Life Purpose v Living Purposefully

“It is never too late to be what you might have been.” George Eliot

There are many people who feel intimidated by or resistant to the concept of a life calling. Maybe you do too. Do you worry that having a life purpose means surrendering to a higher power and giving up control of how you spend your time? Do you worry that your life purpose will end up being something unpleasant or taxing? What if your life purpose turns out to be draining or boring? What if it demands more than you are willing or able to give in time, energy and commitment?

These types of fears are completely groundless. If you could poll everyone on the planet who believes they are living their true life purpose, I bet they would all say the same thing: “I’m so HAPPY!”
Everyone who dares to live their life purpose describes it along the lines of “coming home” or “doing what I was born to do.” They do what matters most to them, they enjoy it fully, and it fits perfectly with the rest of their lives.

That’s not to say that a few sacrifices won’t be necessary at times, but I think you’ll find that they are not overly painful or difficult. In fact, they may be downright freeing once you let go of your fear and doubt.
Please don’t worry that living your purpose means you have to give up control of your life. You are always in control of your own life, purpose or no purpose!

In fact, I want to encourage you to adopt a new outlook for your life – that of “living with purpose” rather than “having a purpose”.

Living purposefully means CHOOSING your purpose. Choosing how you spend your time. Choosing how you will use your natural talents to create more joy and meaning for yourself and others.

Even if you believe that your life purpose is pre-destined, this new outlook can still work for you because you’ll automatically choose the path that has already been laid out before you.

Do You Really Need a Purpose?

If you are one of those people mentioned earlier who doesn’t worry about having a life purpose, you may wonder what all the fuss is about. Is a life purpose even necessary?

Some people would say that everyone has a purpose whether they know it or not. But is it a bad thing to be unaware of a higher calling in life? What if you feel content with your life as it is right now? Do you have to conceive some lofty purpose in order to feel content and make a positive difference in the world?

No. You don’t need to have a specific purpose in life – unless you feel like something is missing. If you are content with your life as it is, you are doing something right. Either you’re already living your purpose or you simply don’t feel the need for one. And there’s not a thing wrong with that.

However, since you are reading this book it is possible that you are seeking something – even if you wouldn’t classify it as an actual “calling”. Maybe you simply crave more passion, meaning, fun, direction or any number of other qualities. And a life purpose (or living purposefully) can definitely provide those things and more.

Benefits of Living Purposefully
In fact, you may be surprised to discover just how rewarding a purposeful life can be!
Here are just a few of the benefits:
 Greater focus in your daily activities – rather than feeling adrift.
 Increased discipline when it comes to productivity and achievement.
 Passion and motivation! When was the last time you felt excited about your day?
 Personal empowerment – being in control of your own life.
 Meaning and fulfillment. Knowing that your life (and everything you do) matters.
 Energy and vitality! Purposeful living energizes your mind, body and spirit.
 Peace and contentment. Knowing you are exactly where you need to be.

I could go on and on, but these are probably the most notable benefits of living purposefully. If you’ve never felt strengthened, empowered or fulfilled by your activities before, you have definitely not discovered your purpose yet (or chosen one that resonates with you). Once you do, every moment of your life takes on greater meaning and passion – rather than seeming pointless and boring.

by White Dove Books 2008

What is a Life Purpose?

“The purpose of life is a life of purpose.” Robert Byrne

When you hear the term “life purpose,” you probably envision people who are following a higher calling, like priests, nuns, missionaries, doctors and scientists. In other words, people who are doing important work in the world.

People like this are certainly living a purpose, but you may be surprised to learn that a life purpose doesn’t have to be so magnanimous either. In fact, throughout the pages of this e-book, I’m going to demonstrate that purposeful living can take virtually limitless forms – most of which you’ve probably never considered before.

The dictionary defines purpose as:
1) an object or result aimed at : INTENTION

What does this tell us? A “purpose” can be as simple as an intention or a resolution. So, a “life purpose” is really nothing more than a commitment or resolve to live in a certain way and achieve specific objectives. If that sounds a bit confusing, don’t worry. We’re going to clear it up in a hurry.

For now, just know that you DON’T have to have a deep inner “calling” in order to have a life purpose. You don’t have to give away your worldly possessions and become a missionary in order to make a positive difference in the world.

In fact, you may be surprised to discover that realizing and living your life purpose will be a comfortable and enjoyable process. Bit by bit, you’ll create life circumstances that are totally suited to who you are, your likes and dislikes, natural talents, and much more.

It’s the kind of inner journey that changes everything – from emptiness to satisfaction, from boredom to passion, from aimlessness to unbridled joy and beyond!

Do you have trouble believing that’s possible for you? Do you see your current circumstances as brick walls that you can’t break through? Do you worry that you’re stuck forever exactly where you are?

If so, I ask you to set aside any feelings of doubt and skepticism for now. Be willing to believe that your life DOES have meaning, and be open to the insights that are about to follow.
Where Does a Life Purpose Come From?

One of the reasons people often doubt that they have a life purpose is because they’ve been led to believe that a life purpose is akin to those “spiritual callings” mentioned earlier. If they don’t feel an inner calling, they decide that there probably isn’t a specific purpose for their life – or worse, that their life has no meaning at all.

If you ask enough people, you’ll probably find that there are two basic schools of thought regarding life purpose:
1) Those who believe that a life purpose is something we are born with, that it is planted into our souls before we are born and we MUST achieve it. It’s our destiny, so to speak, and we have no choice in the matter.
2) Those who believe that fate and destiny don’t exist and we have the power (or “free will”) to choose our life purpose and do anything we want with our lives.

Which group do you belong to? Fate and destiny, or free will? There are no right or wrong answers to this question; only what you feel in your heart is the right answer for you.
If you’re still not sure, I’d like to propose a workable compromise for you. What if a life purpose is something you are born with, but you also have full control over how and when you achieve it? What if, with a little introspection and planning, you could move naturally and easily toward your life purpose without feeling like you “have” to do specific things?

Personally, I do believe that each of us has a pre-destined life purpose – BUT it is something that comes very naturally to us. It’s not something that’s difficult, unpleasant or burdensome. A life purpose, in my opinion, is realized by getting to know your authentic self, exploring your natural talents and interests, and choosing the best possible medium to share them with the world.

