Article Title: Sharing Some Musings on "the Meaning of Life and Choosing one's Path in Life" (Updated)
Author: Craig Lock
Web Site: http://www2.webng.com/writernz/
Articles by Craig Lock: http://www.articlesbeyondbetter.com
(Writing, internet marketing, personal growth and words of inspiration)

Publishing Guidelines: We hope that the following article
(an extract from Craig's manuscript, STEPS TO SUCCESS, PROSPERITY AND HAPPINESS) may be informative and helpful to your e-zine readers, or on your web site. If it helps others "out there" in any way, then we're happy. This article (as with all my articles) may be freely published, electronically or in print.

"We share what we know, so that we and others may grow."

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THE MEANING OF LIFE ... AND CHOOSING ONE'S PATH IN LIFE

"There is no duty we so much underrate as the duty to be happy."
- Robert Louis Stevenson

"Life is a daring adventure, or nothing."
- Helen Keller

"I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to
me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I've got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible
before handing it on to future generations."
- George Bernard Shaw

Introduction: In this article I am sharing some deep thoughts in
the form of a "rather sane and thoughtful" extract from the first chapter of my very "wacky") manuscript STEPS TO SUCCESS, PROSPERITY AND HAPPINESS, which was written "many many moons" ago...
early in my writing "career". I hope that these "somewhat light-hearted" thoughts and quotations may be interesting, informative, enlightening, uplifting and perhaps even inspirational to you (as though having fun, they were to me when researching and writing these words encouraged me to embark on this unchartered path all those long years ago).

The "secrets" by someone who thinks he has now found them - by "throwing a double six", at long last - after many, many years of "sliding down the razor blade of life". Also after having had many detours and come to numerous 'cul-de-sacs' (dead ends) along the long and windy road that is life. Up hill and down dale, no - rather up mountain and down valley - that is the story of my life.

'Steps to Success...' is written for the ordinary "bloke" or woman in the street...

"The longest journey is the journey inward, for he who has chosen
his destiny has started upon his quest for the source of his
being."
- Dag Hammerskjold, Swedish or Danish politician and
United Nations Official, killed in an air accident many years ago.

"You will become as great as your dominant aspiration...
If you cherish a vision, a lofty ideal in your heart, you will realise it."
- James Allen in 'As a Man Thinketh' (Allen has a number of wonderful quotations which you will come across in this work. I think/ "metinks" he was an American psychologist).

"Destiny is not a matter of chance; It's a matter of choice.
It is not a thing to be waited for; It is a thing to be achieved."
- William Jennings Bryan

I write this as I contemplate life after going for a long
solitary walk along magnificent Makorori beach up the coast from
Gisborne on the East coast of New Zealand's North Island. The
stunning scenery never fails to inspire me in my writing. The beauty of New Zealand is great for writers (although there are no
unique tax advantages, as in Ireland). No wonder that country
produces so many renowned writers. Here are some of my thoughts, not that I'm one of those dreamy philosophical types, mind you (although I'm rather impractical, but I have a go at anything
anyway). Too much of an 'ACTION MAN' perhaps - the reason why I get into so many 'scrapes' and 'hairy' situations!

Your life is a precious gift, so make the most of it. Just being
alive to experience the joys of life is something so easy to take
for granted. Think about this: In exchange for appreciating the
beauty of living, ask yourself what contribution can you make to
the world? How can you create meaning and purpose in whatever
life hands you?

"Every great and commanding movement in the arenas of the world
are the triumph of enthusiasm. To try and fail is at least to
learn, to fail to try is to suffer the inestimable loss of what
might have been."
- R.W. Emerson. (Emerson was a famous American
philosopher who wrote a great many words of wisdom).

At least I tried to do it my way (not Frank Sinatra's) with ENTHUSIASM. Yes enthusiasm, together with the "other E's", energy and excitement, is the key. I think. That (enthusiasm) is probably my one saving grace that gets me through life! And also a positive attitude to keep bouncing back after being floored to the canvas (at least usually)...
*
The Meaning and Purpose of Life:

There are eight aspects of life which are vital to maintain our
emotional health and ultimately allow us to survive life's trials
and tribulations. But they also allow us to experience to the
fullest the joys and beauty of life. The four basic elements, I
believe, are as follows:

1.Your self image. This is vital!

2.Your inner strength or character.

3. Living with absolute INTEGRITY - just being totally yourself!

4.Your personal control or self discipline. Attitude and YOUR view of
reality.

5. The meaning of life... as you perceive it- that is having a sense of PURPOSE.
What motivates you, what presses your "hot buttons". What drives you? Ford, Chevrolet, Lincoln or Toyota?

6. This involves setting meaningful goals for your life and deriving satisfaction from moving toward these "stepping stones", your guideposts along the pathway of life...and take great pleasure from achieving your dominant goals!
It is open to each individual to choose the goal and go after it - doing this develops the growth and human essence known as character (see point 2).
What "desires of the soul" do you have?

7 ("lucky"). intelligence (also emotional)

and finally... and most importantly...

