“The uncommitted life isn’t worth living.” – Marshall Fishwick
We have now evaluated a classification system for societal roles and the main factors in a decision on cultural or societal purpose. Next we move on to success factors. The first is of course an optimal selection process such as I outlined at the end of the last post. One can convert that narrative into a customized algorithm which pinpoints one’s unique starting point assuming a precise calculus is followed. Table 6 in the appendix proposes one version of a charting technique the reader might consult (this will serve as the December 28, 2021 post). The other success factors can be derived logically and include: (1) commitment, (2) patience/time, (3) flexibility –especially adaptability and resourcefulness, (4) enjoyment, (5) realistic expectations, and (6) intention (rather than accident or default).
Starting with commitment or persistence, every aspect of the pursuit of a societal purpose demands devotion to one’s project. First there will be the acquisition of skills necessary to the purpose. Consider for example the years of study, lessons, and practice needed to become a great musician. Each of us will face periods of fatigue, monotony, and doubt as we acquire the capabilities required of our chosen calling or profession. Once those skills are developed one must persevere in obtaining a position in which to deploy them to fulfill one’s purpose and seeing it to completion . We saw in an earlier blog how Jean Kirkpatrick, the first woman to hold the post of the United States representative to the United Nations, asserted that purpose is commitment, and commitment depends not mainly on specific talents or abilities, but rather on character, that is, one of virtue. Such character defines a person’s primary achievement in a meaningful life in her opinion.1
Similar to commitment is patience; we simply cannot rush our chosen purpose. I was deeply awed and inspired by the story of Kate DiCamillo, an author of children’s books who has sold over 37 million copies of 25 different novels. I became aware of her while watching a PBS Newshour televised after she was chosen to be the American National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature in 2014 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dV-_mrUkh5Q ). This remarkable woman began writing her fiction at age 30 often getting up at 4:00 AM to write before going to her regular job at a book warehouse. She succeeded only after receiving an unimaginable 473 rejection letters! Of course the obverse side of the patience coin is having sufficient time to achieve one’s goal, so it pays to start at a young enough age and make the effort to stay healthy enough to live a sufficient lifetime.
(continued next post)
1See post on this site PURPOSE AND THE MEANINGFUL LIFE – OTHERS – FAMILY – PART III, dated 7/30/2021.