A Simple Path – To a Useful Life | The BridgeMaker

A Simple Path – To a Useful Life

By on Oct 21, 2012

23 Comments


“Act as if what you do makes a difference. It does.” ~ William James

Egg drop soup and fried rice was the perfect lunch combination on a chilly autumn day recently. After filling my spoon with the last sip of soup, my attention turned to the fortune cookies scattered on the table.

The way I select my fortune cookie is to look for the one that appears to be pointing to me; the one that is calling my name. While there is no real science behind my method, there is an intuitive sense I have that tells me to, “Pick that one.”

So, I did.

I took off the cellophane and broke the cookie in half. After unfolding the white paper, I read: You lead a useful life no matter what riches are coming to you.

I picked the right cookie. The words felt more like a prayer than a fortune. They were encouraging, hopeful and just what I needed to combat the chilly air.

The fortune cookie was a gentle reminder that a useful life isn’t always measured in material rewards – a useful life is measured in love, too:

  • A useful life is measured by giving your children strong roots and then a set of wings so they can fly when ready.
  • A useful life is measured by giving yourself forgiveness for the mistakes made in the past.
  • A useful life is measured by finding the joy in each day.
  • A useful life is measured by the promises you keep.
  • A useful life is measured by taking the time to discover your passion.
  • A useful life is measured by giving your spouse or partner a safe, warm heart they can fall into whenever needed.
  • A useful life is measured by learning to silence your inner critic.
  • A useful life is measured by touching others with your special gifts.
  • A useful life is measured by feeling the pain when it hurts.
  • A useful life is measured by moving on from the pain when you are ready.
  • A useful life is measured by letting go and allowing life to unfold.
  • A useful life is measured by not believing the lie.
  • A useful life is measured by believing the truth about you: You have a worth placed inside you that can never be taken away.

When I’m enjoying my last days, I don’t think I’ll look back and consider the things I achieved (or didn’t achieve). I think I’ll look back and consider how many hearts I touched with my actions, words and prayers. I think I’ll look back and consider the lessons I taught my children and the love I gave my wife.

Sometimes the simple path to a useful life begins with understanding the answer to the question, “What did you do with the time you were given?” might be , “I helped. I inspired. I loved.”

After lunch, I tucked the slip of paper into my pocket. It was time to get back to work. Stepping outside, the egg drop soup, and fortune, went to work warming my body and soul.

I felt energized knowing that my useful life was waiting.

What is A Simple Path?

This post is in A Simple Path, a twice-weekly series of short pieces inspired by my own life experiences. Each post is a simple path to experiencing something wonderful: maybe seeing life from a different perspective, or celebrating its beauty. Click here to read all posts in the series.

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  • riza del

    Awesome! 5 stars for this post…

  • http://twitter.com/ahergenrother Mind Spark

    Hi, Alex – thanks so much for this insightful article! I’m going to spotlight this on our Mind Spark Recommends blog or weekly The Spark with Adam Hergenrother video this week, just so you know… Hopefully it will be some added exposure for you and get more folks inspired to make lasting changes. I’ll be sure to tag you on Twitter!

    Thanks for all of the great work you’re contributing!

    Have an inspiring day,

    Gregory Douglass
    Creative Director
    Adam Hergenrother & Mind Spark, Inc.
    “Life Without Limits”
    805-220-8158 cell
    gregory@mindsparkignite.com
    http://www.mindsparkignite.com
    http://www.youtube.com/mindsparktv

    • http://www.thebridgemaker.com/ Alex Blackwell

      That’s awesome Gregory – thanks so much for sharing the message.