Serenity in an Age of Anxiety

vintage from Pixabay      Purpose provides a reason to get out of bed in the morning.  It is a context for goals and a reason to go on when a goal is met.  Saving the whales or winning the Olympics are goals, not purpose. A purpose provides the why for the goal and the impetus to go on whether or not the goal is achieved or achievable.


You may or may not have a calling but you can develop a mission statement. Companies do so why not individuals?  The Sweet Green salad company’s mission is to inspire communities by connecting people to real food.  Tesla, the electric car company, wants to accelerate the world’s transition to sustainable energy. Mission statements state purpose and goals. Some corporations add vision statements to clarify the ‘why’ and ‘how’ of the mission. These carefully crafted documents are important enough that companies can take months agonizing over them with expensive consultants.


The place you work may go even further and codify their values. The military and police require oaths to protect and defend. Jobs and corporations advertise their purpose but while individuals talk about themselves, very few of us have thought about, let alone written out what we believe we are doing here. Goals, we have plenty. Meaning in life is trickier. Though highly associated with happiness it is complicated because it also includes a sense of significance and beliefs that make sense out of life.[1]


Nonetheless, a personal mission statement is worthwhile.  It can be modified over time to reflect changes in your beliefs, values or life situation. Goals can be included but are less important than purpose which is timeless.


Here is my personal mission statement:

I commit any talents, gifts and energy I have to the service of others so that they may  feel loved, appreciated and thrive in health.

Although the people around me have unique interests and experiences,  we are connected.  I do not see their best interests as separate from mine.

When I make mistakes or do not live up to my values, I will take  100% responsibility for my behavior and life.

I believe all things are lessons that God would have me learn. My purpose is to remember my true nature is love.


What is yours?


[1] Martela, F & Steger, MF. The three meanings of meaning in life: Distinguishing coherence, purpose and significance. J Pos Psych 2016, 11(5):531-545.

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