Posts tagged ‘Purpose’

May 28, 2012

Other People’s Stories – 2

Welcome to the continuing saga of “Other People’s Stories”.

Since our last episode, I have had a few interesting conversations about this issue. I was informed that there was more to tell with regards to responding to complaints as well as co-dependency. I also realize that I did not cover other people’s expectations or the danger of continually comparing your life performance to the lives of others around you.

Problem Solving versus a Complaint Driven Life

Complaints are all around us. Every day we hear people complain about the weather or about some political issue. One main tactic to addressing life complaints is to consider if the complaint was just stated to “let off steam” or if the complaint was an indirect (or even direct) request for problem solving. Most of the time, it is easy to determine if someone is complaining to “let off steam” since this complaint focuses on their feelings and contains statements such as “well, whatcha going do?” If you have the feeling that the complaint is a request for problem solving, it would be valuable to run it through a few questions:

–       Is this something I have the influence to change?

–       Is this something that is important to me?

–       Is it my job or responsibility to change?

In my work, it is my professional responsibility to sift through other people’s complaints on a regular basis. When I am interacting with a staff member who is talking about a work issue that is negatively impacting their ability to perform his or her job, it is my professional responsibility to act on it. However, if someone is talking about an issue that I have no influence to change, I will listen compassionately and do my best to encourage the other person to consider their emotional response to that situation.

Co Dependent Directors

There are many co-dependents that do not see themselves as either “co-dependent” or as someone prioritizing someone else’s issues. Co-dependents can identify themselves, as caring are responsible people. One possible red flag for co-dependency is becoming a “director” of another person’s life. This is the tendency of setting situations up so that other people act or feel a certain way or expecting others to act or feel a certain way. If you constantly find yourself feeling a great feeling of dis-ease when someone is not feeling/acting the way you want, you may just be a co-dependent.

Other People’s Expectations

Remember, you are in control of your own character and your own life’s path. Own this responsibility! If we do not firmly take responsibility of our own thoughts, feelings, beliefs, habits or actions, we are prone to undue influence of other people’s expectations. The expectations that I am referring to are not the common social expectations that we are all subject to. I am talking about the expectations of others that lead us into action that we may not want. For example, if you know deeply that you are intrinsically an artist, but your father always though of you as a great candidate for medical school, you will most likely be fulfilled if you followed your true passion instead of donning the role of “doctor” to meet your dad’s expectations.

Healthy Comparison

There is an element of comparing yourselves to others that can serve a purpose. Most of the time the tendency of comparing ourselves to others in our peer group offers us a form of social feedback. However, once we establish a pattern of habitually comparing ourselves to others, we can lose our internal locus of control and begin to define ourselves by others’ around us. We are NOT the other people around us! We are our unique personality. If Johnny is better at basketball, that’s good for Johnny. We should not view ourselves as inferior if our performance at basketball is not as good as Johnny. If we are looking at our own performance, it is best if we measure our current performance versus our past performance. Otherwise, we are in danger of losing important aspects of our own identity.

It is wonderful to have other people in our lives. Other people can have a positive influence. It is beneficial to remember to remain in charge of our own identity and to be the best that we can be.

May 27, 2012

Other People’s Stories

ImageBeware of OPS (Other People’s Stories)

In life, it is always advisable to remember how you define yourself as a person (character) and what you feel your own mission (plot) is. Other people’s stories can easily side track us from our desired path. If we are frequently sidetracked by other people’s stories, it can be exceedingly difficulty accomplishing the tasks that we have determined to be important to us. When we consistently place other’s needs before our own, we can wind up being frustrated and resentful.


The first step to getting where you want to go is to specifically identify what you want in life. Write you character and your plot! Who do you want to be? What do you want to experience? If you are not clear of where you want to go, you have a much greater chance to be sucked in to being cast as a secondary character in other people’s stories.


Gossip offers us interesting, emotionally charged story lines. As stated in the post on gossip, there are many social functions of gossip and not all of them are destructive. However, when listening to gossip, consider all the implications involved if you accept the gossip as fact. Will you start to avoid another character based on what someone told you they did? If you act in relation to a piece of gossip, will you become a part of the gossip storyline? If you spread the gossip or spread counter gossip of your own, you are now a part of the “sub-plot” related to this gossip. Many times, plots or character actions related to a piece of gossip can not only take you in a direction that you may not like, the course of action could be damaging. Shakespeare’s Othello is a great example of what can happen to you if you listen and act on a piece of gossip. I can tell you from personal experience that the times of my life where I let the voices of gossip become a part of my own personal story, I felt greatly dissatisfied about my life’s situation.


It is best to listen compassionately to the complaints of those that are close to us since the majority of the time our friends are seeking emotional validation. However, complaints can be poisonous if intricately woven in our personal narrative. If complaints become the format on how we engage in social narrative, our brain will consistently scavenge complaint worthy examples to enhance our complaint driven dialogue. If we consistently see other’s complaints as a call to action, we may drift from our own purpose and go on a quest to rectify our friends cause to complain. When listening to complaints, consider if this is the issue that you want to define yourself? Is this cause something that is consistent with my mission? Do I need to take any further action that listening compassionately?


Co-Dependency could be described as the habit of prioritizing other people’s stories. When one is “co-dependent”, that person defines himself or herself by the help or action that they take in relation to another person. With that being said, there is nothing inherently wrong with helping other people. However, it is dangerous to lose our own sense of self or character based on the needs of others.

