The Lawyer’s Well-Being Brief

Can we have successful well-being habits without having a purpose?

Marc W. Crayton

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“No matter how hard the past, you can always begin again.”- Jack Kornfield

We all know that our well-being habits are important. Nevertheless, it is not easy to stick with our well-being habits. That is the reality of our lives. There will be peaks, valleys, and of course plateaus. That’s perfectly normal. There is some interesting research that suggests that being flexible with our well-being habits is a better approach than being rigid. Today, I won’t get much more into that research, instead, I want to discuss purpose.

The Path to Purpose — How Young People Find Their Calling in Life, written by William Damon, takes a scientific look at purpose. William Damon is a Professor at Stanford and one of the world’s leading researchers on the science of morality and child development.

“What exactly do I mean by a ‘life purpose’? A purpose is an ultimate concern. It is the final answer to the question Why? Why are you doing this? Why is it important? A purpose is a deeper reason for the immediate goals and motives that drive most daily behavior.

Short-term desires come and go. He gives examples that might pertain to a young person, they may desire a good grade on a test, a date to the prom, a cutting-edge electronic PlayStation, a starting slot on the basketball team, or admission to a prestigious college. These are desires; they reflect immediate aims that may or may not have longer-term significance. A purpose, by contrast, is an end in itself.

Applied to ourselves, we have the same types of desires that are immediate aims, they just look different than the examples above. Many times, these immediate aims can get in the way of our well-being choices, habits, and routines.

According to Damon, “The single greatest barrier to youngsters finding their paths to purpose is the fixation on the short horizons that infuses cultural messages sent to young people today. A popular culture celebrating quick results and showy achievements has displaced the traditional values of reflection and contemplation that once stood as the moral north star of human development and education. Instant mass communication transmits tales of…

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Marc W. Crayton

I help newer, younger lawyers make better well-being decisions so that they can thrive personally and professionally. Forward, always!