We’ll be covering those concepts further shortly, but first, take a moment to decide how you feel about your own life. Do you believe you have a purpose, or that you can choose one?

How Do You Know If You Have a Life Purpose?

When it comes to life purpose, people usually find themselves in one of three places:
1) They don’t worry about whether they have an official purpose or not; they simply live their lives doing the things they feel drawn to.
2) They know exactly what their purpose is, and they joyfully work at it each day.
3) They believe they have a purpose but have no idea what it may be or how to find out.

Which group do you fall into? Members of the first group probably would not be reading this book, and members of the second group would probably be too busy living their purpose to read about it.
The majority of people who read this book probably fall into group #3.

 If you’re not sure if you do, consider the questions below:
 Have you ever felt like you were supposed to be doing more with your life?
 Have you ever yearned to use your natural talents to contribute to the world?
 Have you ever felt like your current or previous jobs didn’t use your talents fully?
 Do you ever feel like you are wasting time on things that aren’t important to you?
 Do you desire to serve others in a bigger way but don’t know how?
 Has your daily routine become predictable and boring?
 Do you ever wonder if “this is it”?
 Do you yearn for greater meaning in your work and other activities?

If you answered yes to most of those questions, you’re probably ready to discover greater meaning and purpose in your own life – whether you see it as awakening a pre-destined purpose or choosing one you want.

by White Dove Books 2008

Chapter 4: Creativity in the Work Place

“Creative minds have always been known to survive any kind of bad training.” - Anna Freud

In today’s competitive world, it is more important than ever for businesses to attract and keep highly talented people.

 In order to do that, they must provide a work place environment that is challenging, creative, and fun. Since creativity is at the root of innovation and invention, it would behoove all companies - large, small, or in between - to help promote a creative atmosphere in which this talent may flourish. What better way to get a huge return on their investment?

A two-year in-house creativity course offered at General Electric resulted in a sixty percent increase in concepts available for patents, according to the Wall Street Journal.

In 1999, after investing over two million dollars in research and development, Hewlett Packard generated more than 1,300 applications for patents.

When the Sylvania Company offered several thousand employees a forty-hour creative problem-solving course, their return on investment came to $20 for every $1 they spent.

So how can your company keep its employees happily coming up with great, innovative ideas?

 Look for these creative people. Recognize them for the intelligent innovators that they are.

 Create an atmosphere that’s conducive to creativity. You need to let the ideas come forth and thrive. Be tolerant about ideas that don’t work out initially. There’s always a next time when more fresh ideas can be implemented.
 Acknowledge the people in the company who generate new ideas. It’s important to foster that creativity and show visible support. Champion those innovators!
 Reward the creators with public recognition, monetary rewards, or both.

The workers and the managers should bring about creative changes in the company together, shaping a fellowship that allows for a feeling of safety for those creative ideas. It should provide an environment where people can feel secure about expressing those ideas, without being fearful of criticism or ridicule.

The feelings of respect and trust for one another will foster inspiration, and dismiss any negativity or critical judgments. The perfect atmosphere would be one of encouragement, motivation, good training, and lots of opportunities to be creative. This would provide the necessary creativity to the organizational level.

No longer would you go to a work place that fills you with dread each day. The job that provides you with money for food, clothing, and shelter, not to mention a few luxuries, could also be a pleasant haven during the workday. You’d have security and status, but without so much stress. If your creativity is allowed to blossom, your heart and soul for your career returns as well. This could change the face of the work place.

 Implement this yourself and see if you can make a change for the better in your own workplace.

Many companies try to avoid putting creativity back into the work place. They feel it could lead to chaos. They say that it would be illogical, unruly, and uncontrollable. This needn’t be the case, if approached in the proper manner.

If you encourage creativity within your company and support the talented people, it will help you compete, regardless of your industry. According to Fortune Magazine (January 1998), highly motivated employees are up to 127% more productive than those averagely motivated employees in complex jobs. It’s simple - if an employee feels satisfied and encouraged in his job and happy with the company, he will become more motivated and thereby become more productive.

 A happy worker is a productive worker!
Unfortunately, our country has become a nation of workaholics. We feel if we’re not busy 24/7, we must be slacking off; we must produce nonstop or other people will think that we’re lazy. But busyness for its own sake is a sign of low self-worth and should be avoided. Even God rested after working for six days.
It’s okay to sit and do nothing once in a while. Sometimes, you have to let a problem sit awhile and incubate in your mind. The answer will come more easily if you stop obsessing about it. Even daydreaming is useful. If you allow your child to daydream, they will develop a higher IQ. Why not do the same for yourself? Remember too, that play is just as important for an adult as it is for a child.

Believe it or not, the number one concern of employees at any level of a company is not money, but the desire for a good balance between their work life and their personal life. In order for good employees to keep up with the level expected of them, they must attain a certain balance of work and play. Vacations, occasional personal time, and a pleasant work place are essential for their careers and their health.

There’s a Zen saying that the bow kept forever taut will break. This is very true. We need to play and relax in order to be productive. Play, even at our work place, makes us happy and joyful. It clears those cobwebs out of the brain and allows us to think more clearly, thus becoming more productive. The problems that seemed beyond your reach while brainstorming might come so much easier when your mind is free of stress and worry.

Creativity and play are essential these days. We’re all looking for more purpose in our lives, and we’re beginning to re-think our jobs and careers as well. Job security is a thing of the past; and unless employers begin to recognize and encourage creativity on the job, there could be radical changes coming.

In many companies, smart employers are beginning to see the advantage of closely-knit teams working together to form creative, problem-solving forces. They’ve begun using a more open kind of office, omitting walls between the departments. They’re making use of more computers and other forms of communication with each other. Department heads are working more closely with the lower levels, so they are aware of what’s happening at all times. The chain of command is made simpler, responsibilities are expanded, and creative and innovative ideas are welcomed and encouraged.

In any job or profession, there are problems to be solved; and where there is problem solving, there will be creative thought. The first step to solving a problem is to know everything you can possibly know about the problem. You must know how it started and what caused it. Get hold of all pertinent information.

