Meaningful Purpose Psychology came to being as the result of one fundamental problem: Why is it that despite the availability of answers, humanity’s most pressing problems persist? For instance, reading the news on my mobile this morning (January 6, 2014) I read a well-written article published by Katie Zezima and Samantha Henry, from the Associated Press, titled: NJ works to curb sex trafficking before Super Bowl.  “You’ve got to be kidding me! In the 21st Century?” I told myself. As I browsed through the other news headings the captions didn’t do much to lift up my usual optimist nature. However, it served as an encouragement booster to continue offering solutions to such problems.
So what were the conclusions from my research published in the book, The Path to a Meaningful Purpose: Psychological Foundations of Logoteleology? Why is it that interpersonal and social problems persist at all levels? The answer might be shocking to some and controversial to others; but the evidence is strong. Problems persist because – consciously and (for the most part) unconsciously — we mean them to. As free will agents we have choices. I wrote in my book, “Keep in mind that Will is defined as the power or capacity of free, conscious choice” (page 147). If we have the capacity for free and conscious choice, problems persist because they are the choice. Problems can be attributed to persist as a result of apathy, ignorance, lack of cooperation, and any other reason we can come up with — but such attributions, reasons (or excuses) are still an individual and collective choice that perpetuate problems.
As I have said in previous blogs, we can choose to follow the meaningful path or plunge down the meaningless precipice (For more details, see my blog “What is Meaningful? And why knowing matters?”). There are positive solutions and alternatives to social ills, and to the persistent problems faced by many individuals, as well as organizations – private, not-for-profit, and public. The answers are either available and hence can be found and discovered, or can be invented.
So step one requires us to pay attention to those nagging problems that persist, and to commit and persevere until we find and implement the solutions. Life is about constant learning, growth and improvement. Viktor Frankl said it best:
Life ultimately means taking the responsibility to find the right answers to its problems and to fulfill the tasks which it constantly sets for each individual.
Step two is to embrace the meaningful and reject the meaningless. You can read a full explanation of what is meaningful and meaningless in my book, and reading a short version on the previously mentioned blog, “What is Meaningful? And why knowing matters?” The meaningful becomes the guiding compass of free and psychologically healthy people. The meaningless path leads to oppression and to mental problems.
Step three would require having a purpose through which you practice and fulfill the meaningful. This is about choosing and committing to a meaningful and uplifting life purpose. Through my research I was shocked to discover how few people have a well-thought-out life purpose. In my book I provide details on how to build a meaningful life purpose. I encourage reading the book in order to learn more about this important subject. I will say more in the book I plan to publish in 2017. I too can be contacted for coaching on how to discover and select your meaningful life purpose; or by attending our Meaningful Purpose Laboratories or workshops.
Step four; find groups and associations who can help you fulfill your meaningful life purpose. Pick your friends and associations carefully. They should bring your best and support your meaningful life agenda. Do the same for others. This is a two-way street based on the meaningful principle of allowing others to be, cooperating, and transcending – or being altruistic. Hence, meaningful associations are not only to receive support, but to give support and encouragement to others. People who operate from a meaningful agenda do not discourage or ignore others. People who discourage and ignore others are driven by a meaningless purpose.
Step five; write and follow complementary meaningful purposes for your key roles in life. For instance, I have meaningful purposes for my role as husband, parent, professional, and friend, amongst others, that are aligned with my life’s meaningful purpose. As CEO of my firm, I do not have “a job”. Rather, every day I fulfill my meaningful life purpose through my work. Work is a means to fulfill my life purpose. True to Meaningful Purpose Psychology dogma, work does not define me. Work merely defines my professional role identity. Instead, I define work so that it fulfills my life purpose and so that it expresses the best of my person identity. The distinction is very important. As previously stated, I fulfill my meaningful life purpose in my role identities as husband, parent, etc. And so can you.
Step six; remain in learning and continuous improvement mode. People generally know what derails them or could get them off track. It is critical you practice what in business is called “contingency planning.” In other words, forecast how you can self-sabotage and build “if-then” contingency plans that will remind you what to do when facing a difficult situation. It is helpful to write in your journal these response approaches and visualize yourself overcoming them. Tackle setbacks with a growth-orientation. Learn from your mistakes and move on. Study success and strive for excellence in all you do. Leverage step four when discouraged.
To summarize, to really improve one’s and humanity’s conditions requires a willful disposition to fulfill a meaningful life purpose. Partner with like-minded partners to build a supportive coalition in favor of a meaningful agenda. The Boston Institute for Meaningful Purpose will continue to take an active part in building such coalitions with a global scope.
Remember, life is meant to be uplifting, fulfilling, fun, interesting, and growth-oriented. It does not have to be negative as we are informed through the daily news. All of us — and I mean every single human being — deserve and are meant to live well, to be happy and surrounded by loving people; enjoy peace of mind, do interesting things, and prosper. Anything else is meaningless.
If you wish to learn more feel free to contact me at Luis@bostonimp.com. I invite you to see my webpage: www.bostonimp.com and shop.bostonimp.com. I can also be followed on Twitter @LuisBoston77. To order “The Path to a Meaningful Purpose: Psychological Foundations of Logoteleology” please order through Amazon.
I also encourage writing questions and making comments here on this or any other of my postings.
© 2013. Luis A. Marrero. Boston Institute for Meaningful Purpose.