Remember; beware of OPS, since it can take you off your own path.  Define your character and stay focused on your mission!

February 2, 2012

Summary of Main Points


In this blog, we have reviewed some Psychological concepts important to the discussion of what we can personally control and what factors we can only influence.


In “The First Step” we discussed that you will experience more success in attaining your live goals if you take full responsibility for where you are in your life. This concept is supported by research in Intrinsic Locus of Control that people who feel that the have the ability to control their lives tend to be happier.


When discussing locus of control, we also stated that there are some elements of life that we cannot control such as the economy or weather and for these factors we should adopt an external locus of control. Although there are elements of life that we cannot control, we are in control on how we choose to respond to these situations. In the blog post E+R=O we discussed that our chosen response to a given situation has a direct impact on the overall outcome.


If “The First Step” is accepting full responsibility for your life, the second step should be “Find your Passion”. The research suggests that for situations that require problem solving and creativity, people do better when they are intrinsically motivated.


If we have identified some life goals that are challenging for us, we may benefit from extrinsic rewards to help get us motivated.


Once we have reflected on our passions and considered what activities help us “go with the flow”, it is beneficial to reflect on our belief systems. In the blog post “Icebergs Ahead” we discussed that many of our beliefs are unconscious, yet still have a significant impact on our internal dialogue. In “Identity” we discussed that what we typically think of as ourselves is the voice in our head. Once we realize that a “me is a story I tell myself”, we can start to evaluate which recurring thoughts are serving us and which thoughts bring us down. In Judgment – Part 2 we discussed that there is a difference between the processes of evaluation (“does this serve my interests”) versus devaluation (finding something or someone to be “inferior” to us). In reviewing our beliefs, it is valuable to evaluate if a belief serves us and to “root out” beliefs that devalue our selves or the humanity of others.  Similarly, in “Appreciation” we discussed that it is helpful to review our beliefs to see if we are appreciating the world around us as well as our own value.


In future blogs, we will be exploring emotions in more depth and considerations for turning around our emotional perspective.


For the topic of actions, we reviewed how to set goals.


In future blogs, we will explore some pragmatic action plans in the areas of weight loss as well as finances.


So far, this blog has been posted daily. To ensure quality of writing and to tackle topics in greater detail, I have decided to start posting weekly. If you prefer the daily posts please let me know.


If you have any feedback about the content so far, please feel free to contact me at


Thank you for your time and attention!


Andrew Gilbert

January 26, 2012

Find Your Passion

Find you Passion!


In the last few posts, we have discussed how powerful an intrinsic locus of control as well as intrinsic motivation can help us more forward. It is beneficial for us to know that we are in control of our beliefs, thoughts, feelings, habits and actions. Since intrinsic motivation can be more powerful than working for a reward, we are more efficient when we are doing what we love. However, any people do not take the time to reflect on their passion or purpose.


There is a simple exercise that you can do to find your passion or purpose. It is helpful to set give yourself at least ten minutes to complete this activity.


Take out a blank piece of paper or open a new word processing document. At the top of the document, choose one of the following phrases that best matches how you would think.

– “My purpose in life is”

– “My mission in life is”

– “My passion in life is”.

– “I feel I was placed on this Earth for”

-“I feel I was created for”

(or create you own phrase related to your life passion or purpose)


Next, start listing all the ideas that come into your head such as:

–       “help other people”

–       “make sure that children are loved and supported”

–       “to solve problems that allow people to live simpler lives”

–       “to ensure economic prosperity for my family”

–       “to have fun by creating art and music”

–       “to support my family so they feel safe and loved”

–       “sharing my ideas through writing and speaking”

–       “to promote collaboration and cooperative in all areas of my life”


Stop writing either when you have run out of ideas or if one of your ideas gives you such an emotional response that you think “yeah, this is what I am here for”.


Once you have completed you list, rate the items in terms of how strong you feel about each item on an emotional level. For this exercise, avoid all temptation of overthinking each item since you do not want to talk yourself out of a possible life passion. Do your best to stop possible depreciative internal dialogue such as “I feel that I was created for creating a just and safe world for my children but I know that there are too many things that I can’t control and I just don’t know where to start and my friends might think it is foolish if I share this idea with them….”


Once you have rated your items on this list, you should have a clear idea of what you are passionate about. The next step would be to ask your self some follow up questions such as:

–       How could I get more of what I am passionate about in my life?

–       How could I use my passion to create value for others?

–       Are there any jobs that I could perform that include what I am passionate about?


If you find something that you love to do, you will enjoy the time that you spend doing it. It is better to pursue something that you like to do since you will more likely stick with it and feel better about it.


For example, I get many e-mails about these “foolproof” money making opportunities. I have analyzed some of these opportunities, and they do have the chance and making money for you.


For example, it you are not truly passionate about buying property below market value, renovating homes and selling them for a profit, it is unlikely that you would be motivated to stick with the work involved to make money. On the other had, If you like the excitement of researching real estate markets, analyzing trends of property values, love working with real estate agents, mortgage companies, home inspectors, pest control companies and assorted contractors, there is a greater chance that you will follow through and make a good living for yourself.


If we are solely focused on “making money”, we may find a way to make money, but still be dis-satisfied. If we focus on what we like to do and what we are good at and then find aspects of our current job with those elements or possible positions that fulfill our passions, we are more likely to be satisfied on a daily basis.


I hope that you are able to find your passion.