Start to look at all the facts. Figure out how they fit together. Sometimes, you’ll find that unlikely elements can start to make some sense together. Try not to fall into what scientists jokingly refer to as “psycho sclerosis” or hardening of the attitudes. This just means not falling back into the “this is the way we’ve always done it” syndrome. If it has always been done that way, why is there a problem with it now? Obviously, it isn’t working now, so it’s time to figure out a new way to do things.

Watch out for the notorious “inner critic.” (More about that in another chapter.) This is simply that little voice in your head that tells you it’s impossible for you to solve this problem. It’s the old “if others haven’t been able to solve this muddle, what makes you think you can?” critic. Disregard this voice. Unfortunately, you might also hear this selfsame voice coming from others as well. Remember the words of Mark Twain, who said, “The man with a new idea is a crank until the idea succeeds.”

Watch out too for the frustration that can come at you. Long hours of preparation and anguish, when the answer doesn’t present itself, can often lead to total frustration with the whole project. You just want to throw up your hands and yell, “I quit!” But don’t! That’s just the “darkness before the dawn,” as they say. Stay persistent. The answer is out there and you’ll find it; just don’t give up. It’s not that a problem is unsolvable; sometimes, people just give up too quickly.

Sometimes, you just have to let that thought simmer in your brain for a while, let things gel a bit. Maybe you just need to “sleep on it.” Let your subconscious work on it for the night. (More on the subconscious in another chapter.)

Often times, going on about your usual business, getting ready for work, showering, and shaving will break the dam and the brilliant ideas just pop to the surface of your brain. A long walk or a drive in the country will make all the difference. You just need to relax and let those ideas simmer in your brain until they’re done.

 Maybe it’s time to play!
Try to take a break often during your day and let your mind rest a bit. Our world is encroaching on our thinking time, all during the day. Your boss, associates, teachers, students, even television, all want to tell you what you should be doing, every minute of the day. Sometimes, you just need a break from all the mind controlling going on and think your own thoughts.

Whether it’s on the job or at home with your family, the creativity you possess is a vital tool in your life. Have faith in your own creativity. Don’t be so hard on yourself if things don’t work the first time. Be an observant human, watch everything, learn, and don’t be afraid to ask the dumb questions. You know what they say - the only dumb question is the one you didn’t ask.

by White Dove Books 2008

Chapter 3: Integrate Creativity into Your Life

“Leap and the net will appear.” Julia Cameron

Okay, we’ve established the fact that everyone is basically creative. You’ve recognized the creative energy that you possess; and that creative energy must go somewhere or be applied to something, or you will find yourself unhappy and unfulfilled, without understanding exactly why.

The benefits of adding this creativity to your everyday life are numerous:
1. Self-confidence
2. Reduced stress
3. Inner peace
4. Better control of your life

5. Unbelievable satisfaction - at last, you’re expressing yourself, finding purpose.

By applying this creativity to all aspects of your life, you’ll discover even more benefits.

So, how do you apply your creative energy to your daily life? You apply that newly discovered creativity to family and relationships, to work, and to your community. It’s time to explore all the possibilities and perhaps better our world. Simply start with your own little corner of it.

 You must implement those marvelous new ideas to your information gathering and problem solving. Create checklists and plans.

Adapt a new idea; give it a twist. Allowing your creative side to show can make you more competitive in the corporate world. You can look at something that everyone else has looked at, but see it in a totally different light. Give it that twist. Go with that hunch, that intuition, that special insight the creative person possesses. “A hunch is creativity trying to tell you something,” said Frank Capra. Those little creative moments are vital to every area of your life.

Once you start on this creative journey, you’ll discover that your life is filled with the “aha!” moments. Push beyond the mere routine and let yourself come up with dazzling visions or earth-shaking ideas.

Webster’s Dictionary defines innovation as the introduction of something new or different.

The National Innovation Initiative (NII) defines innovation as “The intersection of invention and insight, leading to the creation of social and economic value.” So take that creativity and let yourself be innovative!
Jack London once said, “You can’t wait for inspiration, you have to go after it with a club.” If you need to come up with new ideas, say for work, try brainstorming. You can do this alone or with others. This works especially well in the work environment. Many hands make light work, and many minds make marvelous new and unique ideas. It also makes for a convivial work place. Just let your mind go wherever it needs to go.

Then you must act on your creative impulse. Without action behind it, it’s only just so many facts, a little knowledge. Albert Einstein said, “Creativity is more powerful than knowledge.”

by White Dove Books 2008

Chapter 2: Are You Creative?

“The only truly happy people are children and the creative minority.” - Jean Caldwell

Have you ever watched five-year-olds at play? They are curious and highly creative in their games.

 They don’t know yet, what they don’t know. Their creative limits have no bounds; no one has told them that they can’t do something. They’re fearless explorers, artists, or musicians; some are even comedians in the making. They have not yet been pressured to conform and they think they can do anything and that nothing is beyond their capabilities.

Research shows that every human being is capable of creative thought. We have creative abilities that often show up very early in life. Studies show that the average adult thinks of only three to four alternate ideas for any given situation, while the average child can come up with sixty. They have proven that as far as creativity is concerned, quantity equals quality. Having the subjects make a list of ideas, they have shown that the longer the list, the higher the quality of the final solution. The very best ideas usually appear at the end of the list.

Actually, creativity is bred into us as humans; it’s in our genes - a part of our very DNA. Unfortunately, as we grow older, the pressures of having to grow up, go to school, get a job, all seem to repress our creative tendencies. The stress of everyday living, coupled with occasional dilemmas, leaves us too drained to be truly creative.

But creativity is power and is essential to our well-being.

 Without creativity, our lives become predictable, routine, boring, and pedantic. The good news is we can all be highly creative. Now I know you’re saying, “But I’m not at all creative. I can’t paint or even draw a straight line, I don’t know one note from another, and I’ve never been able to write worth a darn. Poetry? Don’t make me laugh!”

Okay, so most of us are not Mozart, DaVinci, Einstein, or Shakespeare. However, we are all creative in our own way. We simply have to recognize our own unique talents and skills.
 Ask yourself these questions:
1. Are you constantly looking for new goals, something new to accomplish?
2. Do you like to look at what already exists and ask “What if?”
3. When you try something new and different, does it make you feel smarter?
4. Do you enjoy teaching someone a new skill?
5. Are you good at problem solving?

