“The proper work of the mind is the exercise of choice, refusal, yearnings, repulsion, preparation, purpose, and assent.”
Image from Unsplash by Robina Weermeijer
In today’s quote, Epictetus suggests there are seven clear functions of the mind.
Ryan Holiday and Stephen Hanselman break each of them down in the following manner in their book, The Daily Stoic:
Choice: to do and think right
Refusal: of temptation
Yearning: to be better
Repulsion: of negativity, of bad influences, and what isn’t true
Preparation: for what lies ahead or whatever might happen
Purpose: our guiding principles and highest priorities
Assent: to be free of deception about what is inside and outside our control (and be ready to accept the latter)
Consider printing this post out to work on and think through one of these functions of the mind each day. This exercise could be a crash course in Stoicism in itself.
“Why do you get up in the morning?”
—Dan Buettner, New York Times-bestselling author
Image from Unsplash by Somnox Sleep
I like to start each day as purposefully as possible to learn and grow, to express gratitude and especially to find ways to serve others.
Writing The Quotable Coach post most mornings over the last nine years is one important expression that meets all of the criteria. Today I am getting up a bit early to go shopping for food for us and a close friend.
What are some of the important reasons you get up each morning? What goals and intentions empower and energize you, make your day special for yourself and others? How will spending your day this way put a smile of satisfaction on your face when you lie down to sleep tonight?
Consider exploring the 2200 Quotable Coach posts that are sorted by categories. Please consider sharing this resource with others whom you wish to support and serve in the coming year.
“Follow your heart. Purpose will reveal itself to you only while walking your own path.”
—Brendon Burchard, New York Times best-selling author
Image from Unsplash by Lucas George Wendt
These days, many people are feeling a bit lost.
The proverbial bread crumbs they placed along their life paths have been blown, washed, or burned away by the events and challenges facing us all.
Taking time to look around at reality—and within our hearts—to revisit or discover our foundational values and core life principles is a good place to start.
Doing so will likely reveal various paths you can take and what direction to head. In these moments, it can be enough to step forward in ways that express these values.
Trust your heart that purpose and meaning will meet you on the way.
Consider completing the Life Vision Exercise to see what your heart has to say, and pack a few snacks for your purposeful journey.
“It is very sad to me that some people are so intent on leaving their mark on the world that they don’t care if that mark is a scar.”
—John Michael Green, American Author of Looking for Alaska
What constitutes a good day? What are the foundations of a good life? Where do you look when considering such questions?
Luckily, the research on such matters is extensive. Virtually all sources agree that having purpose and making a positive difference in the lives of others is fundamental.
In his book, Give and Take, Adam Grant points to the fact that giving and contributing to others and society provides both intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. The book, The Five Love Languages, points to the ways we and others in our world demonstrate love for each other, through simple daily acts of generosity and care.
Where and in what ways can you make an even bigger and more positive mark on your world? How and in what ways can you encourage and support others in your various communities to do the same?
“Care and Diligence bring luck.”
—Thomas Fuller, 17th Century English historian
We have all heard the phrase, The harder you work the luckier you get.
A question to consider related to this premise is: What causes some of us to work with such diligence?
Perhaps it is the idea of truly caring for something or someone that brings forth our very best and most determined efforts.
Research stated in Dan Pink’s book, Drive, confirms the importance of purpose and meaning as fundamental to what literally drives us forward.
How can you dramatically increase you own luck by bringing forth your most caring and diligent efforts in your personal and professional worlds?
“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?”
—George Eliot, pen name of Mary Anne Evans, 19th Century English novelist
Image from Unsplash by Kat Yukawa
One of my most remarkable clients is the CEO of a local non-profit organization called Forgotten Harvest – the second largest food rescue organization in America. Last year, he and his team – and large numbers of volunteers – provided more than 40 millions pounds of food, valued at over 70 million dollars, to people in the community experiencing “food insecurity.”
Recently, he was interviewed on a top radio station in town about his work and the life journey that brought him to his role in this important organization.
Through this interview, I gained an even more vivid picture of his life and his fundamental purpose to make a positive difference in the lives of others within his communities.
What is your life purpose?
How do you currently contribute and make life less difficult for others?
What additional efforts can and will you take to more fully realize an even greater purpose with your life?
“You have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”
—Jane Goodall, English primatologist and anthropologist
Image from NeverApart
Jane Goodall is an English primatologist and anthropologist, considered to be the world’s foremost expert on chimpanzees.
Her 50-something years work in conservation and animal welfare issues was acknowledged in 2002, when she was named a United Nations Messenger of Peace.
Jane’s life work has been captured in dozens of books, and her many documentaries. There is even a 2002 TED talk about what separates us from chimpanzees. In it, she joyfully entertained the audience with her passion, authenticity, and purposeful adventures.
What purposeful difference have, can you, and will you make in your various communities? What would you like people to say upon your passing, to acknowledge and celebrate your contribution to the world?
“At what point do my talents and deep gladness meet the world’s deep need?”
Frederick Buechner, American writer & theologian
Image from thefatherhoodcomission
Imagine two great rivers flowing from their source high in the mountains, where ice and snow melt into the purest waters possible. The names of these rivers happen to be “My Talents,” and “Deep Gladness.”
Many miles away, where the two rivers converge, is the ocean of “What the world needs most,” and the resulting delta could be the Island of Happiness, Fulfillment, and Life Purpose.
Where and how can you best channel the naturally flowing aspects of your talents and deep gladness to generously contribute to the world’s deepest needs?
“Before picking up the phone, pause for a moment and think about the purpose of the call.”
Image from Unsplash
How many business meetings do you attend on a daily basis? If you gave each a grade of A, B, or C, or rated them from 1-10 with 10 being outstanding, how would they score?
If you are like many professionals, dissatisfying meetings can be the bane of your work days. Books and other resources on this topic abound, many of which I encourage you to explore.
Consider, too, that we all have more meetings than we think—we call them phone calls. In many cases, we don’t prepare for them half as well as our sub-optimal face-to-face meetings.
Today, and in the weeks ahead, make a microresolution to use the phrase the reason for my call is… and see if the clarity of purpose improves the value and outcomes of your conversations.