Marty Nemko, a career coach, author and radio talk-show host in the San Francisco area, who has very practical career and educational advice that I highly recommend, wrote a very personal article titled “What the Hell is the Meaning of Life”. This article is the conclusion (here is the first) of a seven part series in response to Marty’s question.

Marty wrote,

“Here’s my current thinking, highly subject to revision. It comes down to being nice to everyone possible: look for opportunities to give heartfelt praise, a kind letter to a long-long friend, an unnecessary gift, etc. Don’t expect anything in return–you too often won’t get it. Take pleasure in the giving itself. That approach to life will ensure you do some good, it doesn’t require Herculean effort, and you will feel good no matter how other people respond.”

Your “current thinking” about being nice and giving praise is good advice however when you say “don’t expect anything in return – you too often won’t get it”, you sound a bit defeatist. As you say, be nice, kind and express goodwill however also remember to be optimistic, enthusiastic and always focus one the best within others. Don’t despair if they don’t respond ideally.

Finally, you ask, “how do you wring the most from life?” Broaden your perspective. You are more than what you think you are. Working with life from a higher, spiritual perspective, as discussed in Part 1, is the only true satisfaction you can have. It’s what lasts. The potential for this exists for all of us regardless of our wealth, prestige, gender, race or health. After all the sun shines for everyone, right?

I want to give Marty the “last word” on the question of the meaning of life and I recently visited his website and found this recent entry on his blog which mirrors some of my comments in my article “The Meaning of Life: Rise and Shine”(which he hadn’t read before he wrote the following), and, along with all of what Marty writes is solid, sound advice. Marty wrote,

“Today, my client, Evan Wright, asked me, “How do you get so much done?” Here’s what I said: It starts with the spiritual. The meaning of life to me is defined primarily by how much I contribute to the world. If I act merely to give myself pleasure, my life has made little difference. So, I rarely procrastinate; work is not only what I should do, but want to do.”

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