Last week in Ithaca, as a member of the Presidents Council of Cornell Women I attended a networking lunch with a group of women undergrads. When it was my turn to offer a nugget of advice, I said:
1) Develop a mission statement. This exercise puts you in touch with what is most important to you and helps keep you focused when the going gets rough. Write it on a poster and put it in a visible space. Or keep it on a scrap of paper in your wallet. Do whatever works to keep it in your mind. As your roles, responsibilities, relationships and circumstances evolve, periodically check: Is the path I'm on helping me fulfill my mission?
2) When you get up in the morning, take your ego out and put your glasses on (or contact lenses in). In most cases, your ability to profit from others' comments, criticisms, suggestions and advice will determine how much and how quickly you learn. An open mind, like an open vessel, gains much.
3) Wherever you are and whatever you are doing, ask yourself, "What can I learn now?" Every situation is an opportunity to learn something. So keep your eyes open. You'll grow in ways you couldn't imagine. As a bonus, you'll never be bored.
Life is good even when it is not what we expect or want or planned for or hoped for. A mission statement can help you make your life a good life, whatever the circumstances.