Be kind be useful

The purpose of life is not happiness, it’s usefulness.

I think nobody can define the meaning of life in a general sense. Everyone lives their own life and defines their own meaning.

In September 1965 Leo Rosten published an essay titled “The Myths by Which We Live” in “The Rotarian” magazine, and he included an instance of the saying[1]:

Finally there is the myth which gives me the greatest pain: the myth that the purpose of life is happiness, and that you ought to have fun, and that your children ought to have fun. Where was it written that life is so cheap? Where was it written that life is, or should be, or can ever be free of conflict and effort and deprivation and sacrifice?…

…the purpose of life is not to be happy at all. It is to be useful, to be honorable. It is to be compassionate. It is to matter, to have it make some difference that you lived.

Source: (google books) “The Myths by Which We Live”, The Rotarian(Evanston, Illinois) volume 107, number 3 (September 1965) 32–33 etc, page 55.

A version of this quotation is sometimes attributed, falsely[2], to Ralph Waldo Emerson:

The purpose of life is not to be happy.
It is to be useful,
to be honorable,
to be compassionate,
to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

Got similar advice while listening to an interview Barack Obama did with Bear Grylls, when asked what advice Obama gives his daughters, he rhymed off this mantra: they should be useful, and be kind.

Be kind, be useful.

It’s a piece of advice that’s simple, easy to remember and internalize, and one that helps you consider other people as you act and make decisions. And it’s a nice reminder to consider what you’re able to contribute to any situation.

As far as sayings go, it’s a pretty good one to live by.

Be kind, be useful.

Read more:

[1] https://books.google.co.in/books?id=tDMEAAAAMBAJ&lpg=PP1&lr&rview=1&pg=PA33#v=onepage&q&f=false

[2] http://quoteinvestigator.com/2014/11/29/purpose/

Enclothed Cognition: Dress Like You Mean It

“Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society,” Mark Twain.

Clothes have power, they affect people around you and affect yourself. They also enable you to become who you want.

There is even a term called Enclothed cognition to describe this phenomenon (“describing the systematic influence that clothes have on the wearer’s psychological processes”).

In 2012, Professor Adam D. Galinsky and Hajo Adam wanted to see if there was a connection between how we dress and how we perform. In one of the experiments they ran, students who wore a doctor’s white coat to perform different tasks made half as many errors as students who wore regular clothes. That’s right: Half. As. Many. Errors. Let that sink in.

Students who dressed like doctors were less likely to make an error—even though the tasks assigned in the study had nothing to do with medicine.

Personally, I find that pretty amazing.

Think about it: a great outfit can make you feel fantastic ! Just as much as it can make you feel terrible ! And how uncomfortable it is when the outfit isn’t right.

For the next week, dress up a little nicer than usual. Shave (if that’s something you do) twice as often. Comb your hair. Even if you work from home and nobody knows what you’re wearing.

Try it, and then take a moment to notice how you feel, and if it affected the quality of your work.

Interesting reads: