I’m not a know-it-all expert. Far from it.
I procrastinate. I get distracted by unimportant tasks. I’m not as disciplined as I’d like to be. So why am I writing this blog post?
Because I’m a relentless observer of what makes for a remarkable life. Discovering what it takes to lead a life that counts is something that has always fascinated me.
Judging from the people I’ve met who live with a sense of regret and hopelessness, it’s obvious that we often make mistakes in the pursuit of a meaningful life. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
One mistake we often make is that we confuse what describes us with what defines us. That might sound vague, so allow me to explain.
People describe us based on our characteristics:
On the other hand, there are only two things that define us: our character and our commitments.
If we focus on our “description” instead of our “definition,” we’ll eventually end up shortchanging ourselves. We can definitely avoid that by adhering to some fundamental principles.
Here are three of them, which will ensure that our lives will be significant ones that are “well-defined.”
1. Commit to a cause.
It’s easy to become a hostage to the present, to pressing issues that cry out for your attention.
Your car broke down, so you need to get it fixed right now .
Your employees are unhappy, so you need to appease them right now.
Your kids didn’t do too well on their latest test, so you need to get academic help for them right now.
But not every single urgent issue is of dire importance in the long run. Every wellness expert will tell you how crucial it is for you to be “fully present,” to live in the here and now.
Without a doubt, living in the past or the future will lead to unhappiness.
At the same time, though, you’re not just a participant in the present. You’re also the custodian and creator of your future. Moreover, you’re not defined by the problems you solve. You’re defined by the causes you commit to.
Sure, even if you commit to a cause, there will still be problems to deal with. Life is full of problems, as I’m sure you’ve experienced firsthand. But your focus shouldn’t just be on eliminating the problem. Instead, it should be on elevating the cause. There’s a huge difference between the two.
Clearly, it’s impossible to commit to that many causes, whether they’re social, environmental, entrepreneurial or family ones. But whatever cause you do commit to, give it your all.
Daniel Wong wrote a pretty good article (above) for The Huffington Post, I’ve always liked reading Self-Help and Motivation books. There are definitely something I can take home as life skills. Maybe certain change of perspective in my life is needed.
And many a time, we do need someone else to remind us of the blind spots in our lives. Be reflective, thoughtful and less hasty decisions.
For being able to articulate life’s cause (Tagline: Living Large: A Bigger View Of Education, Career and Life) at a young age. He is definitely a inspiration. I wish him all the best.