I don't think you're supposed to know your true passion or purpose right away. It tends to emerge as you embark on different paths.It's good that you're frustrated—it shows that you understand the importance of the search. But I think the best thing you can do is be open and explore different paths. The truest one tends to appear as you go along, not before you start. At least that's how it was for me. From a young age I felt exactly what you describe: the idea that I was just pushing my life along with no north star. Read More
Consider a successful Hollywood actor. This actor likes to make independent, arthouse films. These films have special meaning to the actor, and he or she believes in them enough to give up a big paycheck to do them.
But this Hollywood actor also makes commercial, popular work. The actor has the prized opportunity to perform a major role in summer blockbusters, the kind of films that rarely win at the Oscars but regularly boost the actor’s stature, not to mention their bank account.
The clash of preferences and opportunities raises numerous questions—most of which miss the point.Read More
If given the chance, what do people choose for their last reflections and comments? A veteran hospice chaplain gives an unflinching answer:
"They talk about the love they felt, and the love they gave. Often they talk about love they did not receive, or the love they did not know how to offer, the love they withheld, or maybe never felt for the ones they should have loved unconditionally. They talk about how they learned what love is, and what it is not. This is how we talk about the meaning of our lives. That is how we talk about the big spiritual questions of human existence."Read More
“The things that make you happy are not the same things that make your life seem meaningful.” That’s how Ben puts it, and I agree. I’ve also written about this several times before: in The Tower, for example, or in my first book. To increase happiness, do something fun. To increase meaning, do something challenging.…Read More
I came back from Tuvalu and my gym was packed with dozens of people I had never seen before—an influx of New Year's Resolutions. "How many of them will still be here in February?" I wondered. Whether you're pro- or anti-resolution, there's nothing inherently special about a new calendar year. If you don't like the western calendar, there are plenty of others.Read More
Soon I'll begin an abbreviated version of my Annual Review, where I look back on the events of this year and make plans for the next. In recent years, many of our readers have completed this process in their own way, and everyone is welcome to join in. This year my own review will be a bit shorter than previous years due to a lot of things being stacked up—the India tour finished a few days ago, and then I went to Singapore and Hong Kong for meetings. Now I'm heading to Africa via Heathrow and Lisbon. Blah, blah.Read More
On a crisp morning in November, you find yourself waking up in the center of the universe. You look out your window and see 5th Avenue and the New York Public Library.
You step out of bed and feel the impact of three hours' time change from the west coast. It's 4:30am back there, your body informs you. But you have a mission ahead of you, and you can't be late.
The previous evening you had ordered breakfast for delivery and hesitated over the selection. At first you were thinking french toast, but then you remembered that Gary Leff recommends the lemon poppyseed pancakes. You're not usually a fan of lemon poppyseed, but you decide to trust Gary and give it a try.Read More
For me, everything began with the notion of freedom—the ability to determine the course of my daily schedule and overall life direction. I was very motivated by the opportunity to decide for myself. A normal job didn't fit into those parameters, so I did everything I could to create my own employment and well-being. But that was early on. Freedom is still extremely important to me. I'll walk away from any business deal or career option that restricts my choices or limits future decisions in a way that doesn't feel right ...Read More
Happy with your life? Everything's perfect? That's great. This post is not for you.
Everyone else, keep reading.
There are two popular theories of change-making:
#1. Make small and incremental (but regular) changes. Mix it up.
#2. Do it all at once. Quit smoking immediately. Take cold showers. Enter boot camp for the soul—whatever you need to do, don't wait.Read More
I was planning to launch an online class today ("Working From the Road"), but when I heard the news last night, I knew it was better to wait. For those who are interested, we'll release the class tomorrow. Here at AONC, we never miss a scheduled post, so we're putting this up today.Read More
I recently read two books about the choices people make when faced with the knowledge of their forthcoming death. The first book is called Last Acts, and was written by a doctor who worked predominantly with hospice patients. Throughout the book, people make different choices—some seek to create closure with their loved ones and prepare as much as possible to say farewell to life as we know it. Others refuse to accept the reality of their forthcoming death and try to fight as long as possible ...Read More