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How and Why Life Is More Than You, Me & Glee

“Whoa, who does this chick think she is for knockin’ Glee like that?! “

Well, I’m not here to waste time rambling on about a TV show (Which I haven’t actually seen. I know I live under a rock). I’m here to talk a little about the Scope of Life and what it is that really gives our existence Meaning and Purpose.

First, let me tell you what Meaning and Purpose in Life is not about:

It’s not the places you’ve been.

It’s not the people you know.

It’s not the experiences you’ve had.

It’s not the talents you possess.

It’s not the money you earn from doing what you love.

It’s not the personality that makes you, YOU.

“Wait, what? Isn’t that pretty much what you talk about on here Lo?”

Hold on a second! Bare with me here.

You see, the Meaning and Purpose of our existence isn’t necessarily those things themselves, but rather,

What We Do With Them.

Professor Morrie Shwartz told Mitch Albom on one of their Tuesday sessions that “So many people walk around with a meaningless life. They seem half-asleep, even when they’re busy doing things they think are important. This is because they’re chasing the wrong things. The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

Morrie’s words here are priceless. They’re words I try to live my life by and try to incorporate and keep in mind when it comes to every project I embark on, place I go, and person I meet. And you know what? Doing that is working out pretty good for not just me these days, but for a few others as well!

Let me give you some examples:

It’s not just the Personality that Makes You, You.

FREE HUGS!!! The ever-so-awesome, all-around-good-guy, big-loving, free-hugging Juan Mann started the Free Hugs Campaign one day when he was feeling a little down and decided to cheer himself up by walking around with a sign offering FREE HUGS.

You know you’d take the Hug! Who doesn’t love a good hug?!

Since then, the Free Hugs Campaign began –  meeting in a city near where you can Pass it On and Hug a Stranger! Check out the Free Hugs Campaign site and sign up to be part of the movement that’s hugged millions of people around the world.

There are endless ways to simply make who you are and the message you want to send be a cause and a force for good.

It’s Not Just the People You Know

It doesn’t matter if you have 30,000 Twitter Followers are 5 best friends two of whom are siblings you  hang out with at a local coffee shop 24/7 singing songs about Smelly Cats in Grenich Village.

What matters is what you do with those friends, those followers, those readers. Do you support them? Do you help them? Do you inspire them by sharing with them your own efforts for your own causes.

Life isn’t a popularity contest of pure numbers, but rather a constant opportunity of how you can leverage those numbers, big or small, to create change, share ideas, do good, and learn from one another.

It’s Not Just the Experiences You’ve Had

Experiences are what help us learn, grow, and come into our own. They also help us to find out what is important to us, what drives us, and what it is that ultimately will give us Purpose and Meaning in our lives. So, once you’ve had these experiences, what is it that you’ll do with what you’ve taken away from them?

Kristen Duda, Program Director for National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI), immediately used the experiences and lessons she took with her after getting her masters in Social Work at the University of Michigan. Less than a year later she went on to lead the coordination of a community-wide walk in Washington D.C. this past October that raised almost $20,000 dollars for NAMI.

This is a great example of someone using their experiences and the knowledge taken from them to make something outstanding happen.

It’s Not Just the Talents You Possess

You know what Robert DeNiro’s character told his son in the classic movie A Bronx Tale? (Great movie by the way)

The saddest thing in life is wasted talent.

A few years back the (very awesome) band Dispatch performed Dispatch: Zimbabwe, a benefit concert at The Garden in NYC. Every cent of earnings made from ticket sales went directly to charities that are fighting disease, famine and social injustice.

But really, the lesson besides you should listen to their music, is that this group used what they’re good at to help a cause they cared for in a bigger than life way. They used their talents and gifts to inspire, create, and move.

It’s Not the Money You Earn From Doing What You Love.

One of my all time favorite bloggers and now recently book author, Chris Guillebeau (by the way Chris I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now and I still don’t know how to say your last name!) is a true role model to myself and others in this area.

Author of the popular blog and book, The Art of Nonconformity, Chris is giving 100% of his author proceeds to his charity project in Ethiopia for every reader he met along his Nonconventional Book Tour (which covered 50 states and 10 provinces!)

So, What Is Life About?

Life is and isn’t a lot of things. We have control over both. Let’s not live it half-asleep when we have the opportunity to do BIG THINGS just by being good friends, by going places, by using our talents, by doing what we love, and by doing what you’re good at.

How do you plan to leverage these things to do good, create change, and make things happen in your own life? What are you doing to give your existence Purpose and Meaning?


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About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives.

Share with me what you're getting into that matters to you. It could be stepping into entrepreneurial pursuits, embarking on a journey of the self, making a crazy life change, or even if you're totally stuck. I want to connect with, support, collaborate with, and learn from as many people as possible through this blog (that means you!) Click the *Share* link in the main menu and let's connect by filling out the form.

"What you seek is seeking you."

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About Lauren Rains

Hi my name is Lauren Rains. I write about the human experience. Through thick and thin, I’m dedicated to growth, adventure, integrity, and love. The Mad To Live is based on my pursuits, experiments, research, and lessons of challenge and triumph in all areas of life, including being entrepreneur, a writer, a philosopher, a traveler, a teacher, a student, a creative, a friend, a daughter, a sister, a significant other, a stranger and the list goes on. At the end of the day, I believe human beings are here for two reasons: 1.) to love one another with total acceptance, and 2.) to see what we’re made of as we create the possibilities for an abundant life for ourselves and for others. No more bullshit, let's just enjoy our lives. Share with me what you're getting into that matters to you. It could be stepping into entrepreneurial pursuits, embarking on a journey of the self, making a crazy life change, or even if you're totally stuck. I want to connect with, support, collaborate with, and learn from as many people as possible through this blog (that means you!) Click the *Share* link in the main menu and let's connect by filling out the form. "What you seek is seeking you."

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  • Lauren, this was an awesome entry! I thoroughly enjoyed every minute of it and you brought up tons of great points 🙂 Living this way will certainly lead to a happy life, no matter how much money one may earn. You’re on the right path, keep moving towards it!

    And I like this new comment section =D

    • Thanks Alan! there are so many opportunities out there to make a difference and do something kicks as you very well know yourself firsthand. It’s so cool you got to be part of the free hugs campaign in NY!

      its so easy to feel its impossible to make a difference in the world big or small. But oftentimes all it takes is something as simple as a post-it note 😉 we can all do so much with our own unique strengths

  • Jessica

    Great post L. It’s all true and nice to see and read and be inspired 😉 We all can be better individuals, it doesn’t really take much if you think about it…

  • Hey Jess!

    I totally agree 🙂 Although, as far as FREE HUGS goes, I’m not sure what would happen if you walked around Tiananmen Square with a sign saying Free Hugs in Chinese. I’d love to see people’s reactions of film.. “Shummmmaaaaa?????!?!?!” (I know I butchered that Pinyin lol)

    But as far as this post goes, when you guys come out of China with taking away all your experiences, travels, chinese-speaking ability, and just general knowledge about the greater world and how it works, things will just come naturally as to how you end up using them to make a difference in the future 🙂

  • MaRk BoNsIGnOrE

    Reading your blog is like going to church, besides the fact that it’s Sunday today haha.
    I’m not a religious person but after a week of getting through whatever you got to get through (especially for someone like me who just got back to the country a few weeks ago and is having trouble finding a job and starting something), it’s real comforting to sit down and read something that assures me that everything will be ok as long as you believe in yourself and what your trying to accomplish in life. Reading your blog every week helps me out and i’m sure a lot of others.

    Keep up the great work Lauren!

    P.S. Go to Tian’an Men with the Hug Sign Jess and record it for us ha

    Mark

    • Hey Mark!!

      Thanks for the kind words 🙂 Yea these days it can be tough finding a job, especially when you’re readjusting to coming back to the states . I’m on the same page as you already know!
      But in the meantime, why not get started on some of your own projects like that Urban Planning Blog you’ve been talking about doing!!! 🙂

      PS – Jess I’m with Mark. Do It!

  • carole

    you’re right, it’s easy to make a difference, we just need to get off our butts and do it. thanks for reminding me.

    • Hey Carole!
      No problemo! 🙂 Would love to hear what you’re doing to make a difference!

  • nora

    hey lauren ,i am nora 🙂

    • Hey Nora!
      How’s it going?! Sometimes I miss Beijing I have to tell you! I got some Chinese food the other day, and it just is not nearly as good! 😛
      Thanks for stopping by my blog! And keep practicing that english!!!! You were on a roll (doing better and better) when I left 🙂