Monday, February 1, 2010

7 Insights Into the Meaning of Life

I am crying my eyes out right now. Tears are streaming down my cheeks and dropping into my lap.

Okay, the headline "I'm crying my eyes out" sounds a little like I'm sad, but I'm not. In fact, I'm full of JOY! Let me take a step or two back and share how I got to this state of sitting here, tears of joy streaming down my face, to write this article about 7 Insights Into the Meaning of Life.

I just watched a movie called Julie and Julia. Yes, I'm a sap. But a good sap. Because this movie shares some moments that are so core to us as humans and why we are here on this planet that simply MOVED me. I will share them with you as 7 insights into the meaning of life (inspired by the movie Julie and Julia). (SPOILER ALERT: If you haven't seen the movie, I encourage you to watch it before reading this article, as this article may spoil parts of the movie for you.)

What are these moments which led me to 7 insights into the meaning of life?

1. Connection. We are here to share connection and love with fellow human beings. The connection Julie felt to Julia Child inspired her in this movie. Julia Child loved her husband, and that connection led him to encourage her to follow her dream to master the joy of cooking.

Another one of these moments started because Julia Child decided one day to write someone who had written something she liked. His wife wrote back. And, they continued to write back and forth for eight years! Finally, one day, they meet. The supporting actress asks "you mean, you've never met her?" Julia replied and told her the story of how they've been pen pals for over seven years. Then when her pen pal walks in the building, dressed the way she described she would be, the experience is SHEER JOY in the meeting!

This is partly what our "meaning of life" is all about! It reminds me of sitting in the bar at Blue, a local restaurant in San Luis Obispo, when three women were having some sort of "girl's night out" at the table adjacent to me. They were dressed up in their various cocktail red and black attire. But they were not there to attract me. Nope. They were conversing about their lives, what's new at your work, how are the kids, and all of those topics. Then, the last of the bunch arrived. All three let our a scream like they were back in High School! That's connection!

How are you connecting with other people? Are you sharing moments of JOY? This is why we are here.

I recall a wise man, the author of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman, who while speaking at the Whole Life Expo in San Francisco back in 2001 shared with our group "one drop of joy overcomes one thousand tears." I don't know if the quote originated with Goleman, but I liked it and it stuck. I believe it is true. So, share more moments of joy!

2. Purpose. One of the lead characters in the movie, Julie and Julia, is this woman Julie. She is married, and at the beginning of the movie she and her loving husband move above a noisy pizzeria in Queens, New York. She is frustrated with her work. She was supposed to be a WRITER. Instead, she's fielding telephone calls at a government agency handling frustrations people experience post-911. Possibly her purpose, in terms of helping others and gaining insights into pain, but not her purpose in terms of fulfilling her passion as a writer. It is clear in the beginning of the movie that she has taken an affinity to learning Julia Childs' recipes, and in sharing these with her husband he comes to appreciate her cooking. The recipes help! She doesn't like Queens very much. She makes it clear she liked living in Brooklyn more. But, Queens is closer to her husband's work.

Now, if you're paying attention, you know that AspireNow.com is all about helping people discover their purpose and then TAKE ACTION towards that purpose. Often, our purpose is right beneath our nose. Those of you who know me dearly also know that I started ARRiiVE.com to help people launch their dream. One of those methods I write about is to start a BLOG. Okay, with that in mind, let's continue...

3. Discovery. One night, Julie discusses that she'd like to start a blog. Why? Well, she explains to her husband that she needs an outlet, something that she ENJOYS other than feeding the cat, riding the subway, and listening to people moan about post 9-11 ills and issues. So, Julie and Erik partake in a discussion about the blog:

"You could blog about Queen's," he jokes.

"That would be a short one," she replies.

"Why not blog about cooking?" he probes, as he dives into another delicious course of their meal.

"Seriously, I'm not that good of a cook!" she replies.

"Neither are most cooks when they start. Tastes pretty darn good to me!" he reaffirms.

She agrees to the idea to start a blog about cooking. But what blog? How can she focus the blog to have a timeline?

4. The concept. Do you have a clear vision of your purpose? If not, start simple. One thing I love about Julie and Julia is how Julie, the blogger, starts with a simple thesis: to cook ALL the recipes in Julia Child's cookbook, How to Master The Art of French Cooking in 365 days - one year. This is no small feat. But it is a noble one. It is also probably important to note that any blog of value, where you blog daily, WILL take off, at some point. It won't seem like it in the beginning, because blogs take time to spread virally. But, eventually, the density of topics end up placing your articles at the top of the search engines for your categories. Once people find you through the search engines, they start to follow, comment, and SHARE your articles with each other. And this is how blogs grow.

