The essence of bullet journaling is really to live a more mindful and purposeful life. This means however that if we want life to have a sense of direction, we need to define its goal. Or more bluntly, define what will be our legacy. Undoubtedly, finding a meaningful answer to a big question is very challenging. Despite all the self-help books on the subject, existential questions about ‘purpose’ remained unfathomable to me.
‘To be happy’ is easily said but it is also hollow and difficult to quantify. It is also a little boring and naive, as far as I am concerned. The other option is to start with short to medium-term goals and see where this leads. It is easier to envisage, but how do you know in a timely fashion whether your ladder is leaning against the right wall? Having pondered long enough with little to show for, I simply abandoned the quest only to remain in a fog… Until leafing through my quote journal, I came across Ralph Waldo Emerson:
‘What is success?
To laugh often and much; to win the respect of the intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the beauty in others; to leave the world a bit better whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know that one life has breathed easier because you lived here. This is to have succeeded.’
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Well, why try to re-invent the wheel? So I bagged it as the answer to ‘The Big Question’. However, it was quite prescriptive and lacked relevance to my day-to-day. How this should be integrated into my life, especially since, at the time, I was single, living in a flat abroad? The notion of life responsibilities came to me. In short, we live responsibly when we attend:
- To ourselves
- To others
- To the environment that provides for us.
A balanced life will have these three areas of responsibilities evenly attended to. The word ‘evenly’ is quite important as being too self-centred, overly dedicated or single-minded will inevitably result in disappointment and eventually disillusion. Emerson’s quote then help me take charge and direct my efforts more fruitfully and meaningfully.
There are many ways to define life purpose. Finding it is like finding your Northern Star and tune your compass in. The quote above and this simple reminder of areas of responsibility were for me the first steps toward a meaningful life. More pondering is needed in order to fit them into my day to day needs and define how I am going to get there, but it has sustained me through the highs and lows so far…
How do you go about setting your life goal?
They said it better
But I am constant as the northern star, Of whose true-fix’d and resting quality, There is no fellow in the firmament.”
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