J.D. Roth, prolific financial writer that he is, posted a few days ago, on his Get Rich Slowly blog, that if you want to know your purpose in life, he has compiled 12 exercises that will reveal your true self. I’ve been spending much time on the exercises and they are revealing. You have to re-vision yourself as a child, which according to Roth is your true original self and then take it from there.
I detest thinking of myself as a child. I had a very tumultuous childhood. It’s one that I’d rather forget because the memories are too painful. In the midst of my pain however, I learned to sharpen my humor, tell jokes and just laugh it all away. I was more than a class clown. I mastered a sense of humor that could qualify me as the next Joan Rivers. But I would have no part of that. I just wanted to get through life. And I wanted to forget my experiences.
I’ve been keeping a diary of my life since I was fourteen. And I’ve been wanting to kill myself and commit suicide since the day I was born. There isn’t a day I don’t think about ending it all because I think it’s a way of ending my pain. I know how preposterous it sounds and that’s probably why I only dream about doing it and never, ever actually do it. I’d miss myself too much to endure a life without me.
Doing the exercises Roth recommends made me think back to my diaries (which I have kept faithfully throughout all these years). The opening line of my very first diary is this sentence: History Of A Failure. Can you imagine being 14 years old and thinking your life as a failure? Well, it was. I’d been beaten and abused, neglected and tossed aside since that day I really was born. Only my mother defended me and tried to get me the help that I needed. But it was the 1950’s and there was no tolerance nor understanding of my creative self. I was a square peg being forced into a round hole and guess what? It never quite worked out.
Thinking about myself as a teenage failure made me realize one thing. As I got older, wiser and smarter, I started taking the bad things that happened to me and turned them into successes. Today, I do NOT think of myself as a failure. I think of myself as a survivor. I’ve been able to master each and every calamity with style and grace and make myself a victor. Not a victim. Until I took Roth’s quiz, I hadn’t realized how well I had accomplished this feat. So, I thank J.D. Roth very much for this insight and I plan on continuing to fulfill the rest of his 11 exercises.
Exercise #1: In 100 words, what is my life philosophy? Core Beliefs? Values?
Life Philosophy: It’s a dog eat dog world out there. No one really is your friend. Not your family or devoted spouse. Not your co-worker, business partner, school friend or parish priest. When push comes to shove they’ll leave you in the dust. Everyone is out for themselves.
Core Beliefs: I believe in an all supreme, powerful being……..God. Always the same. Never wavering. God is my one true friend. He will never disappoint me. He will never betray me. He is always there for me. He will always guide me. He will always protect me.
Values: Family values. Family love. Only family truly matters. If you have raised your children right, if you have treated your spouse fairly, honestly and with respect, the love will always shine through.