life’s great question

Friday, January 14, 2022

Relaxing Music for the month: Healing Hands: Liquid Mind (12:01) –

At UNCG, we started classes this week. At the foundation of all of the classes I’m teaching this semester is the notion that each and every one of us on this earth is here to serve – serve others and serve ourselves. I’ve shared with them that my goal is to have them understand and define how they will serve others and/or make a positive contribution to the world. It seems to be a HUGE endeavor, but when broken down into smaller parts, it become much more manageable and doable.

One of the most influential books I’ve read about serving is “Life’s Great Question: Discover How YOU Contribute to the World” by Tom Rath ( I will share the Life’s Great Question in a second; just thought you should know that the question is based on this quote by Dr Martin Luther King Jr: “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is: What are you doing for others?“ If you’re trying to decide whether to read the book, check out this passage in making your decision:

“Knowing who you are—and who you are not—is essential. But it is only the starting point. All the talent, motivation, and hard work in the world will not be valued or remembered if it does not help another human being. … Real growth is the product of following your contributions more than your passions. Simply asking, ‘What can I contribute?’ leads to a better path and result than starting with yourself. This applies far beyond the realm of careers.

A growing body of evidence suggests that the single greatest driver of both achievement and wellbeing is understanding how your daily efforts enhance the lives of others. Scientists have determined that we human beings are innately other-directed, which they refer to as being ‘prosocial.’ According to top researchers who reviewed hundreds of studies on the subject, the defining features of a meaningful life are ‘connecting and contributing to something beyond the self.’

Knowing that we’re making meaningful contributions to others’ lives leads not only to improved work outcomes but also to enhanced health and wellbeing. Even small acts of generosity trigger changes in our brains that make us happier. With each prosocial act at work, energy is created that measurably benefits ‘the giver, the receiver, and the whole organization.’

Think about that. Work can actually improve your health and wellbeing every day. Work can also be about doing something each day that improves your relationship with your family and friends. I believe that we all inherently know this—which makes the gap between what we’re currently contributing and what we have the ability to contribute all the more frustrating.”

At various points in my life (Dave Barlow at the University of Delaware, Dave Prensky at the College of New Jersey, Celia Hooper at UNCG), I felt as if my work was making a difference, making an impact, contributing to something beyond myself. And although I don’t feel I’m in an environment that’s contributing to my health and wellbeing, I know that outside UNCG, Life Design Catalyst work is enhancing my health and wellbeing. And it’s my hope that my next “role,” whether it’s within or outside higher education, will allow me to continue using LDC work to contribute to something bigger than myself.

Oh yeah…Life Great Question is: “What can I contribute?”

There’s a lot of great information in the Philosophers Note and the book (yes, I did purchase and read the book), so if you’re interested in purpose, this is a MUST READ!

Now, you need to ask yourself two questions: (1) What is my contribution? and (2) Is it making an impact? If so, great; if not, let’s talk!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.