Then, pat yourself on the back - you are a “creative” person! Creativity doesn’t always result in a tangible product. Sometimes its ideas, problem solving, or teaching; but it is indeed, creativity in action. Creativity enables us to better ourselves, develop awareness, and expand our horizons as well as those of other people.

When the potential for creativity meets the promise of skill, you’ve made contact with the creative spirit. There’s no holding you back now. You’ve received that flash of inspiration, that “aha!” moment of illumination, and you are ready to take those creative risks.

Now, you’re probably wondering exactly what it is that you need to do to assure yourself of creative success.

You do need certain tools and skills to accomplish this task. First, you need a certain expertise in whatever arena you’ve chosen to pursue your creativity in. If you have zero knowledge in the field of science, odds are you will not make the next fantastic breakthrough in medicine or invent the replacement for the wheel.

 You must find the field that is your special interest and skill setting. Some expertise is essential for success.
The next tool essential for your success is the ability to think creatively in your chosen field - being able to imagine a whole realm of possibilities. That includes the ability to turn things over in your mind until you find the answer.

Persistence is required - that determination to keep on tackling a problem until you solve it. Know when to turn things upside down and look at them differently. You must know when to nurture the process of creativity and when to let it rest in your mind until it’s ready to fly free.

Another vital tool in this search for creativity is courage - to be willing to take the creative risks and try something you’ve never tried before. You have to be open to whatever new possibilities that present themselves to you. You never know when ideas will come.

Lastly, you must have passion - the desire to succeed no matter what. It doesn’t matter what the end prize happens to be or what manner of compensation you might receive. The passion is all that’s important - the desire to make whatever works, no matter what. Albert Einstein said, “Sticking to it is the genius.”
Most importantly, you must face any creative risk with the mind of a child. Childhood is when creativity first comes to you. Will it grow or be stunted? You should play like a child.

Children may not realize it, but playtime is actually a learning process. It’s the brain’s favorite way to learn. The child learns about math, verbal skills, music, and visual arts during playtime.

 They learn to explore and they learn the thrill of discovery.

They learn about their own culture and others as well.

     So, is it true that children are more creative than adults are? During the Industrial Revolution, two hundred years ago, this country devised the educational system and started training people to be good little workers and always obey instructions. This didn’t leave much room for individuality or nonconformity in our thinking. The good news is that today’s educational system, for the most part, allows children to be more freethinking and creative.

Childlike creativity should be studied and emulated. Let yourself think that anything, even something outrageous, is possible. This will help you develop creative connections. The non-creative mind says, “I can’t,” but the creative mind says, “I can and here’s how!” If you can see, speak, hear, remember and understand, you too can be creative. Never, ever say you’re not creative. Whatever you believe or disbelieve about yourself, you’re right.

How do you feel about being creative? Do you tie creativity to strange, artsy, or flaky behavior? Do you feel suspicious of those with that description? Or maybe you automatically tie creativity with extremes of madness or psychosis. “I’m too down to earth to be creative!” you protest.

Sometimes you are in possession of facts already known to the world at large. The difference is in your organization and interpretation of those facts. Perhaps your creativity lies in your ability to take a room full of people and convince them to make a buying decision. Maybe you’ve saved your company millions of dollars with a single idea.

 Ever resolved a conflict in your family or company? Guess what? You’re creative!

Maybe you’ve even been told how talented you are in a particular area; you may even know it to be true. So why be shy about it? But what do you do about it? How do you go about unleashing all that talent? How do you nurture it?

Let’s go back to the idea of being more childlike, unhampered by daily life and stress. Let’s play! Grab a drawing pad and colored pencils, and draw circles and patterns. If you have children of your own, borrow one of their coloring books and crayons, and join them in the coloring fun. Make objects of outrageous colors, just as children do. Color outside the lines, way outside the lines! Find yourself some clay or Playdoh and start sculpting; it doesn’t have to be anything in particular; just have fun with it. Squish it, cut it, slice it, and then mash in all together again. Try making shapes with the clay.

Now you’re asking, “What on earth is the purpose of all that nonsense?” Well, there is no purpose, you just need to play, have fun, and be free. It’s amazing how much your brain will appreciate this ‘no purpose’ playtime. You suddenly discover that you’re more relaxed. You may even feel happy. Even your breathing rhythm is different while you’re playing. Instead of the short, shallow breaths you take when you’re stressed, you’re now breathing deeply. You’re not experiencing the ‘fight or flight’ sensation. You’re totally relaxed. You need to push the worries and stress aside once in a while. Do not worry about problems or deadlines, and just play, with no purpose whatsoever.

Just a few minutes a day of the ‘no purpose’ play will make a world of difference in your creativity, problem solving, mediating, teaching, or anything else that you do. You’ll soon realize it’s time to take that talent to the next level, so let that creativity come  out more often and let yourself go. Stephen Nachmanovitch once said, “The most potent muse of all is our own inner child.”

Keep in mind though, that talent is not enough. Let me repeat this. You must have absolute passion and discipline to develop your creativity. You must be dedicated to commit to your talent.

What does the word creative make you think about? Breathtaking art? Totally original thinking? Exciting musical composition? Astonishing inventions? Have you let yourself believe that it’s impossible for you to be creative?

You may have let yourself become a creature of habit over the years. Have you condemned yourself to be incapable of creative thought? Perhaps you’ve been stuck in a rut or boring routines, and you feel that you couldn’t possibly be capable of change.

Now, imagine how your life would be if you’re allowed to live it creatively, every day. You know you’re creative and talented. What if the world around you treated you as such and you were allowed to nurture that talent, enhance your skills, and give your creative personality the attention it needs and deserves? You’d trust your own creative passions, be capable of solving any problem, and embrace your own creativity as a part of your very life - one of the necessary components to your happiness and mental health. Remember that pure enjoyment is a key ingredient in your creative life. Eileen Caddy said, “Live and work but do not forget to play, to have fun in life and really enjoy it.”

by White Dove Books 2008

Chapter 1: Definition of Creativity

“Creativity is…seeing something that doesn’t exist already. You need to find out how you can bring it into being, and that way be a playmate with God.” - Michele Shea

According to Webster’s Dictionary, the definition of creativity is artistic or intellectual inventiveness.

Creativity is marked by the ability or power to create or bring into existence, to invest with a new form, to produce through imaginative skill, to make or bring into existence something new.

