point you identify your purpose. Your calling. Your life mission.

A joyful approach is to set out each day with that in mind. What are you trying to do? Align all your actions to do that.

Then, at the end of the day, compare what you did with what you set out to do. And, yes! Outcomes of your efforts factor in, but more on that later.

If what you did aligns with what you intended… If… If so, therein is reason for real joy. When your day is guided by your intentions, then you can rest in contentment that you were on the path. You followed the course.

The joyful approach to life does not rely on what you cannot control; Peace… contentment comes from knowing you did everything in alignment with who you are and what you are trying to accomplish.

Tuesday, February 09, 2021

If Not Happiness, Then What?

Earlier, I made a claim that happiness is not the goal. That we should stop trying to be happy.

So, if not happiness, then what?

What  you strive for needs to be something from within you. Something that drives you forward rather than something that is a reaction to things around you.

Happiness is an emotion that results from the thoughts you have about things that happen. It results from events turning out in a way that exceeds our expectations. But often, when that happens, our expectations shift. The next time, our happiness depends on something surpassing the previous experience.

Thus, happiness is a shifting, fleeting feeling that comes from things outside us.

The better circumstances is, rather than waiting for things to happen, to orient ourselves to something else. Instead of waiting to react to things with happy feelings, develop an approach to living that yields peace and contentment. 

Develop a joyful approach to life.

Much more on that coming soon!

Monday, February 08, 2021

Stop Trying To Be Happy

Stop trying to be happy. Happiness is not the goal.

Happiness is an emotional response to how you think about things that happen outside you. Happiness is a reaction to external events.

When what happens exceeds your expectations, then you feel happy. For a moment. Then, you look at all that could be improved and move the bar of your expectations. Happiness is fleeting and shifting.

Furthermore, in many, if not most, cases, you have very little control of the external events you are watching, hoping they will exceed your expectations. If traffic is backed up, you are unhappy. If it is flowing smoothly, you are happy. But you are reacting to something you can't control—based on your thoughts and beliefs about that thing.

Happiness, then, should NOT be the goal. Something else should. Something that comes out of your purpose, your why-behind-the-why, the source from which you draw your life mission.

The goal should be an abiding, satisfying approach, not a pleasant reaction. The goal should be to develop something internal, not external. Not happiness.

Peace. Contentment. Joy.

They come from within you, and guide your actions. They drive you toward things; they are not a reaction coming from them.

I want to propose something I'm going to call a joyful approach. Stick around… There's a lot to say!

Friday, February 05, 2021

I Can't Change You

I wish I could think of a way to make people change into what they wanted to be. 

I can't.

I can't change people. No one can change someone else.

The best I can do is point people toward a system or a process… toward tips and techniques that are proven to be useful in helping people reach their goals.

But, it is up to others… up to you to make the change. No one can decide (in a way that actually leads to a satisfactory outcome) for someone else what the change should be. 

You need to decide what you want, then come up with a plan (with help from others), then execute that plan so that you can move from where you are to where you want to be.

Others can't change you. They can help you, but meaningful change is something you have to want and create.