One of my favourite books is “Man’s Search for Meaning” by Viktor Frankl. Frankl was a Jewish psychologist that survived the holocaust and his moving story is one about survival, resilience and grit.
We often hear about these factors in pep talks and inspirational speeches; however, I often find that the “why” driving your resilience, the “why” to get you up when you fall down, is missing when I listen in.
Read more: On Honing Self-Awareness
Frankl’s short, yet powerful book addressed this missing factor with this beautiful message:
If you have a “why” to live, you can combat any “how”. If you have a deep-rooted “why” behind your living, you’ll find a reason to survive, to be resilient, to be gritty.
I resonated deeply with this belief. I believe your why can be your love for your family, your dedication to your romantic partner, your special bond with a friend. It can be God. I think the secret behind finding your “why” is to make sure it is timeless. When you’re going through hardship, something that is ultimately temporary and fleeting, can you place your focus and fire on your timeless “why” to help you get through that obstacle and continue to work towards fulfilling a meaningful vision and goal?
Someone who inspired my “why” is my sister, a beautiful, powerful soul with the strongest fighting spirit I had ever encountered. She fought cancer for 4 years and passed away at the age of seven. She faced countless moments of fear, but it was always bravely balanced with a faith and peace in knowing that even if her body was weakening day by day, her soul is powerful and she was valued and loved. She inspired and mobilized change in the people around her, and that is how I seek to live my life - to be kind.
I am currently about to finish my Masters Degree in Social Work, I am directing a Social Enterprise called One Ten that seeks to empower the young adults of Hong Kong through noncompetitive exercise, I am a spin instructor at XYZ. I am also a Community Ambassador of The Busy Woman Project, with the aim of building resilience in busy women, inspiring them to be stronger mentally, physically, emotionally.
I want to encourage all of the souls reading this, that you can be in any career, any job, undertake any project, and still live out your life and actions with purpose. You don’t have to be the founder of a global organization saving children suffering from starvation to believe that your life has purpose.
I encourage you instead to find your timeless why and be a beacon of inspiration no matter what you do, where you are and who you encounter, and to mobilize change in people’s lives through your area of expertise.
Any route in which you take can be purposeful: a banker, a graphics designer, a restaurateur; as long as your heart is wired to help lift a fellow soul to a higher place, I can confidently say you will feel fulfilled and live a life with deep meaning.
Here are the mantras I follow for purposeful living:
Take control of how you perceive situations: You can choose to receive each situation with grace and gratitude for the opportunity, and a chance to give and connect, or you can choose to see it as a burden and an opportunity to complain.
Don’t make it about you: We are often faced with negativity, but when you perceive people’s negative behaviours as personal attacks, you are failing to understand that each person’s life is enmeshed within a multitude of factors; you don’t know what they’re going through, so meet their negativity with compassion and a reminder that your worth and value is not determined by their actions and reactions.
Balance sensitivity with power: Combat arrogance with humility and constant self-reflection. A good friend of mine shared recently her belief that the most mighty individuals are those that never take the credit for themselves. That having been said, acknowledge and applaud your successes. You are a force and thank yourself for that fire ☺
Don’t be afraid to be generous: Don’t ever doubt giving, even when you’re sure in that moment you won’t get anything in return. This doesn’t mean you allow yourself to be walked over, keep your discerning hat on and know when someone is taking advantage of you. Remember your inherent worth and value and don’t let anyone disrespect that.
Cultivate a safe space for those you encounter to be vulnerable: when you acknowledge and accept one person as they are, no matter where they are in their journey – whether they’re riding a high or on a low, you give them the freedom and the “okay” to be their most honest selves. No pretence, no defenses, no anxiousness to prove something, no fear of disappointing. Don’t we want all people to give us that safe space? Do it for someone today.
What is your purpose? What is your “why”? Make sure it is timeless, make sure it ensures connection and relationship. Ultimately, humanity’s deepest yearnings are for unconditional love – how can we practice giving this through our every day actions?
I want to hear your story. I want to hear your purpose. Share it with me. #livingmypurpose
Article contributed by The Busy Woman Project Ambassador Ada Cheung.
Know that you can make a difference to this world, even if it is to just one person first.
Catch her live on Thu, 8th Feb at The Busy Woman Project's Event in HK: Move & Live - What is Your Life's Purpose?.