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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Day 3: What drives your life?

The Day 3 chapter opens with a discussion of things that drive people in their lives, including:
  • guilt
  • resentment and anger
  • fear
  • materialism
  • the need for approval
While I could relate to the last three, I have to say it is a very short and negative list. In relation to this question I have found the six human needs theory (again by Anthony Robbins, see quite compelling. According to this theory the six human needs are:
  • security
  • variety
  • significance
  • connection / love
  • growth
  • contribution
When I look at this list I can also see how my actions have been driven by these needs.

The chapter then goes through the benefits of a purpose driven life:
  • gives meaning to your life
  • simplifies and focuses your life - you can concentrate on activities that accord with your purpose
  • motivate you
  • prepares you for eternity
In relation to this lasts point, Rick Warren explains that on judgement day God will ask you two questions:

  1. What did you do with my son, Jesus Christ?
  2. What did you do with what I gave you? (This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine)
The question to consider for this chapter is what do I want my driving force to be? Well, I would like it to be something positive - to achieve my purpose.

Day 2: A Postscript - Coincidences

While mucking about on the internet yesterday looking for stuff on free will, I also came across a Jewish website called Aish ( It had an item called Modern Miracles about the proverb “coincidence is God's way of choosing to remain anonymous.” ( I had always thought the whole coincidence thing was just hippy new age rubbish, I didn't know it actually stemmed from religion. The author made the point that "Faith however allows us to understand that in a world governed by an All-seeing God there cannot be room for blind chance."

Last night during the footy, an ad came on with kids signing "this little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine" and I thought, that's what Day 2 is all about - letting your light shine. As it was a coincidence that I even saw the ad (it was my husband Michael watching the footy while I was mainly surfing the internet), I concluded that this was a message from God to confirm my thoughts in my Day 2 blog.

That may sound crazy, but I subscribe to Anthony Robbins theory (refer his book Unlimited Power) that it doesn't matter whether something you believe is true or not, it just matters whether it is empowering or not.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Day 2: I am not an accident

This chapter talks about how God creates all of us, prescribing everything about us - how we look, our abilities and talents, our personality. God decides when you are born and when you die.

When I read this I first had trouble with it. I can accept that God decides when you are born but there is so much you can do to affect when you die, eg diet, exercise, smoking, risky activies such as rock climbing. So, if you smoke too much you are likely to get lung cancer. But then I realised that people get treated for lung cancer and live, so I can accept that God decides when you die, but you decide how well you live.

The concept is taken further however with this quote of Psalm 139:16:

"You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe."

But if everything that is going to happen to you is already worked out, why bother trying to do anything and what part does free will play?

To get some help with this I turned to Google. A number of pages say that this is a paradox that people are unable to comprehend. This, to me, sounds like a cop out. The best page I found was one called Psalm 139:16 and Predestination ( which explains that the original verse was difficult to translate and so the idea of it being that God has every day of your life planned is a guess. Instead the point of the Psalm is that the author is acknowledging that God knows everything about him and he is asking for guidance to do the right thing. This makes far more sense to me.

When I was attending the Purpose Driven Life group at church (which I went to in the lead up to getting married but haven't quite made it back since), I remember the Reverand saying that God gave people free will so they can choose whether to love Him or not.

There needs to be an element of chance there for God, otherwise we are not making the choice, He is making the choice for us.

In any case, this is just a diversion from the whole point of the chapter - the notion that God has a purpose for me and has created me to fulfil that purpose, giving me everything I need to fulfil that purpose. So I should embrace who I am and use my talents so then I will be fulfilling my purpose or at least getting closer to it.

P.S. I've just realised the book is not called 40 Days of Purpose, its actually called "The Purpose Driven Life" by Rick Warren.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Forty Days of Purpose: Day 1

In the spirit of AJ Jacobs who lived biblically for a year as an experiment (see previous post) and because I have just been reminded of it, I've decided to dive into the 40 Days of Purpose book. I figure if AJ Jacobs can live biblically for a year, I can live 40 Days of Purpose for 40 days.

The book is in six sections. The first section, called "What on Earth am I here for?", has a quote on the title page of Jeremiah 17:7-8:

"Blessed are those who trust the Lord ...
They are like trees planted along a riverbank, with roots that reach deep into the water. Such trees are not bothered by the heat or worried by long months of drought. Their leaves stay green, and they go right on producing delicious fruit."

I realised when reading this that I do not "trust the Lord", instead I trust my work to keep paying me if I turn up and work, so I continue to do so even though I don't enjoy it and feel like I am contributing nothing to the world.

Day 1 is titled "It All Starts with God". It talks about how God created the world and all of us. Asking yourself what you think your purpose is, setting goals, etc won't work because it is God who determines your purpose. You may reach your goals, but you won't necessarily be following God's purpose for you.

Instead you discover your purpose through a relationship with Jesus. Your purpose has been decided by God alone. Your purpose fits into an overall grand plan.

I can accept that I cannot work out my purpose. I'm pushing forty and, inspite of reading a library of self-help books, I'm still lost. So why not try things from a new perspective.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What matters to you, matters

The other day I was watching an old episode of "Big Ideas" (taped off Australia's ABC1 TV station). Jonathan Safron Foer was on reading from his book "Eating Animals" (his speech can also be read here: What made the biggest impression on me was the incident during the war when his grandmother was given some pork and didn't eat it, inspite of the fact that she was starving and it could save her life. She didn't eat it because it wasn't kosher and she told her grandson "If nothing matters, there's nothing to save."

Today I got on the ted website ( and watched a few of videos.

The first video I watched was A.J. Jacobs' year of living bibically ( This guy wrote out all the rules in the bible and lived by them for a year - he even stoned (well, threw a pebble at) an adulterer. I like his attitude of running experiments with his life, to see how things work out, rather than just dismissing things. One of his conclusions from this experiment was that it doesn't matter whether things are true or not true, rational or irrational, as long as they don't hurt anybody.

The second video I watched was Rick Warren on a life of purpose ( This is the guy who wrote the book "The Purpose Driven Life", which I have read and attended a group, however that was nearly 4 years ago and it all went a bit fast for me, so I can't really remember much about it. One of the things Rick says in this video is that God created you and is happy when you do the things he designed you to do. So you should do the stuff you are good at and that you enjoy.

The third video I watched was Rory Sutherland: Life lessons from an ad man ( He talked about how advertising is about changing peoples' perceptions about things so they place a higher value on them and enjoy them more. He recommended not trying to change reality (which can be difficult and time consuming) and instead just changing how you perceive things.

This is what I get out of all of the above:
  • its important to have things that matter to you
  • don't discount things that are important to you because they are not important to someone else
  • people use a wide variety of paradigms to explain why things are important to them (the main two I can think of are science and religeon). This being the case, it doesn't really matter why the things that matter to you, matter to you - if it matters to you that you have a reason, select what matters to you first and find the reason second.
  • something said by a woman I have never met 30-40 years ago, a woman had no public life - was not an author / CEO / celebrity, can influence how I live my life now. That being the case, how I live my life now, could influence how people in future live and I want that influence to be positive.