WARNING: There are no “answers” in this post and my only goal in sharing these thoughts was to cause you to ask yourself meaningful questions. If you would prefer not to do that, then do not read any further.
I believe that when we enter into the “2nd half” of our lives, we entertain different questions because time becomes real and there is a sense of mortality we cannot escape. We begin to think more deeply about legacy because we want our lives to have meant something and would like to believe we did something meaningful that will live on when we are gone.
This leads to a change in how we perceive the world around us and our reticular activating system provides us with the means to accomplish this…”When you set your intent, you are marrying your subconscious mind with your conscious will to make something happen. It is like you are sending your Reticular Activating System a message that you are “expecting” the event to happen, and there is absolutely no room for uncertainty.” Essentially, we begin to see/experience what we look for and/or expect. This works in all seasons of our lives but now it is especially poignant because we’re looking for meaning and meaning we will find. We begin to question “why” much more often and have an urge to understand people and their actions…which is not a peaceful practice.
Since others will often frustrate or confuse us, we then turn inward and ask ourselves these challenging questions. We want to better understand ourselves because that might help us understand others? I recently began working with a coach (Jim Vaive) in the realm of emotional intelligence and one my homework assignments was the creation of my “noble goal”. I have to admit that I really liked the sound of that but it has not been easy to write down. When I visited 6seconds, I found this snippet of insight which really crystallized it for me…“Live as if your choices send ripples beyond your lifetime.” Full disclosure, this resonated with me because it sounds like the great scene from “The Gladiator”, where Maximus tells his troops that “What we do in life, echoes in eternity.” Think of the impact this might have on our actions each day if we truly lived in this manner. Imagine the impact it would have on others. Imagine how hard it is to capture this in one sentence!
As a recovering philosophy student (27 years in the real world and counting) this also took be right back to Immanuel Kant and his thoughts on the categorical imperative…which is not a fun place to go. Kantian philosophy would tell us that we should “act only according to that maxim whereby you can at the same time will that it should become a universal law.” I was fond of torturing my kids with this and can’t tell how many times I lectured them with no thought of Matthew 7:3…“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own?” Actually, there might be quite the circular argument with that entire discussion because in lecturing them on the categorical imperative I was actually exemplifying a poor example to be repeated “in perpetuum” but that is a thought for another day.
I would like to provide you with 3 “resources” if you are interested and they are…
- Watch and listen to Karen McCown and Anabel Jensen discuss “noble goals”
- Read what Joshua Freedman has to say about “noble goals”
- Watch and listen to Sean Rowe sing “To Leave Something Behind”
I would suggest you start with Sean Rowe because he will stir the most visceral reaction in you and reach you in your heart and soul instead of your head as you can see by the following lyrics…
“My friends I believe we are at the wrong fight
And I cannot read what I did not write
I’ve been to His house, but the master is gone
But I’d like to leave something behind
There is a beast who has taken my brain
You can put me to bed but you can’t feel my pain
When the machine has taken the soul from the man
It’s time to leave something behind”