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Self-Esteem: Living Purposefully

In his sensational book The Six Pillars Of Self-Esteem Nathaniel Branden discusses:

  1. The practice of living consciously
  2. The practice of self-acceptance
  3. The practice of living self-responsibility
  4. The practice of self-assertiveness
  5. The practice of living purposefully
  6. The practice of personal integrity

The third pillar I am going to discuss is living purposefully. This article simply includes some of the key quotes and questions from his book. You can read about living consciously here and self-resposnibility here.

If you want it to work, you must make it your conscious purpose that it work…..Leave hoping and wishing for children.

To live without purpose is to live at the mercy of chance – the chance event, the chance phone call, the chance encounter – because we have no standard by which to judge what is or is not worth doing. Outside forces bounce us along, like a cork floating on water, with no initiative of our own to set a specific course. Our orientation to life is reactive rather than proactive. We are drifters.

To live purposefully is to use our powers for the attainment of goals we have selected

To live purposefully is, among other things, to live productively

It is not the degree of a persons productive ability that matters here but the persons choice to exercise such ability as he she possesses. Nor is it the kind of work selected that it important.

The purposes that move us need to be specific if they are to be realised. I cannot organise my behaviour optimally if my goal is “to do my best”. The assignment is too vague.

To live purposefully is to be concerned with these questions:

  1.  What am I trying to achieve?
  2. How am I trying to achieve it?
  3. Why do I think these means are appropriate?
  4. Does the feedback from the environment convert that I am succeeding or failing?
  5. Is there new information that I need to consider?
  6. Do I need to make adjustments in my curse, or in my strategy, or in my practices? Do my goals and purposes need to be rethought?

Thus, to live purposefully means to live at a high level of consciousness.

If my goal is to have a successful relationship, what must I do? What actions are needed to create and sustain trust, intimacy, continuing self-disclosure, excitement, growth?

To live purposefully and productively requires that we cultivate within ourselves a capacity for self-discipline.

A purposeful, self-disciplined life does not mean a life without time or space for rest, relaxation, recreation, random or even frivolous activity.

What Living Purposefully Entails

  • Taking responsibility for formulating one’s goals and purposes consciously
  • Being concerned to identify the actions necessary to achieve ones goals
  • Monitoring behaviour to check that it is in alignment with ones goals
  • Paying attention to the outcomes of ones actions, to know whether they are leading where one wants to go

If our purposes are to be purposes and not daydreams, we need t ask: How do I get there from here? What actions are necessary? What sub purposes must be accomplished on the way to my ultimate purpose?

The root of our self-esteem is not in our achievements but those internally generated practices that, among other things make it possible for us to achieve – all the self-esteem virtues we are discussing here.

Sentence-Completions to Facilitate Living Purposefully

  • Living purposefully to me means……
  • If I bring 5 percent more purposefulness to my life today…..
  • If I bring 5 percent more purposefulness to my relationships, my marriage, my children, my friends……

Living purposefully is a fundamental orientation that applies to every aspect of our existence. It means that we live and act by intention. It is a distinguishing characteristic of those who enjoy a high level of control over their life.