When you create something, you are actually bringing it into being, making it from nothing. But how do you make something from nothing? How do you achieve creativity? What is the essence of creativity?

Perhaps only magic can explain creativity, that sudden “aha!” moment when it all comes together. Some have said that it’s something mysterious and puzzling, perhaps impossible to figure out. Some have said it must be divine inspiration.

 Creativity is simply thinking the impossible, and then doing what no one else has done before, sometimes developing completely new worlds. If you’ve taken a new approach to a problem and it works, then you’re using your creativity.

Creativity comes in many forms. It can be scientific creativity, resulting in inventions or medical cures. It can be artistic or musical, resulting in beautiful paintings, sculptures or operas and songs. It can be creative writing, resulting in novels, short stories and poems. Creativity can even be as simple as arts and crafts, such as needle arts, yarn crafts, and woodcrafts - things you create with your own two hands.

The important thing to remember is that creativity includes generating the idea or concept, as well as applying that idea and producing or manifesting the end product

or result. Creativity or imagination is an integral part of being human and separates us from the animal world. Carl R. Rogers said, “The very essence of the creative is its novelty, and hence we have no standard by which to judge it.”

by White Dove Books 2008


Passion: strong, enthusiastic devotion to a cause, ideal, or goal

Passion: your heart's one true desire or the deepest desire of your heart

1. Commitment 
2. An Open Mind
 3. Persistence
 4. Flexibility
 5. Faith
 6. Thankfulness
 7. Passion

It is impossible to think about passion without reference to the heart. Deep within your heart, there is a desire, the pursuit of which will bring you all the happiness, success and fulfilment you really want. To find your passion is to identify your own unique purpose in life; to live your passion is to achieve the Deepest Desire of Your Heart.

You can achieve whatever you want. You can be the person you were meant to be and you can really live the life of your dreams. Those are bold statements but they are true and more and more people are discovering this wonderful truth for themselves. But if this is indeed true, then why is it that so many people - we think the figure is around 80% - are pursuing jobs and careers they don't really care about?

For our parents and grandparents, growing up in a world with comparatively few opportunities, it is true to say that their lives were consumed with the whole business of 'making a living' - looking after what Abraham Maslow called their physiological and social needs. They worked hard and never really enjoyed the luxury of considering what might be termed the 'higher needs' of the human condition.

Many people in today's workplace are indeed seeking to reach higher and often people think they have reached their peak when they have started to meet their 'esteem' needs, that is, the basic human need for respect, recognition and responsibility. For many people, this means pursuing an interesting career rather than just getting a job.

However, for very many people, there is still an inner emptiness. Often, this emptiness is experienced more starkly when they have actually become successful in their chosen careers. They start to wonder exactly what life has been about.

The trappings of success: promotion, automobile and house did not bring about the happiness they anticipated. This is a consequence, as Stephen Covey puts it, of climbing the ladder of success only to find when they reach the top that, all along, the ladder has been leaning against the wrong wall.

To really achieve success in life, you must be bold enough to go even higher; to consider what Maslow called Self Actualisation. This means becoming the person you were meant to be and living the life you were meant to live. Only by doing this, can you possibly hope to find the true success you really desire.

book The 7 Keys to Success by Will Edwards


Thankfulness: a virtue and a dynamic - activates the Law of Attraction

Thankfulness: a positive emotion involving a feeling of indebtedness

1. Commitment
 2. An Open Mind
 3. Persistence
 4. Flexibility
 5. Faith
 6. Thankfulness
 7. Passion

Attitude affects so many things in life. Sales-people are told they must maintain a positive mental attitude because it ultimately affects their sales, sports-people are told to cultivate a winner's attitude because it affects their performance. The laws of success tell us to cultivate a grateful attitude but why should thankfulness affect our success?

It may be difficult, at first, to see exactly how thankfulness, or gratitude, can be such an important key to your success, but by seeking to maintain an 'attitude of gratitude' you are indeed tapping into the timeless laws of success.

Thankfulness is fundamentally related to positivity and negativity. It is so much easier to be positive about your life and the things that are going on in it right now when you are grateful. As A. W. Tozer once commented, ‘a thankful heart cannot be cynical’.

The work-place is full of people who are cynical; ready to run the company down, run the boss down and run the industry down and, do you know something? They can, and do, actually produce the evidence that supports their beliefs.
Such people are also employing the laws of success but, by talking about what they do not like, they are using the principles to attract what they don't want. Their reality simply reinforces their views about the company, the boss, the industry and whatever else has been the subject of their negativity.

On the other hand, having an attitude of gratitude impacts your countenance and your general outlook on life and people, generally, will prefer to work with happy, cheerful, grateful people than miserable,down-cast, merchants of doom and gloom. As a consequence, truly grateful people, literally attract opportunities that others miss or even possibly repel.

To help acquire this positive attitude, consider the idea of keeping a Gratitude Journal. Would you, every day for a period of one month, be prepared to actually write down all the things for which you are grateful? You know: count your blessings, the way you were taught as a child. What do you think might be the result of engaging in such an exercise? Consider the results of this scientific study into the subject.

Two psychologists, McCollough and Emmons, conducted a study on the subject of gratitude and thanksgiving. In the study, three different groups of people were required to keep daily journals. The first group kept a simple diary of all the events that occurred during the day, the second group kept a record of only their unpleasant daily experiences. The final group made a daily list of everything for which they were grateful i.e. the kept a Gratitude Journal.

The results of this amazing study suggested that the exercise of daily gratitude resulted in higher levels of alertness, enthusiasm, determination, optimism and energy. So let it really sink-in ...

 A Grateful Heart Cannot be Cynical.
 Gratitude is Fundamental to Maintaining an Optimistic Outlook.
 The Exercise of Thankfulness activates the Law of Attraction.

Additionally, the gratitude group experienced less depression and stress, and they were much more likely to get involved in helping others. They also exercised more regularly and made more progress toward their personal goals. Isn't that amazing? Just by keeping a Gratitude Journal, the study suggests, they were able to positively impact their chances of achieving their goals!

