Meaning

The sixth and final post in the series on my experience with the high-concept, high-touch aptitudes presented in Dan Pink’s A Whole New Mind, that are needed to bring us into the new conceptual era.  Check the original post for background.

I have finally arrived at the last post.  I think this last aptitude -MEANING- had been weighing on me in a slightly intimidating way, like a heavy overcoat that keeps me warm but is slightly cumbersome.  It has delayed my arrival to the writing board. Perhaps if I were to approach it in a more light-hearted fashion, like a thin, comfy sweater that works well in any season, it wouldn’t be so hard to grapple with.  In fact, maybe Dan Pink saved the best aptitude for last.  His pitch for having meaning in our lives was pretty simple.  We don’t need to look at meaning like a heavy item that weighs us down even though we know it’s crucial to our happiness.  If we integrate it into our every day, it becomes light and easy, and fulfills us in a very natural way.  But it is not something that just shows up on our doorstep.  We need to go out and cultivate it, then invite it in and create a warm, hospitable environment so it stays awhile and becomes part of our being.

I often feel this question can sometimes be a generational marker.  The generation above me might not have learned to appreciate this question in the same way that my generation has.  Life was about survival, providing for the family, doing what you had to do to get things done and giving it your best fight to keep the family unit in tact.  Whether or not life had meaning along the way didn’t seem to be a relevant topic.  Maybe it was just a lucky bonus if, within the ups and downs of life, meaning somehow crept in and made its mark along the way.   It wasn’t always looked upon as practical or realistic. Well Pink would tell us that  it is tangible, obtainable, and quite frankly, essential for living a life of joy and contentment.  And meaning is what is going to help take us into the conceptual era, where right brained aptitudes will need to complement the left-brained tendencies of the informational era.

Returning to the initial goal of relating these six aptitudes to my experience in Portugal, this last one- meaning- was definitely a driving force in the decision to temporarily leave my California life  behind and  live abroad during my late twenties.  I departed with no notion of what the trip would come to signify or invite into my life, but I did leave with a curiosity and interest in exploring meaning.  I wanted to discover and experiment with a different lifestyle, to play with another existence of sorts, to challenge the traditional path and possibly to find where I fit within it.  Simply put, I wanted to live my life with meaning, and for me at that moment, it meant leaving this American life behind and starting another one, or maybe the same one, somewhere else.

It’s hard to even write about a topic that seems to be so broad and elusive, as it means so many different things to each one of us. I think the point is that it is something that hopefully all of us recognize is a matter that we have to be conscious about, to give precedence to.  Many times it is too late when we arrive at a point in our lives that calls us to reflect back on our  past experiences and  we stumble upon the question of meaning. What was it all about?

Living a life that has meaning, for you, is a life worth living.  Go out and seek, question, create, cultivate.  Find that comfy sweater that you want to put on all year round, the one that fits you well and suits you no matter the climate.  The one that, once you’ve found it, you can’t live without. That’s meaning.

Thanks Dan Pink for a great read, great reflection, and inspiring me to share your work with my community.  I urge my readers to pick up a copy of A Whole New Mind for all of the fun tips Pink gives at the end of each chapter’s aptitude on how to practice what he preaches.  My series has concluded but I hope to live my life with more focus and intention on these right-brained  aptitudes!

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~ by maureenmoore on January 17, 2010.

One Response to “Meaning”

  1. Mo-
    Have really enjoyed reading your reflections on Pink’s concepts.
    thanks for the journey!

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