WOW Word-Of-the-Week #430: Purpose

October 31, 2012 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #430: Purpose 

Purposethe object toward which one strives; aim or goal.

 Do you have clear goals for your personal and professional life? Is your life satisfying and fulfilling? Do you feel like there is more that you want to accomplish?

 This is the final WOW from Dustin Wax’s article titled, “10 HARD Ways to Make Your Life Better” on Life Hack.

7. Write a book

 It feels really, really good to see your name on a book cover, but it feels even better to know that someone, somewhere, might find his or her life changed by something you’ve written. Share your particular expertise, whether it’s story-telling or woodworking, with the world — or just your family. Time isn’t the big issue (though it is an issue — don’t let the positive thinkists tell you otherwise!) but if you commit yourself to a page a day — a couple hundred words — within a year you’ll have a pretty decent-sized manuscript. That’s something to work with!

 8. Learn an art

 Take painting lessons, a pottery workshop, a music class, whatever — learn to express yourself and you might find a self worth expressing. Don’t settle for being a “Sunday painter” — devote yourself to an art and master it.

 9. Run for office

 The world needs smart, dedicated, and upright people to take care of all the fiddly details of making things run. As it happens, running for local office isn’t as challenging as you’d think (which isn’t to say it’s easy) — Michael Moore, the filmmaker, ran for school board while he was still in high school. Just for kicks. And won! It’s fine to have your heart set on the White House or Capitol Hill, but try your hand at city councilperson, county registrar, or something closer to home first. And be clean — run for the experience of putting your community on a better path, and not for the power.

 10. Set an outrageous goal — and achieve it!

 The nine tips above are only a handful of ideas about how to make your life better. Maybe you want to record an album, climb a mountain, make the Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca), see 20 countries — don’t just settle for tiny goals, push yourself all the way to the edge and figure out how to make the craziest thing you can think of happen. Yes, you’ll have to learn a lot along the way, and plan months or even years in advance — that’s what makes outlandish goals worthwhile.

 I don’t want to suggest that you need to do all these things to be happy — doing just one is quite a handful! But if you’re unhappy with your life, if you want to make a change for the better, you need to think big and you need to be ready to put in the work to make it happen. It’s easy to “visualize success” and to “think positively”; it’s not so easy to throw yourself into the unknown and make it work. But if you can make it work, you’ll gain far more than you can imagine.

 This week’s focus is on purpose. What one thing would you like to do that you haven’t done? Do you have a hobby that you really enjoy? Have you had “outrageous ideas” that you brushed off because you thought they were too outlandish? How do you think it would feel to live your life with purpose?

Reader Responses

“I just got a chance to check out your most recent WOW.  Had to chuckle that #9 was Run for Office as I’m heading to the polls to vote shortly.  Also, realized that I had missed #s 1 – 6 so had to backtrack to find previous editions. Great suggestions…loved the Family-Community-Purpose categories!” – S

More often than not nowadays we hear people talking about their “bucket lists” of things they want to do before their time on earth runs out. I have always had goals in my life. While I have not completed all of them, there are a number that I have accomplished, which has made my life full. I always wanted to get a good education, including a master’s degree. In fact, my masters from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism has opened many doors in my life. It also allowed me to meet people and go places that I would not have otherwise had the opportunity. And, like you, I have written a couple of books. I always knew that I wanted to write a book on the late Marquette University basketball coach Al McGuire. From the time the idea first gestated in 1984, to completion in 1999, it was a long slog, but I never was discouraged. I always felt that I would get it done. And when I received the first copy from my publisher and since then, I always say I really did it well. Along with all of the praise that I received about the book was one comment that stood out from Coach McGuire’s youngest son. He told me at Coach’s  funeral: “After reading your book, I understood my father better.” That may have been the best compliment I received. The second book had to be completed within two months. It was the hardest thing I ever did. I received quite a few compliments from people around the country. Getting married and having children has really helped my life come full circle. When I see how my daughters are turning into happy and healthy children, it makes me happier than anything else in my life. I can’t begin to explain how the love and care of my wife and children are life affirming. There are other things that I want to do in my life. I am sure that I have at least two more books in me. I would also like to do sportscasting if I get the opportunity, which would certainly put my knowledge of sports to good use. Unlike people with bucket lists, I am at a point in my life where I don’t check items off a list. I strike when the opportunity presents itself. I have always believed in spontaneity and the opportunities it presents us in life.” – “Warrior” Joe

“Awesome read! Thank you.” – Linda


WOW Word-Of-the-Week #429: Family

October 24, 2012 by · Comments Off on WOW Word-Of-the-Week #429: Family 

Family people who share goals and values and have long-term commitments to one another.

Do you regularly spend time with your family members? Do you consider your close friends to be “like family?” Do you play tennis, golf or any other team sport?

This is the third WOW from Dustin Wax’s article titled, “10 HARD Ways to Make Your Life Better” on Life Hack.

4. Take an active role in your children’s’ activities

Pick one thing your child does and commit yourself to it. Coach their team, become a Brownie leader, spend a weekend day in the workshop with them, buy a bike and ride along with them — make their passions your own. Don’t crowd them — especially if you have teenagers — but show them that you value something they do by giving them your time and interest.

5. Start a family

I don’t mean have kids. That can be all too easy! Make the decision to have a family, which means to give of yourself fully to another person or several people. Risk being vulnerable by sharing your fears, quirks, and failures with someone else; you might find it makes you stronger than ever before.

This transcends marriage and parenthood. There are lots of people who can’t marry because the law prevents it. There are people who can’t have children. These are not the essential ingredients of family. The essential ingredients are love, mutual respect, trust, and open giving. Find (or make) someone you can share that with.

 6. Take up a sport

Enough with the working out already! Sure, you want to be healthy, but the whole treadmill-running, iPod-listening, 45-minutes-after-work thing is a little anti-social, don’t you think? OK, you want some solitude once in a while — fine. But at least add a sport, something you do with other people. You’ll be spending time interacting with others, while also developing team-building and leadership skills. And, you might learn something from your fellow players.

This week’s focus is on family. How many people have you shared long-term commitments with? What activities are your children or grand-children involved in? Have you spent time or showed an interest in those activities? What sport have you put off doing? What would it take for you to get involved and commit? Would developing team-building or leadership skills be of benefit to you?

Reader Responses

“I recall a quote from an elderly Aunt of mine back in the 50’s that always stuck in my mind that occurred after a family “tiff” during the annual Thanksgiving family get-together many many years ago.  Three members of the family were particularly known for getting on each others last nerve.  During a particularly “animated discussion my Aunt, who was known to enjoy her homemade Elderberry wine, stood up and proclaimed a  “A toast to Thanksgiving, that special time of the year that we get together to remind us why we all moved apart.” – John

“I once read that family (home) is the one place where they have to take you in. I think that is one of the best lines that I have ever read. I am at a point in my life where my wife and daughters are the most important people in my life. I spend time at the park with my four-year-old, in addition to working with her on word flashcards and simple math. When she listens at daycare, she gets pennies in her piggy bank. I listen to my 10-year-old practice piano and oboe, and when she wants to show me a new step that she learned in her Irish step-dancing lesson, I take the time to watch. And I help her study and check her homework. I am grateful that I spend this time with them because it won’t be long when they begin to want to spend more time with their friends. That is fine with me, because I want them to have full lives. My wife and I make a point to do things on weekends with the girls, like our recent trip to a pumpkin patch. So, it is these little things that make a difference in my daughters’ lives and my life. It adds to my attitude of gratitude every day. Family helps to make it a wonderful life. I have much for which to be grateful.” – Warrior” Joe