5. The passion. You must have passion to back up your purpose. The beautiful thing about Julia Child is how passionate she was about cooking. She loved her husband. And she was passionate about cooking, so she did something to keep her busy while her husband was in Paris and learned to cook. You must be passionate about the subject of your purpose. For example, I am completely passionate about making a difference in people's lives, helping them find their purpose, and go live their dreams. Completely, 100%, lock-stock-and-barrel thrilled to share insights that might help you in your journey.

So, whatever you pick, be PASSIONATE about it. If you're a chef, that might be finding joy in the perfect ability to slice onions. Passionate people delight even in the drudgery of their duties.

As a musician, I am passionate about playing with my band, BODY. Even to the point that setting up and tearing down gear -- work the pros leave for their roadie -- is something I enjoy. It is all part of doing what I love: sharing music, playing my sax, standing up there on stage and letting the music flow through me to MOVE other people! It's a blast!

So, we must be passionate if we are to thrive in our purpose. One sign that you're passionate is when you're present even when dirty work must be done. People who love what they do want to master every aspect of that purpose. So, master your craft -- even the hard or dirty parts of it!

In Julie and Julia, Julie, the other lead character, through Julia's recipes and reading journal notes about her experiences, discovers that she loves Julia Child. It is a beautiful thing to see people write about someone they love. There will be an inescapable tenderness, kindness, and joy in the writing. And that is the type of passion that drove people to make Julie-Julia a top-read blog on cooking, and ultimately resulted in the success that became this delightful movie.

6. Persistence. Here is where most people slip up at some point. I'm not perfect on this, either. If I was, I'd have written three articles a week at AspireNow the past year. But, I didn't. Why? I thought I needed a break. Blogging can take a lot of time. However, I've spent just as much time writing and encouraging others on Facebook and in other ways. So, today, I recommit to start writing regularly in my blog again. I'm sure it will make a difference over the long-term to share stories like this with you, my readers.

Here are some interesting numbers I've discovered about blogs:
  • People start noticing the blog after about 30 - 50 articles.
  • People begin regularly following the blog, and sharing with others, after about 150 stories.
  • People begin commenting more frequently between 300 and 1,000 stories - especially if these are daily experiences.
  • Once a blog goes over 1,000 pages, if the writing is good, it ought to be a viable business, worth serious ad money. I'm not kidding. Aspirenow.com has fewer pages (as of this writing) than that and brings in hundreds of dollars a month to me in passive income. I'm certain that when I have over 1,000 pages on AspireNow.com, it will be worth thousands a month in passive income.
What begins as a side-interest can become a main "job" if you're passionate, persistent, and master your craft. I encourage those who are frustrated to get back on the path and re-focus your effort and take action again. It will pay off in the long run for you to do so.

7. Realization & Celebration. You realize your dream when you stay at it and then connect with other people through continuing to cycle through each of these previous 6 steps.

This is my goal for AspireNow and ARRiiVE's blogs: to go over 1,000 articles. Why? Because I've notices that blogs with that many pages tend to be at least a Google PR6, they are read by over 100,000 people - often over 1,000,000 people! And that type of reach is hard to get through the publishing world. You can influence many people with publishing power like that. Costly to buy, time -- even more time-consuming to gain -- but worth it. Yet, most of us can write every day for 10 years. Right? If you write three articles a week for a year, you will end up with 156 articles at the end of the year. At the end of ten years, you will have 1,560 articles. I may start accepting GUEST BLOGGERS to help me get there sooner, too! We'll see.

Persistence is the key. So, at the end of this movie, I sat there completely overjoyed that another human being had gone from feeling like despair... working in a job she hated, to starting a new "hobby", to discovering her hobby was her passion, to then realizing that passion led to all of her dreams she'd held since a child! YES! This is AspireNow!!!

