“The greatest thing in this world is not so much where we stand as in what direction we are moving.” ― Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Living with purpose.” The phrase evokes a range of thoughts and emotions, doesn’t it? When we choose to live with purpose, we choose to live proactively and decisively, rather than reactively.
As part of the Alaka’i O Kaua’i approach to project-based learning with a social-emotional focus, one vital component is purpose. Within the social-emotional learning (SEL) framework, we recognize purpose as follows: You are oriented toward a future goal, and you can explain the reason for your goal.
To understand the importance of purpose, it’s helpful to examine another key element of Alaka’i O Kaua’i’s approach to education: the 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Successfully living with purpose encapsulates several of the 7 Habits: Being Proactive, Beginning With the End in Mind, and Putting First Things First. Understanding and incorporating those steps into your life connects directly to having a clear sense of purpose.
Let’s dive a little deeper into those Habits.
- Habit 1: Be Proactive — With this habit, a learner can say, “I am a responsible person. I take initiative, and I choose my actions and attitudes.” Through developing this habit, kids are able to learn responsibility, initiative, self-control and self-management.
- Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind — With this, a learner can say, “I plan ahead and set goals. I do things that have meaning and make a difference. I look for ways to be a good citizen.” In turn, they are learning to have purpose and vision, and developing skills of planning, self-management and reflection.
- Habit 3: Put First Things First — By practicing this habit, a learner is saying, “I spend my time on things that are most important. I set priorities, make a schedule, and follow a plan.” This habit develops skills of prioritization, planning and time management, and follow-through.
These habits influence a child’s sense of purpose and attitude. When learners embrace the value of thinking and doing with purpose, they can develop stronger self-esteem, improve social skills and empathy, and are empowered to enrich the world around them.
When learners understand the importance of approaching things — from school projects to life goals — with proactivity and the end in mind, they begin to grasp the value of living with purpose.
Watch: On Purpose