This article originally appeared in Psychology Today.

This fall we are tackling the four pillars of resilience:

  • Purpose and Meaning
  • Beliefs and Mindset
  • Habits and Practices
  • Relationships and Supports

In the last post, we examined the protective power of traveling back in time to assign strength-based meaning to past struggles.

In this post, we will take a look at the importance of cultivating purpose in both our daily interactions and larger life pursuits.

To review, Dr. Anthony Burrow, the author of “The Ecology of Purposeful Living Across the Lifespan”, describes purpose as the why that propels us forward, the reason we do what we do, the inspiration we have for being in this world (check out his interview on Hidden Brain).

The John Templeton Foundation gives this fancy definition: Purpose is a stable and generalized intention to accomplish something that is at once personally meaningful and at the same time leads to productive engagement with some aspect of the world beyond the self.

Purpose combines the why behind what we do with a long-term desire to make a dent in the world.