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The Optimism Advantage: 50 Simple Truths to Transform Your Attitudes and Actions into Results by Terry L. Paulson

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Chapter 4. The Optimistic Power of Purpose

"It is one of the most beautiful compensations of this life that no one can sincerely try to help another without helping themselves."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We now can appreciate that life is difficult—both on and off the job—and that optimists can and do choose to be resilient survivors, not victims. But life is more than a series of disconnected challenges and opportunities. It can provide significant meaning and is best experienced as a journey with a purpose in mind.

A farmer once confided to me, "The problem with our children today is that they are not needed. On the farm every kid was needed, and they learned to deal with life and overcome every obstacle life dealt." Children need to know they are needed. We all need to know we make a difference; we need the power that a sense of purpose can provide.

"Don't let yourself wake up in three years and say, 'I'm three years older, and I just happened to get here.' Clarify your vision, so that you can grow into it."

Terri Lonier

Psychologist and author of Learned Optimism Martin Seligman added his appreciation for the power that purpose can provide: "Optimism, . . . by itself, cannot provide meaning. Optimism is a tool to help the individual achieve the goals he has set for himself. It is in the choice of the goals themselves that meaning— or emptiness—resides. When learned optimism is coupled with a renewed commitment to the commons, our epidemic of depression and meaninglessness may end." In ...

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