This Will Give You Your Just Desserts – Promise!
Having a personal ‘purpose’ is all the rage. Most seem to be about doing good for others. Mine too. Enough already!! We’re deluding ourseves. Rather, get totally self-focussed. Here’s why.
I’m in Cape Town, visiting my dear friend Tiramisu Graham. He’s a unique character. He loves doing things for others. Always has done. Last time I was here my then 10 year old mate was panting for the tiramisu dessert on the lunch menu. When it was time to order, it was sold out! He was devastated. I heard Graham that afternoon phoning restaurants, but paid little attention. At dinner, as menus were handed out, he whispered to my mate: “Oh, and they have tiramisu. I reserved a giant serving for you.” My mate beamed. Graham beamed. “It’s a pleasure,” he said to my mate’s excited thanks. And that’s the point.
Pleasure Gives You Energy. Energy Gives You Confidence.
Tiramisu Graham has touched many through his consistently generous and positive intent over the years, and is deeply loved. He is also self-aware. He knows he thrives on the pleasure he gets from the joy he brings others. It energises him. He loves it. Remember Dr. Martin Seligman’s research on the happiest people in the world? Common Trait Number 2: they do something for others without expecting anything back in return.
Tiramisu Graham has got it right.
Here’s my point. It’s okay to seek pleasure in our lives. Pleasure is like high-octane fuel in our veins. It lifts our spirits, recharges our momentum, puts a spring in our step.
The reminder for me, in seeing Tiramisu Graham again (now to be renamed Massive Slice Of Cheese Cake Graham, but that’s another story), is to recognise and nurture the things that give you pleasure in your life. Be very clear on what they are. And then, do them more often. Sometimes it’s about doing stuff for yourself. Often, more powerful pleasure is found in doing stuff for others.
It’s a good thing no doubt to have personal ‘purpose’ goals bedrocked in helping others – for example- to achieve potential, to inspire confidence and hope in those we love and care for (that’s mine by the way), or leave a positive legacy of having ‘made a difference in the lives of others.’ I’m not knocking it. I’m there too, right! Recognise though that it’s also self-serving. We help others with the (often unconscious) self-centered intent of making ourselves feel good. And that’s perfectly fine.
Cheryl Strayed shares this idea in the movie, Wild: “Put yourself in the way of beauty.” There is a sunset and sunrise every day, she says. You can choose to be there for it. I’m getting clarity around those moments of ‘beauty’ for me that I will push myself to be in front of more often. Taking my Mum for a walk along the beach in an hour’s time here at Betty’s Bay is one of them. I do it for her, but really, truthfully dammit, I do it for me. It makes ME feel great.
Remember- pleasure sparks confidence, energy, optimism and resilience. The most powerful pleasure you can get is through doing things for others- from those ‘tiramisu moments.’ And selfishly doing stuff just for yourself is okay too. Are you getting enough of both? (Here’s a coincidence: tiramisu actually means ‘pick me up, lift me up.’ Now- that gives me pleasure!)