I love the celebration scene at the end of Julie and Julia, when Julie has all her friends over for an incredible duck meal on the patio overlooking Queens and decorated by colorful candles, dressed up with a bouquet of flowers on the table, and the meal freshly served to her friends and family, she raises her glass in a toast, "365 days, and 524 recipes!" They all raise their classes, "here here! Yay!" celebrating, then dig into their duck meals. Erik, Julie's husband, exclaims over the food "Mmm... great..it's fantastic! I love it... I love it!" or something to that effect. Julie, realizing her love for her husband who stood by her through the tribulations of the effort, eating all the meals she served, clinks her glass again, "Erik, I could never have done this without you; as someone once said, 'you are the butter to my bread, the breath to my life.'" He looks back into her eyes and says, "I love you, too." And now you realize why I'm sitting here with tears streaming down my face! Yep, I'm a hopeful romantic. So, seeing life purpose realized and true love realized, to me, is the best of both worlds! Can you relate?

It is truly beautiful to watch other people live their purpose. Especially when more people gather around that purpose with LOVE for each other!

Are you living your purpose? Are you showing LOVE and support to those who share their purpose with you? It is SPECIAL! Remember this!

If you need a little help discovering your purpose, I've re-opened the window for you where you may purchase my e-workbook and do the exercises in it. I don't "tell" you your purpose, I simply give you the tools (exercises and questions to ask) to know how to get to the real you.


If you would like coaching to help you find your purpose. Call me at 805 ... 459 ... 6939 and I'll either help you directly or refer you to a partner coach who can help you out.

To recap, insights into the Meaning of Life, inspired by the movie Julie and Julia, are:

1. Connection.

Find ways to connect with GREAT other people. Often, through connecting with GREAT people, we may find it easier to realize our purpose.

2. Purpose.

It often begins with being dissatisfied with where we are, presently. Then asking questions to get to the root of what we really most want to do with our life.

3. Discovery.

When we start to ask question about what we might be passionate and good at we start to discover possible paths to purpose! That discovery is exciting. When you feel like you're on to something, take ACTION.

4. The Concept.

When we live passionately, and embrace our activities with passion, they have more meaning for us. Conceptualizing what the full vision of purpose may include is worth taking time to figure out. Get clear on your concept. I was very clear on the concept for AspireNow before launching the website. I'd spent over six months clarifying the vision of the website through a journal before launching the actual site and creating the logo. So, get clear on your concept, then take action with the focus towards accomplishing that concept!

5. Passion.

When we live passionately, and embrace our activities with passion, they have more meaning for both us and other people.

6. Persistence.

If you don't complete the path, you may not realize the success in your journey. You have to stay with it, even when it is hard. Remain persistent, steadfast, and complete the steps ahead of you and reach the goals you set for yourself. You will be so thrilled when you realize your dreams come true!

7. Realization and Celebration With Those We Love.

Take time to celebrate. When you realize a dream, invite friends and family over. Share some toasts with the people you love! Raise a few glasses. And let those who supported you along your journey know that you love them. Share appreciation with them for their support, and they'll likely continue to be thrilled to partake in your journey.

Remember that there are some people in this lifetime who have a special influence in your life. Treat them with care, learn to love them, and maybe they'll help you live your purpose along the way...

Have a terrific day!

Love,
Scott

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4 comments:

Elizabeth White, Adventure Writer said...

I just watched Julie and Julia last night. Enjoyed the movie and your insights about it!!

Seriously Fun Self-help! said...

Thanks, Elizabeth! I enjoy your blog's adventure and gourmet cooking comments, too! :)

~Scott~

Teresa said...

Thank you for these wonderful insights! I’ve yet to see the movie, but I hear it’s really great. :-) I agree that connection with other people is indeed important, since we were put on this earth to love and interact. Knowing your purpose is the best motivation to get up in the morning. The discovery of opportunities adds excitement to our lives, while having a concrete concept of your purpose gives you peace of mind. The passion you have for what you do constantly adds fuel to your life, as persistence adds spunk to your purpose and determination. The realization that you have achieved something good and the ability to celebrate life’s victories make living a little more colorful.

P.S. See how not eating the marshmallow (http://budurl.com/nsem) and laughter (http://budurl.com/k772) could add more meaning to your life.

Teresa said...

Thank you for these wonderful insights! I’ve yet to see the movie, but I hear it’s really great. :-) I agree that connection with other people is indeed important, since we were put on this earth to love and interact. Knowing your purpose is the best motivation to get up in the morning. The discovery of opportunities adds excitement to our lives, while having a concrete concept of your purpose gives you peace of mind. The passion you have for what you do constantly adds fuel to your life, as persistence adds spunk to your purpose and determination. The realization that you have achieved something good and the ability to celebrate life’s victories make living a little more colorful.

P.S. See how not eating the marshmallow (http://budurl.com/nsem) and laughter (http://budurl.com/k772) could add more meaning to your life.

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