The Good Life: Lessons from Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life

The Purpose-Driven Life
The Purpose-Driven Life

Too lazy, don’t want to read: download my 3-page PDF guide to Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life.

I’m trying something new, so bear with me :)

I’ve had to work hard for good grades and good jobs, endure pain to become and stay healthy, and experience heartbreak and disappointment in the search for love and loyal friends.

But none of these struggles comes close to the challenge of finding a deep-rooted sense of purpose and meaning in my life.

In particular, each time I make more money or hit a new career milestone, I feel more emptiness, not less.

If these things don’t give me a sense of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment, then what the hell is it all for?

I admire people that continue to fight the good fight day in and day out, who invest sweat, tears, and risk their own reputations to make a big dent on the world.

People like Mother Teresa or MLK Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi. And millions who are unknown and unappreciated. Those who have gone FAR BEYOND the pursuit of simple, material goals into the realm of legacy. Those who are true believers, working on true problems, investing their entire lives to do so. I would love to join their ranks.

That’s what I plan to explore in 2013. As a first step, I will read a TON of great books, from religious texts (like The Bible) to major philosophical works (like Nietzsche’s The Will to Power) to canonical Western literature (like Paradise Lost).

From these books, I’ll share insights, conclusions, and questions from history’s greatest thinkers and doers on finding purpose, meaning, and fulfillment. My goal is to provide some answers, and probably more questions, to living what Aristotle calls “eudemonia”, or simply, “the good life”.

Here is my first “Good Life” guide, from Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life, one of the greatest spiritual self-help books of all time (30mm copies sold since 2007!). Please note, I am not Christian, but I believe there is an ENORMOUS amount that we can learn from religious texts and thinkers.

It’s a 3-page PDF, free to download and share. Here’s the link to view it as a read-only Google Doc (for some reason, “Download as PDF” did not preserve the images’ quality). In it, I cover the following topics:

  • Why I chose this book
  • The book’s main themes and takeaways
  • Important life lessons that can be pulled from it
  • How I plan to apply these lessons to my life
  • Questions for you to ponder
  • Random related and unrelated (but inspirational) readings

As this is my first “Good Life” guide, I humbly ask for any and all feedback, advice, thoughts. I plan to write a LOT of these – I need your help to make them the best resources they can be.

Thanks and enjoy!

PS. Here are some great quotes from the book (as I mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of quotes):

Right now you may be driven by a problem, a pressure, or a deadline. You may be driven by a painful memory, a haunting fear, or an unconscious belief. There are hundreds of circumstances, values, and emotions that can drive your life.

Possessions only provide temporary happiness. Because things do not change, we eventually become bored with them and then want a newer, bigger, better version.

The most common myth about money is that having more will make me more secure. It won’t. Wealth can be lost instantly through a variety of uncontrollable factors.

Hope is as essential to your life as air and water. You need hope to cope. Dr. Bernie Siegel found he could predict which of his cancer patients would go into remission by asking, “Do you want to live to be one hundred?” Those with a deep sense of life purpose answered yes and were the ones most likely to survive. Hope comes from having a purpose.

Henry David Thoreau observed that people live lives of “quiet desperation,” but today a better description is aimless distraction.

Stop trying to do it all. Do less. Prune away even good activities and do only what matters most.

When you live in light of eternity, your values change. You use your time and money more wisely. You place a higher premium on relationships and character instead of fame or wealth or achievements or even fun.

The most damaging aspect of contemporary living is short-term thinking. To make the most of your life, you must keep the vision of eternity continually in your mind and the value of it in your heart.

When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant in your life. Even the smallest incident has significance for your character development. Every day is an important day, and every second is a growth opportunity to deepen your character, to develop your love, or to depend on God.

First, compared with eternity, life is extremely brief. Second, earth is only a temporary residence. You won’t be here long, so don’t get too attached.

Where is the glory of God? Just look around. Everything created by God reflects his glory in some way. We see it everywhere, from the most microscopic form of life to the vast Milky Way, from sunsets and stars to storms and seasons. Creation reveals our Creator’s glory. You can learn a lot about God’s character just by looking around. Through nature we learn that God is powerful, that he enjoys variety, loves beauty, is organized, and is wise and creative.

David DeAngelo’s 77 Laws of Success (and 13 that I bolded)

David DeAngelo is a well-known dating guru who was at the forefront of the recent pickup artist (PUA) craze.

He has this program called 77 laws of success with women & dating which I heard about from a friend, and so being a huge fan of life advice lists, I did some Googling and found an (almost) complete set of David’s 77 laws. So with special thanks to ebookee.com and its anonymous contributor, here are the ones I found bold-worthy.

4. Evict your inner Wussy

8. Failure is a made up thing, don’t apply meaning to failure

10. Evolve constantly and consciously – always seek the next level

14. Stop giving approval to get it

19. Travel – if you’re not regularly leaving your bubble you are limiting yourself

24. Never whine or complain

30. Prove to yourself over and over that you can cope with “rejection”

34. Develop your awareness – notice everything you see

36. Become unbelievably honest and direct when you need to

57. Learn how to tell an interesting story about anything

66. Engage her emotions and her body, not so much her mind

68. Convince yourself that what is going to happen is going to be unbelievably fun and convince her of it

72. Always have 3 female friends around you who are similar to the ones you’d like to meet

10 of my favorite quotes

I put together this page to share the best quotes/parables/anecdotes/stories/movie-one-liners I’ve collected since I began collecting such things.

Here are 10 of my favorites.

