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The Purpose Of Life

by Charly Mann

What is the purpose of life? Most people rarely think about this question. Philosophers and theologians have offered a multitude of answers, but there is no simple answer from any of them. I think the best answer is that each person should find a purpose for his or her life that gives it meaning. To find a purpose we need to dedicate the first phase of our existence to finding something we are passionate about and will inspire us every day to do the best we can. In determining our purpose we should focus on something that fosters personal growth, compassion, and an awareness of the world around us. One of the most meaningful purposes one can have in life is helping others improve their lives.

As humans we are not naturally wired to have a meaningful life. While it might seem natural that we would always strive to act in our best interests, we can observe how much harm we actually cause ourselves. Look at how many of us allow ourselves to become obese, abuse drugs and alcohol, spend more money than we have, or stay in relationships that make us miserable. As humans we seem to actually be wired to act impulsively and respond more often to our physical needs than our rational ones. To have a meaningful life we must train ourselves to make choices that are best for our true self-interest.

The best way to gain control over our self-destructive tendencies is to reward ourselves with incentives for making good choices. For example lets say you believe you would feel better and eat less if you drank four eight ounce glasses of water a day. Give yourself $20 a day towards some toy or thing you want if you reach your goal. Everybody wants to change their bad habits, but we just let our inertia and lack of focus sabotage us. Financial incentives work exceptionally well to overcome our natural tendencies.

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How to Make Your Dreams Come True

 Bluebird of Happiness
Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly.
Birds fly over the rainbow. Why then, oh why can't I?

"The only way to fly over the rainbow is to stop dreaming and start doing what is necessary to make your dreams come true."

Kathryn Mann

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Who are You? A Vision Quest

 

“Who are you?” said the Caterpillar. Alice replied “I hardly know Sir. At least I know who I was when I got up this morning, but I think I must have changed several times since then.

In the real world nothing is constant or definite. We are like water, ever changing, moving, and evolving along our path.

This painting, from our collection, shows the journey of one wise man as he makes his journey through life. He has shed the material world and is seeking a vision symbolized by the Sun Dance pole. He has prepared himself with medicine (a doctor’s bag plus accoutrements) and has started his spiritual trip. His journey has potential dangers (symbolized by the Gila monster), yet temporal time is suspended (the sandial is laid upon its side), while his faith protects him (symbolized by the guardian spirits of the kingfisher and Shaman vase).
 

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Something That Might Cheer You Up

by Charly Mann 

In the last ten years the number of children and adolescents diagnosed with bipolar disorder has gone up 4,000% according to the National Institute of Health. The number of adults with bipolar disorder has doubled during this period.

The cause of these increases is unclear to psychologists and psychiatrists, but I have a good idea what the problem is. If you were born before 1950, your chance of developing some form of depression in your lifetime were only 1/10 of those who were born after that time, and just 1/30 as likely as people born in the last thirty years. The big change during this time is that we have made huge advancements in technology that allow our brains be to far more passive. Our brains were designed to derive pleasure and satisfaction from active pursuits. For most of our existence as a species, we had to be continually resourceful just to survive. Now we “veg out" watching television, playing video games, and surfing the Internet. Today, there is little that requires a combination of physical exertion and problem solving.  Just a hundred years ago, more than 80% of the United States’ labor force worked on farms, or did skilled labor that required significant physical effort, such as furniture making, mining, and construction. Today, the vast majority of Americans have white collar and service jobs, and the number working on farms has declined from 38% to 2.6% of the population.

People who are physically active and spend time creating something that is visible and tangible suffer from depression much less, and score significantly higher in critical thinking tests than people who do not. Just as significantly, mentally and physically active people exhibit far more self-confidence.

Our brains need mental stimulation and active pursuits that require skill and creativity. There are many activities that can ensure sustained mental health, including painting, gardening and writing, which can be combined with regular strenuous exercise to allow our brains to function as they were meant to. Make your mind healthy by putting it to work.

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We Do Not Remember Days, We Remember Moments

 

Life is full of beauty. Notice it.

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The Best Thing in Life is Enjoying It

 

Each day comes bearing its own gifts. Untie the ribbon.

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Charly Mann in a Hawaiian shirt
Charly Mann

About Me

Ever since I was very young I have been intrigued with how one could live happily ever after like the characters I read about in fairy tales. As a child I noticed most of the adults I was exposed to were often anxious and angry, and only a very few seemed to be calm and happy. By the time I was a teenager I was scouring philosophy and psychology books looking for instructions on how to have a marvelous life. I also began questioning scores of adults I would encounter about their philosophy on life and what they thought one needed to do to be perfectly contented. In 1967, at the age of 17, I started a daily journal that compiled all the information I acquired that day on the subject. Today that journal includes three dozen large notebooks and more than 3,400 pages on my hard drive.

I have had a marvelous life thus far - most of it incredibly happy, healthy, and successful. Since 1968 I have also tracked how happy and successful I was in the previous year. Through the end of 2013, each year has been significantly better than the year before. I believe much of this can be attributed on what I learned and implemented in my own life about achieving good health, success, and happiness. As I mature and learn more my methodology for making my life great has changed a lot. I achieved enormous financial success before I was 25, which contributed greatly to my enjoyment of life for almost a decade, but even before I was 30 I found that there were things far more important than wealth that made my life great and I keep discovering more. I have had financial independence since I was very young, but almost all the joys and pleasure I now derive from life are free or cost very little.

On Uplifting Visions I share insights that I have gained from my own experience, observation, and a life of research on attaining happiness, health, and success.

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