Winston's Blog

Welcome to Winston's On Purpose Blog. He has a lot on his mind and now he has a great place to share it. Stop back regularly to read more about what Winston's been up to. Make a comment. Ask a question. Talk amongst yourselves. Due to his extensive travel schedule, Winston's not always around to respond or join in but when he is, you have more than 3,000 years of wisdom to draw on.

Results: Page 1 of 1

Find a Transcending Purpose to Motivate Your New Year’s Resolution

Posted December 29, 2013

Find a Transcending Purpose to Motivate Your New Year’s Resolution

Vic: Hello again, Winston!

Winston:  Why, hello, Vic.  What’s on your mind today?

Vic: Well, we talked last time about the difference between self-enhancing purpose and self-transcending purpose. With the New Year nearly here, I thought maybe we could relate that conversation to change.

Winston: Well, being a dung beetle, I was the model for change; the model for the Egyptian scarab god Khepri, representing rebirth and transformation. I know a little something about it.

Vic: Please explain to our non-ancient Egyptian audience.

Winston: With pleasure,. Khepri would push the sun up into the sky every morning (just as I merrily push my ball). Out of the night’s darkness, which they called chaos!

Vic: And out of chaos comes… rebirth.

Winston: Spot-on.

Vic: So my fetid friend, this ball you push…

Winston: A metaphor for purpose, Vic. A Sisyphean task. Remember our last blog?

Vic: Yes, but wasn’t Sisyphus cursed with this task??

Winston: On the face of it, yes, but haven’t you read Albert Camus’ The Myth of Sisyphus? In this essay he concludes: “The struggle itself… is enough to fill a man’s heart. One must imagine Sisyphus happy.”

Vic: So Camus thought that a purpose, even an apparently absurd purpose like pushing a boulder…

Winston: …or a dung ball…

Vic: …helps us transcend above the darkness, above the chaos of our lives.

Winston: Bingo.

Vic: That’s heavy.

Winston: Speaking of heavy, Vic, I notice you’re putting on a bit of a spare tire around your equator. Too many cookies during the holiday season?

Vic: I don’t want to talk about it.

Winston: Then would you prefer to hear about a New Years resolution based on a very cool study?

Vic: Be my guest.

Winston: It was recently published in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. Aleah Burson and her colleagues first threatened the egos of college students by telling them that their peers excluded them from a group task. The researchers wanted to examine the self-control of these students when their egos were threatened.

Vic: But psychologists have known for a long time that we lose self-control when our egos are threatened.

Winston: True.

Vic: And we know that our egos are being threatened all the time.

Winston: Also true.

Vic: So, what’s new?

Winston: This: the researchers had onethird of the students write down their daily routine. This was the control condition. They asked another third of the students to elaborate on their self-enhancing values, and the final third to elaborate on their self-transcending values.

Vic: Self-enhancing values such as…

Winston: Fame, power, attractiveness, wealth.

Vic: As opposed to self-transcending values such as…

Winston: Relationships, community, things bigger than yourself.

Vic: Got it. Then what?

Winston: All three groups the control condition, self-enhancing students, and self-transcending students were given a bowl of 20 bite-sized cookies and a taste-test form, and told: “Please taste-test these cookies after I leave, eating as many as you want.”

Vic: I like this study.

Winston: Thought you would. That was the outcome of the study: How many cookies the students from each of the three groups ate.

Vic: Clever! So how many did they eat?

Winston: The control group ate an average of 8.2 cookies. The self-enhancing students ate an average of 4.9 cookies. The self-transcending students ate and average of only 2.8 cookies!

Vic: 8.2 cookies versus 2.8 cookies. So, to connect the dots…

Winston: …our core values are the pillars — the scaffolding — of a life purpose. Affirming your core transcending values and purpose could lead to greater self-control in a New Year’s resolution goal. Beyond the goals you set, creating a New Year’s life purpose might be the most important thing you do in 2014.

Vic: How do I start?

Winston: You can write down and write about your core transcending values, then begin to consider your bigger purpose in your life. Or… I actually created an app for this. It helps you identify your core values, then helps you create a purpose in your life. You can find it at www.dungbeetle.org. Oh, and it’s free.

