The Power of Purpose

the power of purpose

I have had the best week. This week has reminded me why I love my life. It’s not that I don’t love my life other weeks, but you know how it is—one load of laundry too many and I’m feeling all Cinderella-like (but with a sucky attitude). This week felt great because I felt I was making a difference.

People live happier and longer lives when they believe their contribution matters (and of course eat organic and are blessed with good genes). Anyway that was my take-away from a National Geographic article that profiled people from the three places on earth where people live the longest.

There was Tonino, 75, a still hard-working sheep farmer from Sardinia, Italy whose daughter believes it would dishonor the family to ever put her dad into a nursing home. There was Ushin from Okinawa, Japan who at 103 has a new boyfriend. And, Marge, 101, from Loma Linda, California who drives herself to her weekly hair appointments, and delivers magazines to seniors (many who are decades younger than her).

I don’t live in Loma Linda, my work is rather sedentary, and I’m not sure what my sons’ plans are for me if I live to be 103. But still, last week I felt happy because I felt that I was making a difference in some small way.

Humans are social animals. We need each other, and want to feel wanted. And when one is spending an inordinate amount of time as I do holed up in an attic office, tapping away on a keyboard listening to crickets, you can’t help but wonder (from time to time), “Am I making any kind of a difference?”

This week, I received some much-needed encouragement. One person kindly wrote that receiving my weekly posts was like “a little gift every time it lands in my inbox.” Another emailed, “ Love every syllable you write in your blogs. Thank you for brightening my week every Thursday morning.” And I received a direct message on FB, “Your style, heart and authenticity speaks to the individual. Thank you for sharing your gift – it’s precious and touches me in many ways.”

And I received some less-than-positive feedback too with more than one person slamming me for my moronic views. And that was ok too. In fact, better than ok.

Of course positive comments make me smile, and stroke my ego. Feeling I am adding a little bit of entertainment to someone’s day, or providing some small inspiration to improve his or her relationship makes me happy. But those negative jabs also make me think my work matters. If I’ve stirred the pot, perhaps I have caused someone to think more deeply, or question his or her assumptions.

Whether the feedback is flattering or the opposite of flattering, someone is noticing my work and cares enough to reach out. And that is all good. It’s even better than good. I’d say it’s pretty great.

Photo credit:Flickr/

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