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4 steps to a more meaningful life, by Eric Barker


Stashed in: Goals!, Manifestos, Meaning of Life, Life, The Internet is my religion., @bakadesuyo, #happiness, Happiness, Awesome, @aaker

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Great post by Eric Barker.

My favorite parts below, or read the whole thing yourself.

1) What do you want the story of your life to be?

It’s your funeral. After a long life, the end has come. What do you want the people who love you to be saying about you? About what you accomplished? About the difference you made in their lives?

Got a few thoughts? Congratulations, you now have long term goals. Work backwards and make those things happen.

Via Richard Wiseman’s excellent book 59 Seconds: Change Your Life in Under a Minute:

Asking people to spend just a minute imagining a close friend standing up at their funeral and reflecting on their personal and professional legacy helps them to identify their long-term goals and assess the degree to which they are progressing toward making those goals a reality.

Hey — stop reading. Do the exercise. Stop whining. It takes one minute.

2) What if the story you live your life by isn’t working?

When your vision of your life story isn’t clicking, you can end up depressed.

But you can change the story you tell yourself about your life and correct this.

Psychotherapists actually help people “rewrite” their stories and this process is as, if not more, effective than medication.

Reflect on the different ways your life could have gone. Believing that the way things did work out was “meant to be” and appreciating the benefits of that journey can add a deeper feeling of meaning to your life.

More on the power of storytelling from Jennifer Aaker here.

3) Stories give guidance when times are hard.

Howard Suber, UCLA Film School professor and author of  The Power of Film explains that seeing our lives through a story can give us guidance.

More notes on that here:

http://pandawhale.com/post/17730/interview-ucla-film-school-professor-howard-suber-explains-how-you-can-be-a-better-storyteller

4) What if the new story of your life sounds fake?

Maybe your new story doesn’t ring true. Don’t worry; you can make it true.

Starting now, go and be the story you tell yourself.

Again, Timothy Wilson:

…the “do good, be good” method. It capitalizes on the tried-and-true psychological principle that our attitudes and beliefs often follow from our behaviors, rather than precede them. As Kurt Vonnegut famously wrote, We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful about what we pretend to be. People who do volunteer work, for example, often change their narratives of who they are, coming to view themselves as caring, helpful people. 

Be the story you tell yourself. Be the best version of you.

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