Thankfulness is an attitude and an important key to success. It is an attitude we all need to learn to acquire - particularly when we feel we are in difficult circumstances.
So learn to be grateful.

book The 7 Keys to Success by Will Edwards


Faith: acceptance of principles which are not necessarily demonstrable

Faith: strong belief in something without proof or evidence

1. Commitment
 2. An Open Mind
 3. Persistence
 4. Flexibility
 5. Faith
 6. Thankfulness
 7. Passion

There will be many people who will tell you that you will never, or simply cannot, achieve your dream. They are the 80% of people who once had a dream but have now settled for something less.

 They are the children who once stood in line at school, believing they would one-day become pilots, doctors, actors, singers, ballerinas, missionaries, air-hostesses and so on.

But their experience of life gradually ground them down and their dreams were reluctantly put away.

 Those dreams still live somewhere, deep down within their hearts, but they no longer believe that they are achievable.

First, their parents worked on them, questioning their abilities, doubting their chances and telling them that they once had the same dreams.

 Their parents told them they needed to grow-up, be more responsible and life would work out just great.

Then their teachers worked on them, saying that we all have such ambitions, but in the real-world, you needed a trade, a job, a career - and that life had so very few of these exciting opportunities.

 They ingrained the attitude of the 'scarcity mentality' into their charges, rather than the 'abundance mentality'.

 They told these children that there just wasn't enough good stuff to go around.

Finally, their friends worked on them as they also settled for the jobs on offer.

 They questioned, what was so wrong with being a sales-person, a plumber, a secretary or a brick-layer? The world needed these trades-people (and so it does) and there was nothing wrong with making an honest living by providing these services.

 That was how, gradually, their beliefs about the world were changed and they came to believe that it would not be possible to reach the heights they had once dreamed of, and so, they made their decision to settle for less; much less.

After all this negative conditioning, only a few of those pilots-in-the-making believed they could still learn to fly aircraft; only a few of those singers still believed they were destined to sing for their supper.

Many people had their dream literally strangled out of them. And when you are once again ready to pursue what is in your heart, you need to be aware that you are still not immune to this negative conditioning.

 There will still be very many people ready to tell you why what you are now doing, or about to do, is hopeless!

But, do you know of the work of Masaru Emoto; the scientist who freezes water and takes photographs of its crystal structure? Well, I don't think you could get a more powerful demonstration of the power of faith to impact our physical reality.

 He has tried a number of experiments which really challenge our conventional ideas about the power of our thoughts.

 Amongst other things, he found that water which was frozen when offered a prayer, formed better, more perfect crystals than water which was cursed before freezing.

It sounds bizarre doesn't it, but if our thoughts can do that to water, imagine what they can do to us - we are after all, 75% water! If your thoughts are positive, affirmative and full of faith, then they are transformational. You become literally changed and therefore better able to achieve your purpose; the goal that other people don't think you can possibly achieve.

That's why you need faith - a deep-down belief that, regardless of the evidence, you are going to make it! You are going to achieve what you have set out to accomplish. You are going to make a difference in this life.

book The 7 Keys to Success by Will Edwards


Flexibility: the quality of being adaptable

Flexibility: a measure of the ability to respond to changes in demand

1. Commitment
 2. An Open Mind
 3. Persistence
 4. Flexibility
 5. Faith
 6. Thankfulness
 7. Passion
It is a sound NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) principle that to become successful, we need to notice what is working, and what is not, and be prepared to change our approach in order to get what we want - that is the essence of flexibility.

A wise person once said, "If you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.
" That is a wonderfully true statement. In other words, if you continue doing exactly what you are now doing, then don't be surprised when you don't see any increase or change in your results.

It is the law of cause and effect in operation. The results you are now getting (effects) are the product of the causes (efforts) you have set in motion sometime in the past. To get greater benefits in the future, you need to change what you are doing in the present in order to produce them.

Whilst persistence is an important quality, persistence without flexibility can indeed be futile because, without some flexibility in your approach, you could end up trying to move an immovable object for the rest of your life. The willingness to constantly change what we are now doing and to also demonstrate persistence is what gets us around seemingly insurmountable obstacles.

So notice exactly what is working for you and notice what is not.

Change your approach in some way - you will need to brainstorm various approaches - then continue to observe.

 By continually changing your approach and finding what works and what doesn't, you will literally become unstoppable.

As an example, consider the story of Kevin Keegan, the famous English footballer (soccer) and eventually manager of England. Kevin was told that he would never become a footballer because he was not talented enough, he was not strong enough and he was too small.

It would have been easy enough for him to just give up after all, these people telling him he would never make it were all professionals. Surely they should have known what they were talking about! What did Kevin actually do? Well there was nothing he could do about his height, so he worked on what he could.

 He worked on his physique until he built a strong, powerful frame and he also worked on his basic ball skills.

After several tryouts, he was eventually signed as an apprentice for Scunthorpe United in 1967.

 He became a full professional 12 months later and, in 1971, moved to Liverpool F.C. where he played on the winning team in the FA Cup (1974), the European Cup (1977), the UEFA Cup (1973 and 1976) and the Football League (1972-3 and 1976-7).

Kevin eventually became the captain of England, winning 63 caps between 1972 and 1982, and he became European Footballer of the Year in 1978 and 1979.

He did it all by being flexible in his approach and persistent in the face of unfavourable odds.

Sometimes, I tell Kevin's story at my Workshop events and sometimes people will say something like this:
'What about all the people who tried and tried but still never made it?'

My answer is that Kevin would also have just been another statistic along with the rest of them if he had not demonstrated these qualities.

Kevin was a winner and you too can become a winner. To become a winner, you simply need to internalise these qualities.

If you really want success, in whatever field of endeavour you are pursuing, you can have it - yes you can! But you need to be prepared to work for it - to do whatever it takes. Finding out and then doing whatever it takes is the quality of flexibility.

book The 7 Keys to Success by Will Edwards


Persistence: refusing to give up, especially when faced with opposition or difficulty; continuing firmly or steadily

Persistence: the act of continually pursuing something in spite of obstacles

1. Commitment
 2. An Open Mind 
3. Persistence 
4. Flexibility
 5. Faith 
6. Thankfulness 
7. Passion
If having a dream and committing to its ultimate achievement is something like plotting your final destination ahead of an exciting journey, then persistence is rather like the engine you need in order to get there.

