Added: Jarret Jury - Date: 01.03.2022 05:37 - Views: 38093 - Clicks: 5872
And as people confront this challenge, they come up against a set of fundamental human needs that collectively define how we experience the meaning of our existence: belonging, purpose, competence, control, and transcendence. Thinking about these five pillars of meaning can help you reinvent your life. Paul, an executive participating in my C-suite seminar at INSEAD, told me that the reason he had decided to enroll in my program was that he felt lost. On the surface he was a very successful businessman, but his many achievements no longer gave him a sense of satisfaction.
What he felt instead was boredom and dread. When I asked Paul to reflect on the recurring patterns in his life, he realized he had been a one-trick-pony. Apart from work, there had never been much else in his life. As a result, while he had many business acquaintances, he had made no real friends.
He and his wife had become like two people just boarding together, and he had little personal connection with her or even their children. When I asked Paul if he had ever dreamt of an alternative career, he told me that he had once wanted to be an orchestra conductor but his father had opposed the idea.
And as people confront this challenge, they come up against a set of fundamental human needs that collectively define how we experience the meaning of our existence. I call them the five pillars of meaning :. Humans are social animals, and for most people, meaning is anchored in affectionate interpersonal relationships.
Each interaction we have, be it of joy, disgust, anger, or sadness, allows us to learn more about who we are and what we want. When we are supported by others through such experiences and challenges, we cope much more effectively with them. All too often, however, people are lonely because they build walls instead of bridges. As people approach the end of a phase in their lives, they begin to suffer from a lack of future-looking purpose. Although Paul clearly had purpose at some point he had created many companiesthat purpose was disappearing as he approached the end of his active career — how many more companies could he feasibly create?
People derive much of their identity from what they do — how they use and master their unique talents. People are readier to find meaning in their choices if they believe they took them freely — that the choices really were theirs to make. At the time I met Paul, he had started wondering whether he had chosen to get married because he really wanted to or because everybody at his age was already married.
With these five pillars in mind, I wondered how could I help Paul build a sense of meaning and direction at this crossroad in his life? Should I suggest that he focus on his relationship with wife and children — given the importance of belonging for wellbeing? Or was it too late? Given his present financial security, should he devote his time to other activities, music being his original passion? Or become a patron of the arts, thereby tapping into his original passion while also transcending personal concerns by investing in the passion of others?
By making these various changes, would Paul acquire a greater sense of purpose and control over his life path? Moments of existential crises, like the ones Paul was facing, can be great learning opportunities. I was hopeful for Paul: there were still many options open to explore new things and gain a sense of meaningful direction. The choice, however, would be up to him. You have 1 free article s left this month.
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Managing yourself. A five-part framework to help you navigate. Kets de Vries. on Managing yourself or related topics Retirement and Psychology. Manfred F. Kets de Vries is an executive coach, psychoanalyst, and management scholar.
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How to Find Direction in Life When You’re Feeling Lost