The Alive, Alert And Achieving Things Approach

There are many ways to live life. Some people focus on doing the activities where they feel alive, alert and achieve things. They also follow the anti-numbness approach. Let’s explore these themes.


What are the specific activities where you feel alive? You may feel this when caring for your loved ones, playing a sport, doing a creative project, performing satisfying work or doing other activities.

People want to feel alive. Some reach a point in their career where they are no longer doing satisfying work. They feel stodgy and part of a big system. 

This is a topic that some people raise during mentoring sessions. Whilst it is not always possible to change everything straight away, we often find ways they can do satisfying work. We also focus on how they can do other things to regain their zest for life.


What are the activities where you feel alive and alert? You may do this when you are in your element – doing activities where you feel at ease and yet able to excel.

Going into the situation, you use your antennae to gather information. Scanning the situation, you may look for patterns, see possibilities and the potential challenges.

Great workers often take this approach. They use their strengths and experience to clarify what is happening. They then settle on their chosen strategies for achieving the desired picture of success.

Achieving Things

People often like to set and achieve goals. Bearing this in mind, what are the activities where you feel alive, alert and also achieve things? These could be in your personal or professional life.

You may get satisfaction from encouraging a person, cooking a meal or renovating a building. You may get it from solving a problem, completing a creative project or sharing knowledge that helps other people.

Joseph Campbell, the professor of mythology, was sometimes approached by people who were looking for meaning in life. He said:

“I don’t think people are really seeking the meaning of life. I think we’re seeking an experience of being alive. We want to feel the rapture of being alive

This highlights a key theme followed by some people in their lives and work.

The Alive And
Anti-Numbness Approach

Some people believe that parts of society are geared towards numbing people. They recognise that some politicians, institutions and bureaucracies aim to control and exhaust people. This can lead to people feeling numb or choosing to numb themselves.

Some people aim to continue to feel alive and alert in their own lives. Some artists, writers, thinkers and others do work that encourages people to experience and retain their aliveness.

Such individuals also encourage people to focus on the experiences that give them joy, happiness and stimulation. They encourage people to be on the side of life and combat institutions that can numb people into despair and consumerism.  

Let’s return to your own life and work. Can you think of a specific activity where you feel alive, alert and achieve things? This could be in your personal or professional life.

How can you continue to do this activity? How can you do this in a way the benefits you and maybe other people? What may happen as a result of taking these steps?

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

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