On leadership:

If you want to build a ship, don’t drum up the men to gather wood, divide the work and give orders. Instead, teach them to yearn for the vast and endless sea.– Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

On travel:

I’m just going to walk the earth. …You know, like Caine in Kung Fu. Walk from place to place, meet people, get in adventures. – Jules in Pulp Fiction

On great fathers:

My father. He used to… He used to have a barbecue every Sunday after church. For anybody in the neighborhood. If you didn’t go to church, you didn’t get any barbecue. – Dom in Fast Five

On humanity:

Society tames the wolf into a dog. And man is the most domesticated animal of all.– Nietzsche

On wisdom:

By three methods we may learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is easiest; and third, by experience, which is the most bitter. – Confucius

On love:

Charlie Kaufman: But she thought you were pathetic.
Donald Kaufman: That was her business, not mine. You are what you love, not what loves you.
(scene from Adaptation)

On writing:

People ask me why I write. I write to find out what I know.

On hard work:

If you have two choices, choose the harder. If you’re trying to decide whether to go out running or sit home and watch TV, go running. Probably the reason this trick works so well is that when you have two choices and one is harder, the only reason you’re even considering the other is laziness. – Paul Graham

On life choices:

All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us. – Gandalf

On youth:

Two young salmon are swimming along one day. As they do, they are passed by a wiser, older fish coming the other way.
The wiser fish greets the two as he passes, saying, “Morning boys, how’s the water?”
The other two continue to swim in silence for a little while, until the first one turns to the other and asks, “What the hell is water?”
– From David Foster Wallace’s 2005 Commencement Speech at Kenyon

DiSSS and CaFE: Tim Ferriss’ approach to quick mastery of any topic

DiSSS and CaFE are Tim Ferriss’ frameworks for mastering new information-based topics. In particular, he applies them to foreign languages and in 4-Hour Chef, to the mastery of cooking.

Mostly personal notes but I Googled and couldn’t even find a basic description of DiSSS and CaFE, so here it is!

DiSSS:

1. D for Deconstruction. What is the minimum useful unit of knowledge? For a foreign language, it would be a word

2. S for Selection. What 20% of those minimum units will lead to 80% of your desired outcomes? For cooking, it would be basic knife handling skills so you can cut, chop, filet, mince, and do whatever to your heart’s delight (my guess since I suck at cooking).

3. S for Sequencing. What’s the most effective order for learning these units? For cooking, Tim tells the story of how most cookbooks have the wrong sequence for beginners, since what newbie really wants to cook 6 chicken dishes in a row?

4. S for Stakes. What psychological and social mechanisms can you setup for discipline and motivation? For example, you could publicly announce your goal and a deadline, and have your friends keep you accountable (from what I’ve read, this seems effective for losing weight). You could set a calendar reminder to spend 30 minutes each morning before work, and reward yourself with a piece of chocolate (lol, yes…that’s a lame reward).

CaFE:

1. C for Compression. Can I compress the most important 20% into an awesome cheatsheet?

2. F for Frequency.  What is the best duration and frequency, knowing my personal limits and goals? Setup a SCHEDULE. If you’re a slow learner, 5 minutes/day won’t do shit since you’ll barely warm up your brain before time’s up.

3. E for Encoding. How do I create mental anchors & tricks to make sure I remember stuff? CaFE and DiSSS are great examples :)

Thanks Tim, for an awesome book. Only 15% of the way through but appreciate the hard work and beautiful product!

2012 Year In Review

By 3 methods may we learn wisdom: first, by reflection, which is noblest; second, by imitation, which is the easiest; third, by experience, which is the most bitter – Confucius

Blogging is a combination of all 3. Writing a post requires you to reflect on the topic and its details; in the process, you consciously and subconsciously imitate other writers; you gain hard-earned experience accumulating, processing, and sharing what’s in your brain.

I’ve written a detailed 2012 Year in Review using Evernote. However, some of it is very private, so below are snippets from each section (Highs, Lows, Conclusions, 2013 Plans).

Highs

  • Grew Hyperink to a team of 15 people and achieved cashflow profitability (unrelated events)
  • Visited Japan for the first time (2 weeks in Tokyo + Hakone in November)
  • Planned a Vegas bachelor party and was a groomsman for David and Khanh’s wedding
  • Reconnected with Dad, whom I haven’t seen in years
  • Sold Management Consulted to a great partner and long-term owner
  • Housed my teenage cousin Ray for a week
  • Began researching “How to live forever” and self-published a 100-page work-in-progress
  • Re-started long-form writing (through this site)

Lows

  • Took too many Vegas trips which were expensive and did not help me grow
  • [rest are redacted]

Conclusions

  • Amazing how little I remember of the year. Need a better way to track important events, mistakes, insights. A combination of Evernote, Facebook, and Twitter works but is insufficient. Stopped consistently using Everyday.me. More regular journaling in Evernote instead?
  • Japan was amazing. Huge difference between work travel (where focus was Powerpoint slides, and I only had weekend days to explore), and travel for travel’s sake. Travel is defined by the people you meet
  • Glad to be learning again, both formal (classes like Python bootcamp, Lynda) and informal (reading a book every month, adding diverse new RSS feeds)
  • Once again, realized the value of good, loyal friends. Appreciating and strengthening those relationships is key
  • I need to think in terms of 5-year plans, longer-term commitments, projects that help other people
  • I feel a kinship to Murakami in many ways – particularly his views on things like being alone, doing what you want, growing old. Some great quotes here

2013 plans

  • More “travel for the sake of travel” (like my Tokyo trip)
  • More learning – create a fun, measurable monthly learning plan
  • [rest are redacted]

And finally, some fun + powerful reads for you!