Persistence is what drives you on to take the next step in your journey; persistence is what prevents you from getting discouraged by what may have happened in the past; persistence is where the rubber meets the road!

Here is a story, of unknown origin, that perfectly illustrates what persistence is all about ...
There was a certain young man who went to meet a famous guru to ask the question, "which way is success?"

The wise old sage did not speak. Instead, he pointed to some place far off in the distance.

 The man, delighted at the thought of quick success, took off in the appropriate direction. But, suddenly, there was a loud noise – a kind of "splat!" Eventually, the man staggered back, surprised and a bit bruised too.

 Assuming he must have misunderstood the message, he repeated his question. The guru again pointed silently in the same direction.

The man walked away once more and, after a little time, there was another loud “splat!” noise.

 When the man crawled back, he was stunned, hurt, and angry too. "Hey" he shouted at the guru, "I asked you which way is success? I followed your directions and all I got splatted! Will you quit all of this pointing malarkey and talk!"

book The 7 Keys to Success by Will Edwards

Facing Your Fears

As you begin challenging your beliefs and expanding your potential, you may have to face some fears along the way.

This seems scary because most of us are used to cowering in the face of fear.

 We tend to avoid situations that make us feel uncomfortable, and I don’t know of any situations more uncomfortable than fearful ones!

However, your fears are truly nothing to fear. Just like the saying goes, “There is nothing to fear but fear itself.” (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

Your fears are a direct result of your beliefs. Or, more specifically, your fears are the result of CHALLENGING your beliefs.

Fear is nothing more than a conditioned response to a perceived danger. If we believe that something is dangerous or harmful to us, we naturally will fear it.

Trying to force ourselves through the fear without changing our perception of it is often unnecessarily painful, though effective. There is nothing wrong with forcing yourself to face your fears if you desire to overcome them badly enough. People do this successfully every day.

But if you’re a sensitive soul who desires a gentler approach, here are some good ones for you:

 First, convince yourself that there is no danger. It is our belief that something will go horribly wrong if we move forward that keeps us locked in terror.

 One simple way to overcome this paralysis is by asking yourself, “What is the worst thing that could happen?” And, “Could I handle it if the worst did happen?” Most often, your answer will be affirmative.

 Plan ahead so you know what to do if the worst happens. If your fear is public speaking but you really want to (or have to) give a speech, ask yourself what the worst possible occurrence might be if you go ahead.

 You might answer, “stage fright,” or “flubbing my words.” Consider how you would handle those situations. Could you laugh them off and turn them into a joke for the audience? Could you visualize the audience in their underwear? You get the idea – turn your worst case scenario into a “so what?” and your perspective will change.

 Visualize a different outcome. Whatever your feared outcome is, come up with an inner “script” that is in

direction opposition to it and replay it over and over in your mind until you believe it.

 Using the public speaking example from above, visualize yourself feeling pumped up, dynamic and confident as you step onto the stage.

 See the audience being interested in what you have to say, listening closely, laughing at the appropriate moments, and your words flowing smoothly and effortlessly. Imagine the thunderous applause as you conclude your speech, and imagine the incredible sense of elation you’ll feel for conquering your fear.

 Shrink your fears and squash them like a bug. We often feel that our fears are so much larger than we are.

It feels like they LOOM over us, draining our power and diminishing our determination. Change this perception by imagining your fears shrinking, shrinking, growing smaller and less intense until they have the stature of a bug on the ground before you. Tell the fear that you’re grateful for its attempt to protect you, but you don’t need protecting. Then…step on it. Squash it into oblivion.

There are many more ways to challenge your fears, but the main point is to avoid letting them control your life. Fear can be so pervasive that it SEEMS to be out of our control, but remember that a fear is nothing more than a thought.

 Whether you examine it closely, question it, challenge it, work calmly through it or push forcefully through it doesn’t matter.

 As long as you remember that YOU are the one in control, not your fears.

Like most of the other techniques in this report, fear-squashing takes some practice before you get truly comfortable with it.

 Take your time and keep at it, and before long you’ll be one of those people that laughs in the face of fear and thrills to whatever challenge rises up before them.

Finally, learn to use your fears as a valuable tool for awareness.

 We’ve covered the negative side of fear, but one benefit it does have is that it acts as a beacon to reveal your limiting beliefs! Any fear (besides genuine dangers, of course) can tell you something about yourself.

Where fear lives, so do limiting beliefs.

 Learn to use this knowledge to your advantage.

 Follow your fears directly to the roots of your limiting beliefs, and yank them right out.

by White Dove Books 2007

Belief: The Foundation of Your Life

Your beliefs are the foundation upon which your entire life rests.

 This foundation was formed by your childhood conditioning, the experiences you’ve had during the course of your life, and the conclusions you’ve drawn as a result of them.

 Every action (or non-action) you’ve taken during your lifetime has been encouraged or discouraged by these beliefs.

 Consequently, most of the situations in your life are a result of your actions (or inactions).

In order to begin pushing your limits and increasing your potential, you need to examine the beliefs you have about your limitations.

 You’ve started the process by making a list of your most obvious perceived limitations, but in order to effectively and permanently change them, you’ll need to challenge them and actively work on expanding your concept of what is possible.

Whether you realize it or not, you’ve got a certain internal “set point” where you think your capabilities stop in any given arena.

 These set points can vary according to the intensity of your beliefs and they may be different for different activities. For example, you might know that you are good at one activity but feel you stink at another.

It can be helpful to examine the reasons WHY you feel this way, because most often our limiting beliefs hold no substance whatsoever.

 Maybe your older brother told you that you were too weak to be great at sports, so you never bothered to find out.

 Or your friend laughed at your artwork and you decided it was a stupid hobby anyway.
It’s bad enough when other people set limitations for us, but the problem is compounded when we begin doing it ourselves.

 No longer do we need others to tell us we stink at something; we come to the realization all by ourselves.
 No longer do we need someone to tell us we’re a loser; one failure is enough to convince us.
 No longer do we need others to deflate our confidence; we can do it more effectively ourselves.

What a shame this is! Do you see the pattern of destruction and the dimmed potential that results from it? For most of us, it takes only ONE negative experience to start an avalanche of massive proportions.
 Of course, it doesn’t usually happen

quickly but is rather the result of years of gradually decreasing belief in ourselves.

