Join Date: Sep 2007
| | Responding to Jeff's Comments
Thanks for the follow up posting and for your original participation in the Life On Purpose Writers Blog Tour. If I may, let me respond to some of your comments here. Simply look for the ++'s that precede my comments:
* The exercises are hard. They're hard because they really admit of many, many different kinds of answers, but Swift is looking for just one, and he doesn't give you enough hints to figure it out. (For example: "What are the three components that make up the simplest unit of a person's life?") I think they're not really meant to be solved -- you're just supposed to think about them for a while, flexing your brain, and then read the "real" answer keep reading. But I can imagine someone going through the book and thinking, "Wow, I could never figure that out... Am I too dumb to figure out my life purpose??"
++ You’re right, Jeff, the point to the particular exercise you pointed out was not whether the reader would be able to come up with the correct answer or not, but simply that it’s valuable to engage in the questions and the inquiry, a coaching approach I learned years ago while working with and for an international personal development company that used a coaching model in their programs.
And if someone found themselves thinking they were ‘too dumb to figure out my life purpose,’ then it might also serve to help them uncover their Inherited Purpose since that statement clearly comes from fear, lack (as in there’s not enough of me, ie, dumb), or struggle.
* Many of the exercises are vague. Oftentimes it's difficult to figure out what you're being asked to do.
++ Really? Could you help me understand which you found vague so I can bring more clarity to them in future editions of the book, or possibly even put suggestions on the special section of the Life On Purpose web site where book readers can go for such assistance?
* The life purposes he gives as examples in the book are kind of weird; they seem like grab-bag lists of things you want, rather than Life Purposes. For example: "A life of purposeful, passionate, and playful service, mindful abundance balanced with simplicity, and spiritual serenity." (Swift's own life purpose.) Compare that to Steve's "To grow, and to help others to grow", or my own "To experience and create beauty". Swift's purpose -- and the others he gives as examples in the book -- seem to lack focus.
++ Interesting that you didn’t mention my ‘Reader’s Digest condense version’ of my own life purpose — to live a life of service, simplicity and spiritual serenity. The ‘purposeful paradox’ regarding life purpose statements is that they be broad and expansive enough to give the person plenty of room to fully express themselves for decades as they ‘pour their life’ into the context of their life purpose, while having focus as well. Having made every effort to live true to my life purpose, both the full statement and the condensed version, I find it accomplishes both very well, so the ‘proof is in the pudding,’ as the old saying goes. And I can promise you, for the people who articulated the other examples, they are far from weird -- they are empowering and life enhancing.
Finally, after I read the book through once, I fully intended to go back and work through the exercises more carefully. I already have a life purpose, but there were a lot of exercises I thought might be interesting to work through in any case. But I found that I simply put the book aside and have not gone back to it. There was really nothing in it that inspired me enough to pick it up again. I've found my own personal growth to be helped much more through meditation.
++ Perhaps it’s now time to go back and see what “Nuggets of Gold” await you. As for the comment on meditation, I heartily agree that for many, many people, including myself, meditation can be a great adjunct to living on purpose. Let’s be careful to not fall into the mental trap of ‘either/or thinking.’ The tools for living on purpose such as Purposeful Practices, Purpose Pivoting, and Purpose Projects are all valuable ways to bring more purpose to one’s life, and have been proven to be effective over the decade-plus that this Process has been around. Still, they are not meant to be a substitution for other spiritual practices like meditation, yoga, etc. but to be used in conjunction with what the reader has already found works. Of course, like any set of personal development tools, they only work when they’re taken out of the tool box and put into regular use.
Brad Swift, Author of Life On Purpose: Six Passages to an Inspired Life