Goals, Meaning, and Purpose

Self Awareness May 7, 2021

'Give Yourself' is a component of the KCG-123 model of Emotional Intelligence developed by Six Seconds Network. Practicing 'Give Yourself' means connecting our daily choices with our long-term vision of who we wish to be as individuals. So, let's say in the long run, we want to be a person who cares for the environment. But, if we're using plastic bags daily, wasting water while brushing the teeth in the morning, or showering, using non-degradable products, are we giving ourselves? No, right?

Practicing 'Give Yourself' as a person who wants to care for the environment would mean we would use cloth bags instead of plastic ones, use water mindfully, and choose biodegradable or eco-friendly products. 'Give Yourself' would also include not judging people who can't readily switch to making eco-friendly choices because of their reasons, as it also means empathizing with other people's purpose and long-term vision. Yes, we’d like others to also follow our lead and live more eco-friendly lifestyles. But we also don’t want to be the kind of person who doesn’t want to understand other people’s choices and reasons for doing as they do. We would like to be growing into individuals who can listen and empathize and inspire others to become better. Having 'Give Yourself' in mind helps us take actions now, which will add value to the person we want to become in the long-term future while also enabling us to understand other people's long-term vision.  

In understanding and practicing the component- 'Give Yourself,' we need to have clarity about three concepts- goals, meaning, and purpose.

Goals are what we either do or wish to do in the days ahead. They include what we want to achieve in the short-term or long-term future. We create goals to become better in one or more areas in life like health, time management, academic performance, life relationships, or professional development. Goals are specific, measurable, and attainable as well. An example of a 'goal' can be to become physically fit, which might require us to exercise every day for 30 minutes, eat home-cooked food three times a day, and sleep every day for 8 hours.

Meaning is the reason behind our goals. It explains why we do what we do and why our 'goals' hold importance for us. Meaning gives us the motivation to continue making choices that help us achieve our goals and shape us into the individuals we want to be. So let's say if our goal is to become physically fit, 'meaning' can help us figure out 'why' we want to become so. It could either be that we want to build strong immunity, feel confident through physical fitness, become active, fight a medical condition, or lead a healthy lifestyle.

Purpose is the impact we wish to have on the people and world around us. Purpose means the bigger picture that we have in mind when making our day-to-day choices and connecting with the people in our lives. When we're purposeful, it becomes a constant reminder for us to keep doing what we do and helps us connect with people who could benefit from our help and vice versa. What can be the purpose if our goal is to become physically fit? Maybe it is to contribute to a world where people care about maintaining physical health and leading healthy lifestyles.

While goals are more actionable, meaning and purpose guide us in terms of our thought process. Most of the time, we create goals, but we don't know why (we can't figure out the meaning behind our goals) and the impact we wish to have in the world (the purpose of our actions and choices). If we don't think through the meaning and purpose of our daily choices, goals can't be sustainable.

Goals, meaning, and purpose also create a cyclic process. Our purpose guides us in creating goals. Our goals further help us become better in life areas that are meaningful for us. Together goals, meaning, and purpose can help us put our long-term vision into action.

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Aprajita Jha

Aprajita Jha is Linchpin at My Emotions Matter and can be reached at [email protected]

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