Everyone’s looking for that one secret or plan for a fulfilling life. Just do an Amazon book search on the word ‘purpose’ and the results land in the millions. Walk through a Google search on the word ‘happiness’ and the outcome is infinite.
So is there a formula for feeling fulfilled and successful in life?
The more I study, observe, think and pray, the more I see that the answer is yes. Yes you can be happy. Yes you can feel fulfilled. Yes you can rest well at night, knowing your day had meaning if you can formulate your life’s activities around what I believe is a God-given daily formula I simply call Learn-Grow-Give.
There are two large bodies of water in the middle east. The Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea. One is beautiful and full of life. The other is desolate and stagnant. They are connected by the Jordan River. The Sea of Galilee is a luxurious vacation spot for many. The Dead Sea is a day trip for those who are curious. Here’s why.
The Sea of Galilee is fed partly by an underground spring, partly by the Jordan River and partly by waters flowing from the surrounding hills. Teams of fish and plant life make it their home. This sea empties down the Jordan into the Dead Sea. The Dead Sea is what its name indicates – dead. Because of it’s high salt content, nothing lives in it. Why? This sea has no exit point. The water simply stops there, collecting minerals and debris carried into it by the Jordan. The disparity of these two water-bodies illustrates the Learn-Grow-Give principle of life.
To be happy and healthy, you should always have new resources (incoming water or learning), always process and apply what those resources provide (life-activity or growing), and always be seeking opportunities to contribute back into other people (water flowing out or giving).
Learn: I was at a meeting in which there was a post-retirement aged leader. He had put in his time and had been successful leading his organization. I thought he was at the meeting simply because of the camaraderie of his colleagues but as soon as the presenter started, he pulled out a yellow legal pad and began taking notes. He was in learning mode! No matter what stage of life you’re in, leaders are learners. What have you read or investigated lately? How are you going to intentionally learn new concepts and ideas? Are you in learning mode?
Grow: As a kid, we used to buy these plants called “Resurrection Plants.” I don’t know what species they are but they can be dried up for 50 years or more and yet when you put them in water, they spring to life. They use the water to replenish their green leaves and unfold into a beautiful desktop foliage. When you have intake (Learning), you then choose to grown from it and spring to life. Whatever you’re observing or learning, ask yourself what lessons can you learn. Process how this can be important or helpful. Figure out ways to apply what you’ve learned to make life better for you and others around you. What have you learned recently that has helped you? How can you grow from your experiences, learnings and observations?
Give: The human body was design around the Learn-Grow-Give model. When you eat and drink, you are taking in new items into your body (Learn). Then your body process the food and water to supply what your body needs to grow and/or be healthy (Grow). But if there is not exiting of the food and water, toxins build up and you become sick very quickly. (Remember the Dead Sea). Your life, like your body, needs to have a giving strategy for a health. Where are you serving in your church, community or workplace? Into whom are you pouring your wisdom, experience and life?
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