Developing A Resilient Sense Of Purpose

2014-06-25 11.05.46Although for short periods of time I can be content with just the pleasures of life, I’ve found that the only sustainable ‘good life’ comes from having a purpose as well.  That purpose is ideally one that’s within my control as work as a source of purpose has become fickle of late.  I was talking to my wife about this recently and we concluded that it’s best to have a variety of interests that can at any time be focussed on to deliver purpose.  For example in the summer I get a great sense of purpose from my gardening, in the spring and autumn from hiking challenges, frequently from learning new skills, finishing a series of books, and quite often, but less reliably, from work.  I’ve found that one of the best sources of purpose comes from physical work, from decorating, repairing my gradually rotting garage or from doing a spring clean.  I recently came across this quote which captured quite nicely one of the strategies that I use:

The satisfactions of manifesting oneself concretely in the world through manual competence have been known to make a man quiet and easy. They seem to relieve him of the felt need to offer chattering interpretations of himself to vindicate his worth. He can simply point: the building stands, the car now runs, the lights are on. Boasting is what a boy does, because he has no real effect in the world

Although the quote refers to the ‘skilled trades’ for me it also applies nicely to writing.  When I’m feeling in need for a injection of purpose, I look at the home page of my blog and the count of posts to date, which currently stands at 1085, and get a nice “I did that” glow, although maybe blogging counts as a “chattering interpretation”.

The photo is of the river Ribble where it flows next to Brockholes nature reserve, I was there yesterday while walking myself through a flare, recovering my health contributes nicely to the portfolio of purpose creating activities in my life.

Steve Richards

I'm retired from work as a business and IT strategist. now I'm travelling, hiking, cycling, swimming, reading, gardening, learning, writing this blog and generally enjoying good times with friends and family

2 Responses

  1. Helen says:

    Hi Steve, I’ve been enjoying watching your YouTube vids and found your blog through that. I liked the quote in this post, and it made me think of Thoreau’s Walden, which you might enjoy reading if you’ve not already. Curiously I’ve read or watched many of the books and TV shows you have (different blog post), from the Victorian Kitchen Garden to JM Fortier’s Market Garden, which really opens up different ways of managing crops. I’m enjoying reading your approach to life and the systems thinking you apply – thanks for writing and broadcasting it!

  2. Thanks for the thoughtful comment Helen, I re-read the post you pointed me back to and it was quite helpful even for me, at the end of a rare difficult day : all the best – Steve

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