This is the starting point of a meaningful life.

    1. You are in survival mode when urgency is the constant and calmness the rare variable. Your goal is to avoid a crisis day. You let people down, you over promise. Stress is overwhelming, the margin for error is zero.
    2. When you define your identity and purpose only with external results, the circumstances of your life will define you. You become your circumstances. Stephen Covey said in one of his books:” You are not a product of your circumstances, but a product of your decisions”.
    3. Neurologist Aron Buchman showed that people with high purpose have twoand-a-half times lower risk of developing dementia. He did a study on more than 900 older persons without dementia Knowing your “why” gives you direction what to do and what you intentionally choose not to do.
    4. A starting point is to explore internally. Explore and find the WHY behind your actions, the why behind your thinking, the why behind your beliefs, the why behind your circumstances. Friedrich Nietzsche said he who has a WHY to live can bear almost any HOW.
    5. What is the real reason why you stand up in the morning? To pay the bills, to feed the dog, to be in time for deadlines, to avoid a crisis? Or something more empowering and motivational?
    6. If you link your reasons for standing up in the morning based on a why that makes sense to you, then you can put the language behind it in a personal purpose statement. A personal purpose statement reflects your passions and values. It provides clarity for your goals. Let’s explore some examples.
    7. Oprah Winfrey. To be a teacher. To be known for inspiring students to be more than they thought they could be. Oprah recalls watching her grandmother churn butter and wash clothes. A small voice inside of her told her that her life would be more than hanging clothes on a line. She never imagined it would be on TV at that stage.
    8. Richard Branson. To have fun in my journey through life and learn from my mistakes. He adds that in business, know how to be a good leader and always try to bring out the best in people. It’s very simple: listen to them, trust in them, believe in them, respect them, and let them have a go!
    9. Amanda Steinberg, founder of Dailyworth.com. To use my gifts of intelligence, charisma, and serial optimism to cultivate the self-worth and net-worth of women around the world. Her site Daily Worth has grown to more than 1 million subscribers. She says, “I believe financially empowered women are the key to world peace.,”
    10. Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Company. To serve as a leader, live a balanced life, and apply ethical principles to make a significant difference. I believe that you can’t lead others unless you have a strong sense of who you are and what you stand for.
    11. Think of you climbing a long ladder against a wall. You climb hard, exhausted you come on top, just to find it was against the wrong wall. If the ladder was against the right wall in the first place, you could have done it and have time to spare to do those other important things you procrastinate.
    12. So display your personal purpose statement. Frame it even. The daily reminder of seeing, reading, reflecting upon, becomes a compass that will guide your words, actions, decisions, and behaviors. How do I see my purpose?
    13. I explore life with an open mind and assist people to find their inner gold so that they can connect better and experience more happiness. I use my wisdom and life learnings to inspire people towards the best they can be.
    14. Once a purpose statement resonates with you, you need to put action behind the words. We become what we repetitively do. Habits account for about 40% of daily behavior. Living is doing and to find enjoyment in the process, not only the goal.
    15. The starting point is you, your uniqueness you bring to the world. Your WHY. From there you move to the WHAT, the actions, the habits. And then ways and means to get there, the HOW of things.
    16. For me to have to change anything, I had to realise the prison of my mind first, to escape it, not being stuck in the prison of my past. One of the biggest lessons I had to learn and still learning is to be mindfully present. I cannot change the past, I cannot predict the future, all I have is now.
    17. Research shows three things needed for basic happiness once one’s basic needs are satisfied: having meaningful social relationships, being good at whatever you do and having the freedom to make life decisions independently. David Schnarch put things nicely together in 4 points of balance:
    18. FLEXIBLE, SOLID SELF. You are who you are, with boundaries, authentic. But in relationships you need to be flexible. CALM HEART, QUIET MIND. This is being mindfully present. Quieting your mind, calming your heart. Handling feelings and emotions. Soothing emotional bruises.
    19. GROUNDED RESPONSE. It is having the right reactions, not throwing your toys. Not under-reacting, not over-reacting. MEANINGFUL ENDURANCE. You can only master a new skill or expand your personality with meaningful endurance. It means bouncing back after a defeat. It is not blind perseverance.
    20. Values guide. Habits define. Purpose inspires. Life can be very hard, but dancing through it, is what life is all about.