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How Purpose Promotes Wellness

I hope you’ve been enjoying this series where we have been looking at wellness from a number of different perspectives. If you’re just joining us, I encourage you to read the whole series. I think it will expand your understanding of wellness.

rakowski-life-pyramidA couple of weeks ago, I introduced a 5-level pyramid concept of wellness that I learned from Dr. Robert Rakowski. At that time, we only looked at the foundation of the pyramid, which is love. While this might seem out of place in a chiropractor’s blog on wellness, I assure you that wellness of any kind is impossible without love. As we discussed previously, the soul and spirit are interwoven with the body in such a way that forces impacting one realm of life impact the others. Therefore, love (or the absence of love) impacts every part of our lives: most obviously our relationships, but also our mental, emotional, and physical health.

You’ve experienced the physical pain that accompanies the loss of a loved one, or a broken relationship. We’ve also explored how unforgiveness blocks physical healing and manifests as a variety of sicknesses in the body, including cancer and heart disease.

All these things are related.

If love is the foundation of a holistic view of wellness, then we need something to build upon it. The next step up is purpose.

Why Is Purpose Important?

There is a storm of neurochemical transmissions surging through your body every minute of every day. From adrenaline to oxytocin, and serotonin to dopamine, these chemical signals impact the brain, the nervous system, your muscular system, and many of your organs. Some are soothing, some are inspiring, some are terrifying, and others are meant only for short bursts in case of emergency.

Take cortisol for example. A shot of cortisol is helpful when you need to run away from a hungry tiger or confront an employee, but if you let that faucet run all day, it will begin to corrode your organs.

By the same token, depression can have just as powerful a negative effect on the body as it has on the soul. While depression can take many forms and manifest in a variety of ways, it is often a response to a lack of positive neurotransmitters.

That’s where purpose is helpful. King Solomon said, “a man without a vision will perish.” Now that can mean several things, but I believe one form of perishing is the physical and emotional degradation that sets in when a person doesn’t have a reason to get up in the morning. I don’t know how many patients I’ve talked to over the years who “let themselves go” after they retired or lost a job. In fact, considering how many people lose interest in life after they stop working, it’s a wonder that retirement is still a popular goal in our society.

(Interesting fact: did you know that the Hebrew language – the language the Bible was originally written in – does not have a word for “retirement?” Food for thought.)

So, What Is Purpose?

A chair has a purpose. A truck has a purpose. A calculator has a purpose. They have a reason to exist. They perform a function or provide a service.

You have a purpose. I know your biology teacher tried to tell you that you are a conglomeration of cells that grew together by chance over a billion years, but it’s not true. You were designed intentionally and put on this earth for a specific purpose that no one else in the history of man could ever have fulfilled. You are as unique as a fingerprint. Your gift set, experience set, and disposition are custom-made to fulfill a role on earth during your time here.

Unlike a chair or a calculator, you are not an object to be used and tossed aside. Like a skilled craftsman, you serve a purpose, but you also have an intrinsic value assigned to you by your loving Designer. You are valuable, powerful, and loved!! You are not an object subject to the whims of chance.

When you take all the chance and luck out of your thinking and recognize your purpose:

  • You begin to realize that every moment of your life has significance – even the resting moments.
  • You begin to face each day with a sense of excitement, courage, and resolve, and the resulting neurotransmitters promote health and wellness throughout your cells.
  • You choose your food more carefully because there is work to be done and you don’t want to be hindered by poor health.
  • You feel better about yourself and your contribution to the world.
  • You can treat others with respect and honor because your emotional tank is full. After all, your purpose most likely requires the cooperation of others.
  • Your prayer life takes on new significance as you recognize that you didn’t create yourself or choose your unique design, so you need to be in constant fellowship with your Designer to understand your role day by day.

Purpose is stimulating and invigorating, energizing not only your mind, but also your body, spirit, relationships, finances, and career. Every part of your life is fed by your purpose in one form or another. That’s why it’s an important part of the Blue Zones Power 9.

Let Purpose Drive you Forward

Once you identify your purpose and your contribution to the world, it puts everything else in perspective and puts the fire in your engine.

When I first introduced the Rakowski wellness pyramid, I shared a quote from one of my favorite books of all time, Og Mandino’s classic book, “The Greatest Salesman In The World.” It’s a very short read, but amazingly powerful. It is one of the books that has had the most profound impact on my professional life. While many sales organizations use it as a foundational part of their training, it is really a set of ancient principles for leading a successful life. I believe everyone should read it at least once, regardless of their profession.

To conclude today, I want to reprint an excerpt from the third scroll (the book is presented as the discovery of a set of ancient scrolls containing success secrets). See if doesn’t stir your sense of purpose.

“I will persist until I succeed.

In the Orient young bulls are tested for the fight arena in a certain manner. Each is brought to the ring and allowed to attack a picador who pricks them with a lance. The bravery of each bull is then rated with care according to the number of times he demonstrates his willingness to charge in spite of the sting of the blade. Henceforth will I recognize that each day I am tested by life in like manner. If I persist, if I continue to try, if I continue to charge forward, I will succeed.

I will hear not those who weep and complain, for their disease is contagious. Let them join the sheep. The slaughterhouse of failure is not my destiny.

The prizes of life are at the end of each journey, not near the beginning; and it is not given to me to know how many steps are necessary in order to reach my goal. Failure I may still encounter at the thousandth step, yet success hides behind the next bend in the road. Never will I know how close it lies unless I turn the corner.

Never will I allow any day to end with a failure. Thus will I plant the seed of tomorrow’s success and gain an insurmountable advantage over those who cease their labor at a prescribed time. When others cease their struggle, then mine will begin, and my harvest will be full.

I will persist until I succeed.

Nor will I allow yesterday’s success to lull me into today’s complacency, for this is the great foundation of failure. I will forget the happenings of the day that is gone, whether they were good or bad, and greet the new sun with confidence that this will be the best day of my life.

So long as there is breath in me, that long will I persist. For now I know one of the greatest principles of success; if I persist long enough I will win.

I will persist.

I will win.”

I’d love to hear your story: when did you begin to recognize the God-given purpose in your life? How did it affect you — your health, your relationships, your energy? Share your thoughts in the comments section on Facebook. We have a pretty good community growing there and we always love to hear from new voices.

Also, if you live in Southwest Florida, I’d like to invite you to our first Fundamental Foods Night of the new season. Yes, it was supposed to happen in October, but Hurricane Matthew had other ideas. You know how that goes. RSVP at the link on Facebook and then join us, Thursday, November 3rd, at my office at the corner of Pine Ridge Road and Airport-Pulling Road, behind the YMCA. Don’t miss it! I look forward to meeting you.

“At the end of your feelings is NOTHING. At the end of your principles is a promise!”  — Eric Thomas

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