When aptitude couples with attitude and meets opportunity, purpose is born.


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Arthur Berry
Arthur Berry

In the previous article I wrote about attacking the new year a bit older but a lot wiser. The experience of decisions made, both good and bad, leave a deposit in your bank of life. Not a residue, a deposit. There is a difference.

A residue is the remains of spent fuel and the waste when everything useful has been expended. A deposit is an available resource to fuel new endeavors. There is something to be learned from even a failed experience if nothing more than to never do that again. I have no idea whether the past year has been good or bad for you. I do know that regardless, there is a fresh beginning that can be built on the rubble if it was a bad year or another floor to be raised on the structure if it was a good year. Most likely, yours was both.

If you don’t start, it is absolutely certain you won’t arrive. You can’t get there if you don’t go there.

New Year’s Day is a great place to begin. It’s a perfect time to set some concrete and realistic objectives. But I encourage you to forsake setting them for the coming year. I will, however, challenge you to set them for your coming life. No one knows how much time they have left, not even the Mayans.

There is one thing certain; from the day you are born you are playing an end game. And it is sure that you have less time than you did a year ago. But this is not cause for dismay. Why?

Because even if you are one year shorter in your lifespan, you are one year wiser in living! Your library of experience is bigger and better stocked. You are free to try new things because you are more cognizant of those things that haven’t worked so well.

If your experience haven’t been as good as you like, your attitude may have taken a beating. You might be more cynical, less optimistic, even more fearful. However, a second wind blows life into embers nearly gone out, fans flame back into the embers, and stirs again the energy to have another go at it.

Plus, with another year behind you, your aptitude is even sharper. Your skills have improved, you are better aware of your gifts and abilities, and you can focus on strengths. Attitude is one part of the picture. Aptitude is another. There is a third piece.

When attitude combines with aptitude and faces opportunity, PURPOSE is born. The two parts of second wind are energy from an available fuel source and ability honed by years of trial and error. The rest of your life, which far over-extends a new year, holds the opportunity. What makes it worthwhile is purpose.

For too many of us, purpose is the next purchase, the coming game, or another night at the club. If purpose is the reason someone exists I have to ask, why do you exist?

“One who is all wrapped up in himself makes a very small package!”

Everyone has the potential to make an impact, leave a footprint, and build a legacy. May I be so bold (and some would say meddlesome) as to ask if you were to die right now, would anyone besides the credit card companies mourn your passing for long?

There is a whole lot more to life that the toys you accumulate or the entertainment you can enjoy. For what purpose do you strive? I can’t answer that, but I hope you can?

Arthur Barry was not your typical jewel thief. If you were a person of social significance in the 1920’s, you knew you had arrived if you were important enough to have been robbed by Arthur Barry.

One night, things went very wrong and the police intervened. They shot him three times. Lying there, bullets in his body, splinters of glass in his eyes, and in intense pain, he said, “I’m never gonna do this anymore.”

Amazingly, he escaped and spent the next three years on the lam when a jealous woman (he was quite a womanizer) turned him in and he spent 17 years in the penitentiary. When he got out, he kept his word and did not return to a life of crime. Settling in a small New England town, he became a model citizen. Eventually, the press discovered who he was and where he was. A reporter asked him who he stole from the most.

“That’s easy,” he answered. “The person I stole from more than anyone else was Arthur Barry. I could have been a successful businessman, a baron on Wall Street and a contributing member to society. Instead I chose the life of a thief and spent two-thirds of my adult life behind bars.”

Now, I am not suggesting that anyone who reads this is a jewel thief. I am however, suggesting these 6 things:

  1. The life you live now is a life of choice. Go ahead, admit it. Say it out loud, “I live a life of choice.” Others may have pressured, some may have suggested, but somewhere along the way, you made the choice to live how, where, and most importantly, why you live the way you do.
  2. You can choose something else. The choice may be difficult, costly, or complicated (or it may not), but you can choose a new course.
  3. There’s no time better than right now to choose a new path.
  4. There is nothing you can do about the past except make the future different.
  5. The person most negatively affected by your choices is yourself when you make choices that limit your potential, neglect planning, or short-change others.
  6. The person most positively affected by your choices is yourself when you make choices that expand your potential, include careful planning, and make others glad to see you come around..

Ok, let me ask it again. For what purpose do you strive?

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