By Liggy Webb
Values are like fingerprints.
Nobody’s are the same but you leave them all over everything you do
For some people, adding value and having a purpose in life are essential and fundamental aims. An increasing amount of research indicates that people who have meaning and purpose in their lives are happier, feel more in control and get more out of everything they do. They also experience less stress and are less prone to prolonged bouts of depression and this clearly can have a positive impact on personal well-being and mental health.
Finding your purpose will help you to answer the burning questions of “Why am I here?” and “What’s it all about anyway?” Often it’s something that can’t be distilled into one definitive thing and goes far beyond your day-to-day activity. Finding purpose essentially plays a big part in how you choose to live your life, what you strive for and what provides a framework and benchmark for the goals that you set yourself. It can help you to make sense of what happens to you. It can provide a source of comfort and strength in challenging and difficult periods of your life. Most of all, it can help you to feel that you are not alone, because you are part of something much bigger.
Personally, I like the concept that we are all connected and that if we hurt others, we will only end up hurting ourselves, so we have a purpose to be kind and considerate in our behaviour towards others. By taking more personal responsibility for the consequences of your actions, your purpose becomes more honourable. If you value positive and kind intentions, then you will be making your own great individual contribution to creating a better world for everyone.
For some people finding purpose comes through experiences, often-difficult ones. Other people find their purpose through deep reflection, others from loving and being loved and others just from the way they choose to approach other people and the world around them.
Some people see their purpose as finding their ‘calling’. What is certain is that ‘purpose’ is something very personal. No one else can tell you what gives meaning to your life and if you rely on others rather than taking personal responsibility you can make yourself quite vulnerable. You need to discover different ways of finding meaning and purpose. Exploring and pursuing your own purpose will help you to make a difference and in turn contribute to making the world a better place.
4 ways to make a positive difference
- Lead the way
A good example has twice the value of good advice. When you endeavor to do things to make a difference, you can also seek to influence others to start doing things that make a difference too. The best way to convince other people is to lead by example. Start doing whatever is within your ability today. Start showing more consideration for the people you live with, work with and come into contact with each day. Every effort counts, no matter how small and insignificant it may seem. Just do something, and do something good.
- Respect and value others
I am sure that you have witnessed someone getting treated unfairly. It happens both professionally and socially, sometimes individuals who deserve recognition do not get it. Perhaps they are scared of confrontation and find it hard to stand up for themselves. By making sure others get what they deserve you will make a lasting impact on their lives. They in turn will get the justice they deserve and feel better.
- Be kind
Being kind is an important way of bringing meaning to your own life and joy to the lives of other people around you. It’s the little things that can make another person’s day, like helping someone with a heavy case or a pram, holding open a door, picking up some litter. Taking the time to acknowledge and compliment someone can boost confidence in others and make them feel better. It really doesn’t need to be huge and even a kind smile can make a positive difference to someone else’s day.
- Develop an attitude of gratitude
Make a conscious decision to be grateful for who you are and what you have. This will also help you to value everything that you have in your life and not take anything for granted. Being grateful can have a big impact on your own personal wellbeing and waking up with an attitude of gratitude is a great way to start the day.
However great or small your actions, whatever your purpose is, you have the power to make a difference in everything you do and this story demonstrates this well …
The Starfish Story
One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a small boy picking something up and gently throwing it into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “What are you doing?”
The little boy replied, “I am saving all the starfish that have been stranded on the beach. The surf is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them back, they will die.”
The man looked around and noticed that there were miles and miles of beach and literally thousands of starfish.
He looked at the beach again and then at the small boy and said, “Well, you won’t make much of a difference, will you?”
After listening politely, the little boy bent down, picked up another starfish and threw it back into the sea. Then, looking up, he smiled and said to the man, “I made a difference for that one.”
The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for
About the author
Liggy Webb is an award winning and bestselling author, presenter and international consultant specialising in life skills. She is also the founding director of The Learning Architect, an international consortium of life skills specialists. She is recognised as a thought leader on personal resilience and wellbeing and works with a wide range of businesses helping people to be more resilient.
Liggy believes that the diversity of the clients she works with provides her with a tremendous insight into the challenges that people currently face across all sectors.
Her current book, Resilience: How To Cope When Everything Around You Keeps Changing, is a practical and accessible guide for coping with change and offers advice on how to recover and flourish through challenging times. The guiding principles in the book have just been televised for a series with the BBC world service.
email [email protected] (free access to bite sized life skills library)