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The Problem with Not Being Clear about Our Purpose

Article Summary:  Not being clear about our purpose harms us in many ways, affecting our quality of life, relationships, work, leadership, and more. +++ Many of us have a general sense of what we want in life but haven’t taken that furhter into a clear sense of purpose—of our deeper why. Of all the personal and leadership development practices, purpose tends to be the most difficult for many, in part because of all the myths and misconceptions about purpose. Some people feel what’s been called “purpose anxiety”: distress from not knowing our purpose in life or from not living it.

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The Problem with Lacking Clarity in Your Life

Article Summary:  Many people aren’t clear about what they want and where they’re going. Lacking clarity is one of the most damaging traps we can fall into. +++ Do you know who you are? What you want? Where you’re going and why? We may have a vague sense of these things but no real clarity. We lack a clear vision that pulls us forward toward its sweet and compelling destination. Meanwhile, we keep our heads down and stay busy as a form of avoidance. Sometimes this situation continues for a very long time, placing us in an extended state of

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How to Discover Your Purpose

Article Summary:  Many people struggle with finding their purpose. It can be intimidating and confusing. Where to begin? This article clarifies what purpose is and how to discover it. +++ Why are you here? (On the planet, that is.) What’s your purpose? Do you know? Have you thought much about it? Are you living your purpose? Note that we’re asking here about your purpose in life, not the purpose or meaning of life generally. Asking about your purpose is a practical matter, not a philosophical one. Many people struggle with purpose. According to a New York Times article, only about

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The Most Common Myths about Purpose

Article Summary:  Many people struggle with knowing their purpose. It can be confusing, unclear, and intimidating. Here we bust the most common myths about purpose. +++ Of all the top personal development practices, discovering our personal purpose can be among the most challenging for many of us. It begins with confusion about what purpose is. Our purpose is why we’re here, our reason for being. William Damon, a Stanford University professor and author of The Path to Purpose, defines purpose as “a stable and generalized intention to accomplish something that is at the same time meaningful to the self and

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Are You Taking Shortcuts?

Article Summary: These days, we’re under a lot of pressure to move quickly, so it can be tempting to take shortcuts. But that can be a big mistake. +++ These days, we’re under a lot of pressure to move quickly. Things are changing rapidly, so it’s tempting to jump on the fast track. Or try for a quick fix. Facebook’s motto from a few years ago captured it well: “Move fast and break things.” In today’s culture, people expect quick results. We live in an age of instant gratification. We’re used to swiping, and our attention span is shrinking rapidly

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Do You Have Limiting Beliefs About Yourself?

Article Summary: Many of us have limiting beliefs that detract from our success and happiness. Here we address where they come from and how to change them. +++ Do you have limiting beliefs about yourself that are holding you back? Chances are that you do, even if you’re highly capable and successful. Most people do, even if they’re not aware of it, and it’s a bigger problem than most people think. Limiting beliefs are judgments about ourselves that restrict us in some way. They prevent us from achieving our aims and from becoming what we want. In essence, they’re stories we

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Are You Pretending to Be Something You’re Not?

Article Summary:  One of the traps we can fall into in life is pretending to be someone or something we’re not. This article addresses why we do it, its consequences, and how to stop doing it so much.  +++  One of the traps we can fall into in life is pretending to be someone or something we’re not. We may wear a mask for others, adopt a persona, or impersonate someone we think is more appealing. There are many reasons why we do this. It’s quite common. But it can lead to big problems down the road.   Examples of

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The Trap of Losing Yourself

These days, will all the pressures and pushes we feel, it can be easy to lose ourselves. We get consumed by events or other people’s priorities, surrendering our agency or initiative. We can lose ourselves so much that we hardly recognize ourselves. Or let our own values, priorities, and aspirations fall by the wayside. We can become accustomed to suppressing our needs, desires, or feelings. Or lose sight of who we really are and what we want in life. We can stop investing in our learning and growth, stop pursuing our dreams and passions, or neglect our inner life so

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The Problem with Neglecting Our Inner Life

These days with our full schedules and device addictions, it can be easy to neglect our inner life. We can get caught up in activities and busyness while losing touch with ourselves. That’s a big mistake—and likely to lead to major problems down the road. There are many different ways we can think about and experience an inner life. It can be a sense of inner guidance, an inner voice, inner wisdom, or having a rich inner world. For some, it can involve feeling a sense of our innermost being—or the feeling that “This is the real me.” It can

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Why We Stay in Bad Jobs Too Long

The covid-19 pandemic has raised big questions about the way we live and work. Amidst the turmoil, we’re wise to take a fresh look at our work and consider whether changes are in order. With the “Great Resignation,” it’s quite clear that many of us have been dissatisfied with our jobs, with millions quitting each month. The trend looks set to continue, especially among younger workers. According to a 2022 LinkedIn study of more than 20,000 U.S. workers, 25% of Gen Zers and 23% of Millennials reported hoping or planning to leave their current employers within the next six months.

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The Problem with Lack of Focus—And How to Fix It

Article Summary These days, we’re bombarded with digital distractions, and it’s detracting from our ability to get things done, our leadership effectiveness, and our quality of life. This article notes 15 of the most important benefits of focus and provides 24 actionable strategies for developing and maintaining our focus. “Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe These days it feels like the world is dead-set against our having focus. We’re bombarded with digital distractions. There are near-constant requests for our attention, many driven by algorithms that have cracked

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The Trap of Bad Habits–And How to Break Them

We go through life assuming we’re in the driver’s seat but often there are other important influences driving our actions. One of them is habits–the things we do often and regularly, sometimes without knowing that we’re doing them. The function of habit learning occurs in the basal ganglia, a group of subcortical nuclei in our brains. A Duke University researcher estimated that more than 40 percent of the actions we take each day are based on habits, not decisions. Our brains consume a tremendous amount of energy, so we’re wired to preserve that energy whenever possible. If we can avoid

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The Trap of Dissatisfaction–And Its Surprising Upside

“I can’t get no satisfaction.” -The Rolling Stones We all go through hard times in life, with setbacks and disappointments. It only becomes a trap if we experience a chronic sense of dissatisfaction—not being content or at peace with what we have. It’s a trap if we develop an enduring sense of disappointment, of never feeling at peace. Or a chronic craving or dwelling on things we lack. In this state, we’re missing a sense of acceptance, of contentment, of serenity. Such dissatisfaction can be a sign of maladaptive perfectionism—when our personal performance standards are hopelessly high and we’re extremely

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How to Discover Your Core Values

Our values are what we consider most important in life—what’s most worthy and valuable to us. Values can also be beliefs, moral principles, or standards of behavior (e.g., commitments for how we will treat each other). In other words, what we believe and stand for. Our values should guide our choices and behavior, helping us determine how to act in various situations. What to pursue and defend. And what not to. “Values are basic and fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate attitudes or actions. They help us to determine what is important to us. Values describe the personal qualities we

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How to Be More Decisive in Your Life and Leadership

“Should I stay or should I go?” -the Clash We make many decisions every day. Many are trivial, but some are consequential and taxing. Which career to pursue (or transition into). When to make a big move. Who to live with, work with, or hire. Whether to start a new venture. To live and lead well, we must get good at making decisions. On the leadership front, do we want leaders who wallow and waffle? Or leaders who move forward despite uncertainty; home in quickly on the key issues; actively gather input before deciding; involve others in decisions; invoke their

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