The Positive Things You Want To Give People While You Are On The Planet Approach

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People love to have a sense of purpose. They enjoy focusing on training for a marathon, building a house, climbing a mountain, leading a stimulating project or whatever.

Individuals also like to feel they are pursuing a worthwhile purpose as a person, parent or professional. The eternal question is: How do they find their purpose? There are many answers. These include, for example:

Some focus on the positive things they want to give to people during their time on the planet.

Some pursue their personal values – the things they believe are important in life – their spiritual faith or their vocation. 

Some aim to build on their strengths and do satisfying work that helps other people. 

Some ask similar questions to those asked by Buckminster Fuller when he was drifting in life. He asked:

“What is my job on the planet? What is it that needs doing, that I know something about, that probably won’t happen unless I take responsibility for it?”  

Some focus on how they can perform superb work or pass on knowledge that encourages both present and future generations. They aim to leave a positive legacy. 

Different people use different approaches. After following their chosen route, they may then produce a one-line sentence that summarises their purpose. Here are some examples of such phrases that people have written on this theme.

My purpose is:

I want to encourage people … I want to promote justice … I want to help people to recover from cancer … I want to educate people to respect animals … I want to create enriching environments that enable people to grow … I want to increase the amount of happiness in the world.

These phrases say what each person wants to do. They will then express their purpose in different ways at different times of their lives.

This article explores the first of the approaches mentioned above – the positive things you want to give to people. How to follow this route?

One model is to simply describe these things and the benefits they will bring to people. Another model is to start by exploring the positive things you have been given in your life. It is then to focus on what you want to give to others.

You may, for example, have been given encouragement, a happy childhood, the opportunity to play music, the chance to visit many cultures, tools you could use to overcome setbacks or whatever.

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the positive things you have been given in your life.

Describe the positive benefits you got from being given these things.

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Different people give different answers when doing this exercise, but sometimes they get a realisation. They realise that the things they want to give to others may mirror the things they have been given in life.

Richard St. Barbe Baker, who co-founded The Men of Trees, was somebody who followed this path. His inspired many people to plant trees and contribute towards building a positive planet.

Richard’s epiphany came at a young age. Writing in his book My Life My Trees, he describes how in 1894, at the age of five, he had an unforgettable experience that charted his future path.

After much coaxing, his nurse allowed him to explore the woods by himself. He continues:

“No explorer of space probing the secrets of other planets could have felt more exultation that I did at that moment.

“Soon I was completely isolated in the luxuriant, tangled growth of ferns which were well above my head. In my infant mind I seemed to have entered a fairyland of my dreams.

“I wandered on as in a dream, all sense of time and space lost. I became intoxicated with the beauty all around me, immersed in the joyousness and exultation of feeling part of it all.

“I had entered the temple of the wood. I sank to the ground in a state of ecstasy; everything was intensely vivid – the call of a distant cuckoo seemed just for me.

“The overpowering beauty of it all entered my very being. At that moment my heart brimmed over with a sense of unspeakable thankfulness which has followed me through the years since that woodland re-birth.

“I was in love with life: I was indeed born again, although I could not have explained what had happened to me then.”

My Life My Trees

Richard was a changed person. Returning from his walk in the woods, he found the commonplace things in life had a new beauty.

The bread he ate tasted crustier and more delicious. The grumpy old gardener looked like a favourite uncle.

His parents gave him even more affection than they had done the previous day. At least, that was how it seemed.

Twenty-six years later he translated this passion into his life’s work. He visited Kenya in 1920. Enlisting the backing of chiefs and elders, he started a programme that led to planting over one million trees.

He then co-founded The Men of Trees and was invited to speak around the world. After helping President Roosevelt to establish the Civil Conservation Corp, he instigated the Save The Redwoods campaign in California.

He also started the Green Front action group, returning to Africa to develop re-forestation work in the Sahara. During his life Richard is believed to have personally planted many millions of trees.

One of his projects was to help save the Californian Redwoods. After crossing America and seeing the trees for the first time in 1931, he wrote:

“It was here that I came upon superb trees representing the supreme achievement of tree growth in the world today. Here it seemed that my search for the beautiful had ended.

“This, I decided must be known as the ‘Grove of Understanding’. It was here that I visualised international plays and youth gatherings.

“What better setting could there be in which to plan the better world of tomorrow?”

Richard then set three goals.

To save the trees for posterity.

To provide a magnificent backdrop where young people could meet and marvel at the beauty of the Redwoods and the planet.

To inspire young people to work together to hand over this legacy to future generations.

Different people choose to give different kinds of things to others. Here are some of the answers that people have given.

The positive things I want
to give to people are:

A loving home … Nourishing food … The chance to build on their strengths … The chance to find satisfying work … Tools they can use to shape their futures … Beautiful experiences.

Some people then translate the things they want to give into their purpose on the planet. They complete the following sentence.

My purpose is:

I want to …

Let’s return to your own life and work. What are the positive things you want to give to people? What will be the benefits of giving these things? How can you take practical steps to translate these ideas into action?

If you wish, try tackling the exercise on this theme. This invites you to do the following things.

Describe the positive things you want to give to people. 

Describe the positive benefits of giving these things.  

Describe the practical steps you can take to give these positive things to people.

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