By Robert E. Quinn
When we approach life in terms of duty and survival, as we normally do, we tend to be filled with dread or other negative feelings. But the moment we define a meaningful purpose, our feelings change. We have a reason to be and to become.
Our purpose pulls us into a future of anticipated contribution. It thus becomes easier to move forward and increases the likelihood that we will successfully contribute. Recently I witnessed a dramatic illustration of this claim.
I was on vacation with my family. My son-in-law was reflecting on his imminent return to the last six weeks of his assignment in Bagdad. He was concerned about a number of issues and a little depressed.
Something remarkable happened after I asked him a simple yet profound question: What three activities really mattered—contributions only he could make activities that would leave a positive legacy.He identified three things immediately, and then paused for a second. “I feel better already,” he said. The shift was instantaneous and observable. He had a new focus and a new attitude. Instead of feeling dread, he was feeling the excitement that comes with positive anticipation. It was impressive.
What implications do you see in this story?