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Study Skills


Purpose here is used in the sense of a mission or reason for personal existence. There is no definitive approach to determining purpose. Those who believe that people exist by virtue of a deity’s or nature’s design have the problem of trying to know the deity’s or nature’s intent. Some seek solace in scriptures or gurus or prophets and may face problems of faith. Atheists and nihilists may sooner or later be faced with their own egoism.   They are open to identity crises: if I exist only for myself, then who am I? Either belief system has an inherent dilemma that befuddles each of us sooner or later.

Sometimes when people ask themselves what purpose there is in life, they are in crisis. A lasting feeling of purposelessness indicates the need for medical, mental health, or pastoral assistance. Dealing with depression, anxiety, burnout, or personal or community disaster requires professional help. For those of us who occasionally need to step back to take a look at what we are doing, or who are looking for a way to make a positive change, the following may be useful.

A productive approach is to identify activities or aspects of our lives that are satisfying and aligned with our needs and values. We can ask of ourselves:

Answers to the above questions may give us some ideas as to how to achieve the balance, joy, happiness, peace, security, excitement, love, or independence that we are seeking. What follows are some steps to help

Daily Praxis

Translating ideas into action is best done daily. Consistency builds momentum. Here are suggested steps.

  1. List your "Must Do" items. This rids you of brain-clutter, sets the groundwork for improved focus, and also ensures important tasks are remembered.
  2. Review your goals. Reviewing your goals helps to focus on what is really important. What would have to happen to make this week perfect? What events or accomplishments would please you the most over the next three to six months?  If you were to look back on your life three to five years from now, what might you say made everything worthwhile?
  3. Add any tasks that will help to achieve these goals to your “Must Do” list.
  4. Prioritize 3 must do’s. Now that you have a Must Do list, ask yourself: "What can I do right now that will have the most impact on achieving my goals?" or “If I could get 3 things done today that would make me happy with my accomplishments, what would they be?”  Check mark or highlight or otherwise focus on these items.
  5. Delegate, schedule, do your priorities. DELEGATE: if someone else can and will do your task satisfactorily, get them to do it. This effectively multiplies your time and effort. SCHEDULE: If a task is best done on a particular day or at a particular time, schedule it (include follow up on delegated tasks). Of any remaining priorities, DO IT. When priorities are delegated, scheduled, or done, take time to celebrate. Reward is a great motivator - but does not have to be expensive.
  6. Trash it and move on. Get rid of anything on your Must Do list that does not move you toward your goals. If you have time, go back to step 4.

Removing Barriers

Distractions and Daydreaming

When you find yourself daydreaming or doing something that is not a priority, add the task or thought to your must do list, and go back to accomplishing your priorities.

Fear / Lack of Self Confidence

Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich asserted that the greatest barrier separating a person from their goal is lack of self confidence. He offered the following formula for developing self-confidence.

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