I think the one thing we search for desperately is purpose. At the end of a hundred years, can we look back and know there was impact from our time spent here? An impact worth celebrating.
Without purpose we feel worthless. Scared of what might come because we don’t live like we’re really in love. In love with life, in love with the day, in love with the way I handle the minutes I’m given.
When we take even a single step in the direction our hearts are calling, we feel it. Purpose. It lights us up and gives us life! It’s like an explosion in the circuits of our brain. Everything lights up and makes perfect sense. In the moments we are doing our heart’s work, we feel most alive. We really feel like we can’t die.
I read about an interesting study that looked at a large group of people over a fourteen year period. At the beginning, the participants were asked a series of questions in relation to whether or not they felt a sense of purpose with their lives. As it turns out, those with a greater sense of purpose were more likely to outlive their peers in the study and had a 15% lower risk of death.
The article also spoke about another study conducted by a developmental psychologist out of Cornell University. A group of volunteer students of different racial and ethnic backgrounds were made to ride public transportation through various neighborhoods in Chicago. Half of the students were asked to write about their life’s direction and the other half were asked to write about the last movie they saw. They were given a questionnaire at the end of each stop. Turns out that the students writing about their life’s purpose and direction didn’t experience any increased levels of stress while the students writing about the movie experienced the expected levels of stress. Stress, as we know, plays a key role in heart disease and other illnesses that can cut life short. (Read the article here.)
So, it’s not only listening to our heart’s beckoning for living a life of fulfillment so that we can live in dream houses and drive Teslas, but it’s to keep our own hearts healthy.
We have complete control over what we feed ourselves every day. Is it a bitter life of disease and learned helplessness or is it a sweet intoxicating experience of joy and fullness?
One of my favorite books is called, “Way of the Peaceful Warrior” by Dan Millman. I was just reading it and this particular story from the book really struck me:
A man working on a construction site would complain and moan every day about the peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in his lunch. “PEANUT BUTTER AND JELLY AGAIN! UGHHHH!!!” It got to the point that his coworkers finally said to him, “Listen, if you hate the sandwiches so bad, just ask your wife to make you something else.” He looked at them and said, “Wife? I don’t have a wife. I make these myself.”