- Personal Development -

The Big Why

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I believe passionately in the power of people to change the world for the better. For us to do that, though, we need to develop our best gifts and give them with gusto.

A few months ago, I had a clarifying moment about what I am doing with this magazine — and why.

I had been clear all along that it was about helping people become their best, healthiest, most authentic selves. But then, during the course of a self-inquiry exercise (the gist of which is, “keep asking why”), I asked myself, “So why does this matter so much to me?”

Why it matters, I realized, is that I believe passionately in the power of people to change the world for the better. For us to do that, though, we need to be healthy, happy and inspired enough to develop our best gifts and give them with gusto (for Bahram Akradi’s cool take on this concept, see “On Growth and Giving“).

Collectively, we are facing so many daunting social, environmental and economic challenges, and it seems clear to me that the solution to those problems is not going to come from folks who are exhausted, bored, self-loathing or weighed down by preventable health woes.

Nor are they going to come from folks who are isolated in their own little worlds and care exclusively about things like thin thighs and six-pack abs.

They are going to come from some seriously turbo-charged individuals who have enough energy and optimism to believe that anything is possible — and who then invest themselves in making the very best of those anythings happen.

What I’ve observed in my own life is that when I’m at my personal best, I experience a rush of creativity and spontaneous generosity. I take an authentic interest in the well-being of others. I feel in full possession of my best gifts, and I am compelled to use them. The people around me flourish, and start giving more of their gifts, too.

So what would happen, I keep wondering, if more of us spent more of our time — or even all of our time — in this lovely state? It’s a thought I played with in a feature I wrote last year at about this same time, “The Better Good Life” (April 2009), and it’s a thought that continues to occupy my mind today.

One thing I know is that it takes real support to get and stay in high-vitality mode. I still fall in and out of that mode all the time, depending in large part on how well I’m taking care of myself, how much fun I’m allowing myself to have, and how much space I’m giving myself for learning and relating and for creative flow.

The fact is, it can be tricky to keep all those plates spinning, particularly when you have a busy life with dozens of other to-dos competing for your time and focus.

I was recently a guest on Kristin and David Morelli’s “Everything Is Energy” Seattle radio show (www.everythingisenergy.com) and we talked about how people often beat themselves up for not doing the healthy things they know they’re “supposed” to be doing, and how that only tends to worsen a negative cycle (you can listen to a podcast of that interview in our media center).

One thing I pointed out during our conversation is that you don’t have to do everything all at once. Making even one small, feel-good change in your life (a change that feels energizing now) can often free up enough positive energy to propel you into making additional positive changes in other areas over time.

If you’re feeling like making any kind of meaningful change to your life is beyond your reach, ask yourself what it would take for you to get to a more abundant place. It may be taking better care of yourself, it may be facing an uncomfortable truth, it may be letting go of victim-thinking, or reconnecting with fun, or getting clearer about your own big “whys.”

One easy way to get some ideas and support for positive change is to sign up for our Take Action Challenge — a simple eight-week program we’re starting in May. You can learn more or sign up (it’s free!) at experiencelife.com/take-action.

In the meantime, I hope you enjoy this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together, and that you find as much inspiration as I did in the notion of giving your own personal best for the reasons that matter to you.

P.S. I’m now talking about all of this stuff and more in my Revolutionary Acts column. I hope you’ll join me there and add your ideas to the mix.

Pilar Gerasimo is the founding editor of Experience Life.

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