“Emptiness is a symptom that you are not living creatively. You either have no goal that is important enough to you, or you are not using your talents and efforts in striving toward an important goal. It is the person who has no purpose of his own who pessimistically concludes, “Life has no purpose.” It is the person who has no goal worth working for who concludes, “Life is not worthwhile.” It is the person with no important job to do who complains, “There is nothing to do.” ~ Maxwell Maltz, Psycho-Cybernetics …
With Oktoberfest still going on this week, I am reminded of the happiness we can find in sharing our lives with those around us, especially those closest to us. “Geben ist seliger denn Nehmen”–it is better to give than to receive. This sentiment is especially applicable here, for life is about giving and sharing; and if we lose sight of this important element of life, and neglect the opportunities to do so when they present themselves to us, we risk finding ourselves in the company of the emptiness that Maxwell is talking about here.
Emptiness in life is always a symptom of choice–whether or not we decide to set goals and work towards something that is important to us, or we determine that life is without purpose or value and that there are no goals worth working for. To choose the fullness of life involves us living it creatively and fully; it requires a level of risk and courage. And although many things may make it difficult for us to find the opportunity to be creative and daring, such as our jobs or our commitments, we do not have to spend our whole lives at work or wrapped up in our commitments.
Many of the happiest people I know are those who allow themselves to pursue things that interest them, to make it an important part of who they are and then share that passion with others in their lives. Doing so enables them to use their talents and abilities in productive and exciting ways that intrigue them, pique their interests, and beckon them to make use of the gifts they have. I remember reading an article once about a woman who started growing flowers and houseplants and then delivering them to shut-ins. This simple hobby of hers pulled her back from depression and despair and gave her something to look forward to in life.
Set goals and seek purpose and value in all you do. Most of us spend far too much time looking outside of ourselves for reasons to thrive, a strategy that ultimately fails to do much for us. Yet by fostering our unique gifts and talents within, we can come to live our lives more fully and discover new ways in which we can actually put them to use and experience greater benefit from them.
Put your talents to good use today.
Questions to consider:
Why do so many people neglect to make goals or work with their own special gifts?
What are some of your unique gifts? How might you put them to use to add a dynamic aspect to your life?
What is one important goal that you have not made yet because you are afraid you will not be able to reach it?
For further thought:
“If you observe a really happy man you will find him building a boat, writing a symphony, educating his son, growing double dahlias in his garden, or looking for dinosaur eggs in the Gobi desert. He will not be searching for happiness, as if it were a collar stud that has rolled under the dressing-table. He will not be striving for it as a goal in itself, nor will he be seeking it among the nebulous wastes of metaphysics. He will have become aware that he is happy in the course of living life twenty-four crowded hours of the day.” ~ W. Beran Wolfe, How to Be Happy Though Human