Purposefulness – the first pillar of Positive Resilience
PEOPLE WITH A STRONGER SENSE OF PURPOSE ARE HEALTHIER MENTALLY AND PHYSICALLY
As we struggle with the implications of the Covid-19 pandemic, the peoplewise 7 Pillars of Positive Resilience, are making a tangible difference to peoples’ lives. Positive Resilience is the science and practice of developing mastery over our ability to not just cope with disruption and challenges but thrive and reach our full potential for happiness and success.
Today we’re talking about the first pillar: Purposefulness: a strong sense of purpose in life, a clear understanding of what matters to us and the determination to achieve it.
Purposefulness is worth working on because it’s not only linked to psychological benefits (such as feeling good about yourself and your abilities, increased optimism and hope, career success2 and higher levels of life satisfaction1), but also to physical health benefits (such as increased longevity3 and a reduced risk of disability, stroke, heart disease, and sleep issues1).
What does Purposefulness look like?
We can all think of role models with high purposefulness. People like J K Rowling, who became the world’s best-selling living author after overcoming the hardships of being a jobless, single mother living on benefits.
Or Nelson Mandela, whose commitment to equality and the end of apartheid in South Africa continued despite years of persecution and imprisonment, culminating in his presiding over the transition from apartheid minority rule to a multicultural democracy, while at the same time focusing on national reconciliation.
These people have a strong vision of the future and a commitment to achieve their goals, persevere in the face of challenges, and the determination, self-belief, passion, and tenacity to strive for challenging goals.
Each of us can increase our sense of purposefulness, using it to push through challenges and pressures to achieve a fuller and better future. Nelson Mandela and Jo Rowling show what is possible – why not start now?
The first step is to clarify your purpose and vision for the future.
- Ask yourself what really matters to you?
- What are your values? What would success look like for you?
- What do you stand for?
Take some time and write down your thoughts, gradually solidifying your thinking into a coherent vision that you can clearly articulate and commit to.
References and further reading
- The Psychology of Purpose. John Templeton Foundation, February 2018.
- New Harvard Research: To Be Successful, Chase Your Purpose, Not Your Passion. Inc.com, November 18, 2019.
- A purpose-driven life may last longer. Harvard Health, September 2019.
- Now What? The Importance of Having Purpose as We Age. Mayo Clinic, October 16, 2018.