Before we go any further, it’s important to understand that your limiting beliefs were FORMED, sometimes by others in your life and sometimes by you.

 Either way, they can be unformed, smashed, rolled into a ball and formed into something else entirely – just like a lump of clay.

 Your beliefs are malleable and flexible! They may feel like “facts” but they are simply thoughts that have gained strength and solidity because of sheer repetition on your part.

When you really start to get this, it becomes very exciting! Suddenly a whole new world opens up to you, a world in which anything is possible.

by White Dove Books 2007

Pushing Your Limits

If you have ever found yourself holding back on something you really wanted to do, you are familiar with self-limitation.
 Limitations can serve us in some ways, like reminding us that we don’t have the ability to fly off a roof and land safely on our feet; and they can confine us in other ways, by creating doubt and fear about our ability to create more fulfilling circumstances.

Luckily, most of our self-limitations are easily identified as helpful or harmful; we need only spend some time examining them and decide which we want to keep and which we want to discard.

Take a moment to think about your own perceived limitations. What do you believe you can’t do yet? What do you believe you’ll NEVER be able to do? Why do you think so? If these concepts seem vague and you’re not sure what your own perceived limitations are, take some time to write them down.
 Try phrases like this: “I can’t ___________ because ___________.” Fill in the blanks, and don’t hold anything back.

 Even if one of your ideas seems ridiculous and you logically know it isn’t true, yet your gut confirms it’s a strong belief you hold, write it down anyway.

Once you’ve identified as many of your limiting beliefs as you can; take a closer look at them.

 Are any of them hopelessly impossible, or do they just feel that way? Have other people been able to accomplish something that you want to accomplish? Have you accomplished anything in the past that was difficult? How did you overcome the obstacles you faced? Could you apply the same process to any goal?

There are no right or wrong answers here, only what you honestly think and feel. Now set your list aside (we’ll be looking at it again later in this report) - and let’s delve into beliefs a bit deeper.

by White Dove Books 2007

An Open Mind

Openness: characterized by an attitude of ready accessibility about one's actions or purposes

Receptiveness: willingness or readiness to receive - especially impressions or ideas

1. Commitment 
2. An Open Mind
 3. Persistence
 4. Flexibility
 5. Faith
 6. Thankfulness
 7. Passion

Once you have committed yourself to achieving your dream, you should begin to notice something rather odd starting to happen in your life: the universe actually begins to help you to achieve it!

You just need to be Open-Minded - that is, you need to be ready and willing to receive what the universe (you might prefer to say God) has in store for you. Some people call this principle the Law of Attraction, but whatever you call it, it is quite true that you will absolutely set in motion unseen forces which will definitely assist you with the manifestation of your dream.

People, events and circumstances will be drawn to you that will actually assist you in the achievement of your dream. You can probably only fully accept this truth when you experience it for yourself and once you have committed to your dream, you will begin to experience it. Things will start to happen. They may seem like co-incidence at first, but you are now living in an altered reality.

As an example of this principle in action, let's take a brief look at the true story of Rudy Ruettiger. You may know that Rudy had a dream. His dream - now the subject of a truly inspiring movie - was to play football for Notre Dame. Everyone told him it couldn't be done. But this is how the universe helped him to achieve his dream.

When he was 22 years old, a friend bought him a Notre Dame jacket for his birthday. When he presented it to Rudy, he commented, 'Rudy, you were born to wear this jacket!' These words resonated with something

deep within and he resolved, there and then, to do something about it. So he took a bus bound for South Bend, Indiana with the specific goal of meeting the Notre Dame Championship football coach, Ara Parseghian, to discuss the matter further.

It turned out that Rudy needed to attend to his grades prior to ever being considered for Notre Dame which he did by attending Holly Cross Junior College. With nowhere to live, he slept in the maintenance room and after numerous applications and trials, Rudy was finally accepted to Notre Dame and eventually made the football team as a walk-on.

Rudy was not really considered good enough to pay for the team, but he never missed a practice match and was there suited-up during the final game of his senior year. Now many people in the crowd knew of Rudy's goal to play for the team and in the final minutes of the last game, the crowd started chanting: Ru-dy! Ru-dy! Ru-dy!

Coach Dan Devine was so moved that he put him into the game in the last 27 seconds and in the final play, he sacked the quarterback. Rudy was carried off the field in triumph on the shoulders of his team-mates.

When you carry your own dream within, you too will be able to touch the hearts and minds of the people around you in much the same way and it is a truly wonderful and uplifting experience when you find out for yourself that the universe does indeed help you to achieve your goal.

book The 7 Keys to Success by Will Edwards

Your Wake-Up Call

When I was quite young, someone told me, “If you want to be really successful, find out what God wants to you to do with your life and then dedicate yourself to achieving it”.

At the time, I didn’t really like that idea; I did not believe that my life could have any particular purpose and I did not think that anything God might have in mind would be of any interest to me in any case. Gradually, I have come to believe that what that person said to me, all those years ago, is true.

As human beings, we all share certain basic wants and needs: we have need for food, water, shelter, safety, love, respect and self esteem. We all share an in-built tendency, as Freud stated, to want to move away from pain and toward pleasure. This tendency is part of the human condition for our own good; it keeps us away from harm and generally helps us to make good choices. Most people settle for pursuing a career that satisfies these basic human wants and needs and never really think beyond them to what their life could be about.

Somewhere along the line, I came to realise that what God wanted for my life, and what I wanted, were one and the same thing. This understanding came after I had determined to find out what God actually wanted me to do with my life.

It was a profound moment for me. I gradually came to understand my inner hopes, dreams and deepest desires as being implanted by God. So pursuing God’s purpose for my life was, in fact, also pursuing my own purpose. When it really came down to it, I finally realised that I needed to look within to discover my own purpose and once I had found out what it was, it then became possible to dedicate myself to fulfilling it.

So my message to you is simple: it is time for you to wake-up! It is time for you to start thinking of your life in a different way. It is time for you to fulfil your dream - whatever that may be. That is why you are here on the planet right now. By finding and fulfilling your own unique purpose in life you will be living your life to the full.

It is my hope that you will begin to see yourself as a special person, with a truly unique purpose in life - because that is the truth!

book The 7 Keys to Success by Will Edwards