(Issue #567) Purpose: Collecting or Connecting Dots?

None of us knows for sure where we will be in 10 years or 10 days.
Are you marking time or making a difference with your time?

We all have a purpose. Sometimes, though, we might have a difficult time defining it, seeing it, or appreciating it. Purpose can seem illusory, frustrating, changing, remote, and too much work to figure out.

In a commencement address delivered to the graduating class of Florida State College at Jacksonville on May 11, 2017, I encouraged the graduates to focus on three aspects of life: Rainbows, Relationships, and Resilience.  Each is part of our purpose.

I encouraged them to never stop asking intentional and meaningful questions about things that matter—about their purpose. Even when that proved difficult—in fact, especially when it proves difficult. 

Here (in part) is what I said about their Rainbows (goals and dreams) that day in the Veterans Memorial Coliseum. Maybe it can provide a jumpstart for any of us who may be searching. The Video of the Week below features my entire address.

“…Consider how you will stay relevant. What got you here will not be enough to get you there. How will you continue to develop the skills needed to work with multiple generational attitudes in the workplace where you will find differing perspectives when it comes to purpose, place, and people?  How will you remain open to and find life-growing possibilities? ….

“Over the course of your lifetime you have done a lot, seen a lot, gathered a lot, read a lot, worked a lot, written a lot, planned a lot, talked a lot, tweeted a lot, posted a lot, Instagrammed a lot, and ____ (you fill in the blank) a lot.  Each one of those experiences represents a dot on your lifeline. You have gathered thousands of dots on your journey. And you will gather thousands more. What do you do with those dots? A colleague of mine from California reminded me that we might spend too much time collecting dots and not enough time connecting those dots. Are the dots in your life meaningful? Do you savor and appreciate them? Or do you just collect them like tally marks on a scoreboard? …

“In the 1950s, Casey Stengel managed the New York Yankees.  One day as he looked out on the field, he told a coach next to him, ‘You see that young fella over there? He’s 20 year’s old. In 10 years he’s going to be an All Star.’ And then he pointed to another place on the field, ‘You see that other young man out there. He’s also 20 years old…and in 10 years…he’ll be 30.’

“None of us knows for sure where we will be in 10 years or 10 days. The difference, like those two ball players:  Are you just marking time or making a difference with your time? What are you doing with your time? Just collecting dots?….”

I left the graduates with a quote from R.D. Laing:

The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice.
And because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change.
Until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.


Video recommendation for the Week:

Here is my complete commencement address (less than 12 minutes).


Make it a great week and HTRB has needed.

My latest book can be found in
eBook ($2.99) and paperback ($9.99) format. Click 
here.

Roxie Looks for Purpose Beyond the Biscuit.

Well, actually, my dog Roxie gets top billing on the author page for this work. Without her, there would be no story.

Click here for more information about the book. In the meantime, check out her blog.

And you can still order:

  • Community as a Safe Place to Land (2019print and e-book). Available on Amazon. More information (including seven free podcast episodes that spotlight the seven core values highlighted in the book) at the above link.
  • Stories about Teaching: No Need to be an Island (2017, print and e-book)Available on Amazon. One college’s new faculty onboarding program uses the scenarios in this book. Contact me if you and your team are interested in doing the same. The accompanying videos (see the link above) would serve to stimulate community-building conversations at the beginning of a meeting.

My podcasts (all 50 episodes) can be found here.

You will find more about what I do at www.stevepiscitelli.com.


©2021. Steve Piscitelli
The Growth and Resilience Network®

About stevepiscitelli

Facilitator-Author-Teacher
This entry was posted in Dreams, Life's purpose, relevance. Bookmark the permalink.

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