In my most recent blog I said I would discuss the vital deficiency that brought Robert down. I call that deficiency a purpose deficiency. Robert had no clear purpose in his life beyond improving his golf game; when crunch time came, that wasn't purpose enough.
Many careful observers have noticed for a long time that there is a strong correlation between one's awareness of and action to fulfill one's life purpose and the state of one's health. One such careful observer was Viktor Frankl, who survived three years in Nazi concentration camps largely because of his powerful dedication to his purpose of serving his fellow inmates and his great courage. After his liberation from the concentration camp, he resumed his medical practice as a psychiatrist and wrote his book, Man's Search for Meaning.
I knew, years ago, when I read his book, that he was right. I tried to use logotherapy, the psychotherapy system he developed, in my psychiatric practice but it was countercultural at the time. When I recommended the process to patients the response was something like, "What's this noise about logotherapy? Doc, I'm feeling ill; that means I need a pill--not a purpose." So my logotherapy initiative went nowhere in the 70s. A quarter century has now passed and I am finding more people, though still not a lot, who have some awareness that purpose does matter and they have either found theirs or are searching for it. These are the people who have the best chance of achieving great health.
Why is knowing and fulfilling one's life purpose one of the three essentials for great health? Dr. Jonathan Wright, in his preface to our book, Healthspan, wrote, "What is good health for? If we don't know the answer to this question, then we are not as likely to achieve the good health we are looking for. Like the dog forever chasing the car, we wouldn't know what to do with it if we ever to catch it! As Dr. Freud (who is correct occasionally) would have told us, the subconscious mind knows if we've truly answered "What is good health for?" and if we haven't it may not help us or even hinder us on the road to the good health the conscious mind desires.
"If there's no reason to live to 100 years or more we probably won't! Diet, physical conditioning, meditation, and all of the multiple aspects of holistic health are literally "empty exercises" without a purpose."
Friedrich Nietzsche said it very well: "If you have a why, you can make do with almost any how." Perhaps you can see how that could contribute to achieving great health in tough times.
I intend for the next post to be about how to discover one's life purpose, if one does not already know it, and the importance of taking daily action to fulfill that purpose if one does already know it.