8. Your faith or spiritual element in your life, ie. your
relationship with a Supreme Being, a Higher Power, if you believe in one, that is. Success lies in the "Being" and "Becoming" all that you can possibly be and not necessarily in the "doing".
It just takes decision (often big ones) and commitment.
Enjoying life (could be the meaning of it ) is found in a success consciousness, or our patterns of thinking.

We'll go into some more of this "heavy stuff" later.

A question to "kick off": Why do you work? What are your
life-time goals? What do you stand for? What do you want your
children to tell their children about you? What do I want written
on my tombstone after my death? A "nutter", "wise", giving, helping others, "an incorrigible encourager" ??? How do I fit into my family, my company, my profession, my community, my country, the world?... What is my purpose in life? What meaning does my life have?

... and most importantly, WHO AM I (and this is not what you DO for
a living, eg. plumber, nurse, doctor, writer, etc)?

No matter how small and insignificant you may think you are in
the scheme of things, you can find some new meaning and purpose
in your life. What's your reason for being here on this planet?
Not just taking up space, or intaking oxygen, please!

You may be asking yourself this rather profound question
for some time, nevertheless. It could be just
waiting for you to exploit your hidden talents and to make your
little mark. You can make a difference to the world by putting
your unique stamp - a little bit of you on it. I truly believe
every one of us can do that, as every person has some unique gift to share with the world.

Remember the man without purpose is like a ship without a rudder.
Norman Vincent Peale* said the following wise words: "Everyone
can put to good use their own little bits of time, talent,
influence, ambition, energy and weave them into lives of beauty,
of goodness and rare value." ...and I wholeheartedly agree with
him.

* A Christian minister and author of 'The Power of Positive
Thinking' and numerous other books. A very good man and excellent writer.

Life is a matter of CHOICES and DECISIONS.
Some years ago I decided to attempt to be a writer of "inspirational material" with an aim to help and encourage others. So...

* Who and what do you really want to be?

* If money were no object, what would I really love to do with my life?
Be a writer!
"Get a proper job, man!"
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YOUR VALUES:

Your grand purpose in life will stem from your unique
personality and your innermost values. This is what you really
believe are the foundations to your life - the deepest thoughts
of your innermost being. These are very personal and intimate:
they are your hopes, beliefs, dreams and innermost thoughts about
life. They will determine the patterns of your thoughts and
consequently your actions. Your values clarify what you want in
your life and how to create it. They will determine your life
goals. In my previous "career" I had a great conflict of values
between making money through sales and my broader humanitarian
instincts (now I'm doing both - funny the way life turns out!). I
definitely don't like the corporate emphasis purely on monetary
profit (ie. results and sales). On analysing and writing down my
values, I found a clear path ahead to put them into practice and
to achieve what I saw as my purpose in life. I also tried to tie
them into my great interests (like sport)...and passions through my writings. In my present work I hope to be of help to others and this gives me great satisfaction. The 'hustle and bustle' and
'ego-tripping'/'empirebuilding' of the corporate world gave me minimal satisfaction; so I'm very pleased to be out of it. That
is as long as I can still make a living doing it my way...
We'll see what happens!
*

A final thought (or two)...
Perhaps there is no ONE answer to the meaning of life. Perhaps , like the definition of success, it's a personal "thing" (perspective) and depends on individual outlooks to life.

Perhaps the meaning of life lies in challenging the human spirit (unquenchable and indominatable) in overcoming adversity, to TEST and expand it beyond our perceived horizons. Enrich the life spirit given you.

In your life will you have made YOUR spark glow more brightly?

Craig Lock ("Incorrigible Encourager/People-builder, Information and Inspiration distributor")
http://www.craiglockbooks.com

"For me true success may be measured by the fortitude, with which
so many ordinary people around the globe overcome numerous
seemingly insurmountable obstacles through sheer force of
character and indominatable spirit. They rise above the severest
adversity down the often rocky journey of life. Unheralded, yet with
an unquenchable and infinite generosity of human
spirit, these are lives of greatness and souls who are the true
heroes of this world."
- Craig Lock (13th August 2004)

"God creates us with different gifts. Each one of us comes into the world with a different collection of life circumstances that often severely challenge us, things that give us joy and in expressing our talents allow us to bless the people, the world around us."
- craig

"Our Greatest Good is perhaps not to achieve wealth and share our material possessions, our money and 'riches' with others, but through encouragement and faith in other people, to lay the firm foundation of revealing the rich treasure that lies within themselves."
- craig

About the author:
In his life mission of studying the workings of the human mind, Craig hopes to help, encourage, motivate, uplift and perhaps even inspire people to be their best through realising their full potentials and have fun at the same time.
http://www2.webng.com/writernz/

Hard-copies and e-books, fiction and nonfiction: self help, novels, travel, humour, writing, inspiration and money management

All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children - MINE!

THIS ARTICLE MAY BE FREELY PUBLISHED

Author's Bio: 

In his life mission of studying the workings of the human mind, Craig hopes to help, encourage, motivate, uplift and perhaps even inspire people to be their best through realising their full potentials and have fun at the same time.
http://www2.webng.com/writernz/