Vic: Happy New Year, Winston.

Winston: Happy New Year, my friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vic and Winston Talking Purpose

Posted November 7, 2013

Vic: This is so exciting, Winston! Our first DungBeetle.org post.

Winston: Nearly as thrilling as my post on the Obelisk of Thutmose III!

Vic: I think I missed that.

Winston: Wrote it about 3,500 years ago, actually.

Vic: Wait, you’re over 3,500 years old??? You’re a dung beetle. They don’t live more than a few years.

Winston: You saw The Mummy, didn’t you? They bound me up, shoved me into a stone sarcophagus, put an ancient curse on me… aaachhhh!!!

Vic: No they didn’t!

Winston: OK, they didn’t. Fact of the matter is… I’m a metaphor. Back then, the ancient Egyptians were transfixed at how I’d roll my dung ball through any terrain or weather, in a perfectly straight line. It was my purpose in life, you see.

Vic: Reminds me of Sisyphus, who rolled the rock up a mountain every day.

Winston: In fact, one of my Latin names is Sisyphus. The Egyptians were so impressed with my persistence and purpose, that they made me their Scarab god Khepri – representing transformation and rebirth!

Vic: Which is what this blog is all about: using purpose to change your life.

Winston: Splendid…provided that that purpose is self-transcending!

Vic: By which you mean…?

Winston: Something bigger than yourself. Your modern society no longer has a Pharaoh giving you a purpose. You need to choose your own! Unfortunately, most people in this society either focus on self-enhancing purposes, like fame, power, or money…or they have no purpose at all!

Vic: So running a marathon?

Winston: Self-enhancing.

Vic: Wait, running a marathon may be good for you!

Winston: It may be, but the point is that it’s for you — not something bigger than yourself.

Vic: How about running a marathon to raise money for breast cancer research?

Winston: Self-transcending.

Vic: Creating a business to get rich?

Winston: Enhancing.

Vic: Creating a for-profit micro-lending business to empower women entrepreneurs?

Winston: Transcending.

Vic: Cleaning an elementary school because it pays?

Winston: Enhancing

Vic: Cleaning an elementary school to give the children a better learning environment?

Winston: Transcending.

Vic: Because I’m thinking about something bigger than myself.

Winston: Bingo!

Vic: This sounds a lot like existentialist philosophy.

Winston: It does indeed. But there’s now a science to the philosophy.

Vic: And that’s what this blog is about.

Winston: Here’s an example of the science: In a study of graduating college students, Christopher Niemiec, Richard Ryan, and Edward Deci found that graduates who placed importance on self-transcending aspirations were, two years later, more likely to have achieved these goals and have greater well-being. Graduates who aspired more to self-enhancing aspirations were more likely to have achieved these goals but had greater physical and mental health problems!

Vic: Is this blog just about doing good? That seems kind of boring.

Winston: It’s more about how to live a life that’s worth living.

Vic: Still boring.

Winston: How about: How to live a life with less boredom, and more happiness and vitality? Oh, and great sex.

Vic: Not boring but a lie.

Winston: Not a lie at all. That’s where the science comes in. We won’t lie to you, and we don’t make things up! Ever!

Vic: Even the sex part?

Winston: Next week we’ll talk about the study, A Higher Sense of Purpose in Life is Associated with Sexual Enjoyment in Midlife Women.

Vic: Why haven’t I heard about this study before???

Winston: Perhaps because there are no drugs involved?

Vic: I dig. Winston, I have to be honest. I’m still having a tough time wrapping my head around the fact that you…

Winston: …roll a gigantic ball of dung? Remember, I was born in a dung ball. It’s all I’ve ever known. Yet, I’ve managed to create a meaningful life purpose from this existence. Isn’t that a metaphor for many of our lives?

Vic: Cool. See you next week, Winston.

Winston: Keep on rollin’! And if you’re ready for more on this subject, go to dungbeetle.org, where you can use an app that helps you discover your own purpose and then helps you become your own researcher!

 

 

 

Results: Page 1 of 1

Want to learn more about purpose and how to put it to use in your life?