Meaning making is an important concept in my life–it is my life’s purpose. Fame, celebrity, happiness, or even a ton of money don’t do it for me, although I enjoy paying bills on time and meeting the mortgage. Past that, the purpose of my life is making enough meaning to act each day in a meaningful way–and exactly what that is varies over time.
New World Library sent me two books to read and mention:
Life Purpose Boot Camp: The 8-Week Breatkthrough Plan for Creating a Meaningful Life, by Eric Maisel Ph.D.
Hop, Skip, Jump,: 75 Ways to Playfully Manifest a Meaningful Life, by Marney K. Makridakis.
Both of these books tackle meaning making in different (very different) ways. But both of them know that meaning-making exercises are important for your career, your personal growth and your peace of mind. If you want to skip to the giveaway, it’s at the end of the post.
Life Purpose Boot Camp, by Eric Maisel, Ph.D. New World Library, 172 pages. Maisel uses the boot camp metaphor as a way to rally yourself to your own defense. Maisel was a drill sergeant at one point, and he uses this no-holds-barred, get-yourself-into-action voice throughout the book. After all, it is a boot camp, and it’s time to get up and get busy.
Maisel bases a lot of his logic thread on his “natural philosophy,” his term for the style of atheism he promotes. Some of this is reasonable–Maisel posits there is no “Universe” that blesses or curses you, your fate is in your own hands. So you must focus on what constitutes meaning making.
Maisel writes, “Many things that upset us, sadden us, or make us anxious may not be things that genuinely affect our ability to live our life purposes. If they aren’t, let them go!” The how-to guidance Maisel gives is “. . .to ask yourself, ‘Are these among the circumstances that I can improve?’ If you don’t regularly ask that question, you won’t give yourself the chance to positively affect those circumstances that would allow you to help yourself.” In my opinion, many people are mired in their own disbelief and would not know an honest answer to the questions. If they could answer the question, they may not know what circumstances they should create. But those problems are in the first 80 pages of the book, and the book does give advice.
Maisel also writes,”If one of your life purposes is to write novels, it matters whether anybody is publishing novels and whether anybody is reading novels. . . . To imagine that we can live our life purposes independent of reality, is well, fantasy.” To keep your meaning together, Maisel suggests a “Meaning Repair Kit” containing a reminder bell, an evaluator thermometer, a personality tap, an aligner level, an investment planner and a reality tester. Again, I find the applications for these devices’ use devoid of soul. Which is exactly the benefit of the existential life Maisel promotes. Oh, and on page 94 he tells you what he wants your life purpose to be. Spoiler alert.
Maisel has a huge fan base and has received only positive reviews (five of them) on Amazon for his book.
Boot Camp Chapter Titles:
- Creating Your Menu of Meaning Opportunities
- Creating Your Mix of Meaning Opportunities
- Upgrading Your Personality
- Dealing with Your Circumstances
- Naming Your Life Purpose
- Creating Your Life Purpose Statement
- Creating Your Life Purpose Icon and Mantra
- Living Your Life Purpose
On the other end of the spectrum is Marney Makridakis, a peripatetic creative who specializes in play, games, puns, jokes, and staying in action through activities that seem like fun. Makridakis, in the introduction, says that manifesting something “you see as being part of your meaningful life” is the likely reason people would read her book. The beginning of the book includes a quiz to help the reader determine if they are hoppers, skippers, or jumpers–different “natural inclinations to manifest.”
In her 282-page book, Makridakis talks about the importance of play, particularly to adults. She includes trivia, haikoodles (haikus that invite doodles) and AcroWhims (acronyms in which existing word functions as a magical abbreviations for a message), and Manifestingrams (an anagram with manifesting powers.
Example of AcroWhim: PLAY = Purposeful Love, Activating Yes.
Example of Manifestagram: MANIFEST = “Amen” fits!
As with all her books, she brings her whole life into the book–her family, her experiences, her ideas and her thoughts. When you buy one of her books, you get the whole package. You are not required to read the book front to back, you can skip around and find parts that appeal to you. As a sequential reader, I found that reading it from front to back has a purpose–to explore different approaches to fun, find the way that works for you, and manifest meaning through fun.
The book is divided into three parts: Hop, Skip, and Jump. Each have a particular meaning, which she describes in detail.
There will be giveaway and assorted deals on Marney’s website tomorrow, Tuesday, November 11, 2014. To date she has three five-star reviews on Amazon.
Some chapter titles (there are 75 chapters in all):
- Playfully Pressing Your Reset Button
- Hopping with Hope
- Twenty-Eight Magic Minutes
- Play with Creative Blocks
- Improvisational Skipping
- Manifesting Mood Rings
- The Animation of Everyday Objects
- Leaving Some of Your Toys Behind
* * * *
The Giveaway: I’m giving away Eric Maisel’s Boot Camp book. It’s not a preference for his book, it’s practical: I never limit my contest winners to the Americas, and it is easier for me to send the smaller volume overseas, if that’s where the winner lives.
Leave a comment to qualify for the book. The winner will be announced on November 16, Sunday. Check back then to see if you’ve won.
Disclosures: New World Library furnished both books for me to review. Eric Maisel was both an instructor and a coach of mine, both over 10 years ago.
—Quinn McDonald loves to read about meaning-making, including books that are strict, fun, or thoughtful.