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The journey

The turning points in life

We all live different periods in our lives, often with changes in places, social relationships, occupation. This creates turning points in life, which are often difficult or even painful. Our self-image and our path become blurred, we experience grief and we have many reasons for being anxious.
What are the manifestations of these turning points ? How can we rapidly realize we are in one of them ? How to best live through them? Are there any invariants ? Are there variants ?


Engagement

Goethe wrote a famous text on engagement which can be translated as follows:

As long as we do not engage, there is doubt, it is still possible to withdraw and inefficiency is prevailing.
There is a basic truth regarding all acts of initiative and creativity, and ignoring it bears countless consequences, wrecks splendid projects.
As soon as we fully engage, providence too starts acting. All sorts of things that would never have happened come to help us. A whole chain of events, situations and decisions creates all sorts of favourable incidents, encounters and material help that we would never have dreamed of.
All you can do, or are dreaming of doing, you can undertake it. Daring holds in itself genius, power and magic.

Beautiful, isn’t it ? Many of us might have experienced how right it is. However, many of us might also have engaged in projects… which failed.

Then, if what Goethe has felt and written sounds right, how come could we  fail when we fully engaged ? There are several possible answers:
- we may not have really fully engaged ( but, then, what is full engagement ?)
- it all depends on what we regard as failing
- it only works when something in us sees clearly what we need to do, which means that there are also other inner voices which can lead us in wrong tracks. But, then, which voice should we listen to ?
- …..


The compass

How do we make key decisions in life ? Do we have some 6th sense, a compass, that guides us in our choices ? If such a compass exists, how can we sense it? What happens if one does it wrong? Which tools or steps can help us there? Is it some kind of intuition? How does it combine with chance in life and what is the role of chance in our quests ?

 

The thread

Is there such a thing as a thread that links all our projects and actions in life? Can there be several of them? Or none? What about the possible twists and turns?  What about this famous sentence by Kierkegaard: " Life is lived forward but can only be understood backwards" ? 

Key choices in life: (4) in search of our inner compass

February 2017

This paper concludes, at least for today, this site's series of paper about key choices in life; it tries to draw some lessons about them. These choices request that we contact our inner compass, i.e both perceiving it and following what it suggests, which is not always easy as we could see in the preceding papers. Since this site's theme is our quests in life, exploring our ways to get in touch with this inner compass is also getting closer to the mystery of our quests and of the way we give meaning to our lives.

Key choices in life: (3) how do people cope with them ?

December 2016

Key choices in life are sometimes difficult. We have studied how people of various ages, profiles and origins cope with them. Our goal was to explore the range of possible ways to deal with key choices in life. There is two reasons for doing so. First, when one is not mastering a job, it is always interesting to look at how others cope with it, not necessarily to imitate them but as a way to trigger one's intuition about what can be good for oneself. Second, we tried to explore, below the high variety of answers we would gather, the limited number of invariants, i.e. of basic mechanisms that could tell us something about human nature and the laws of a quest, or, in other words, the look for order below the apparent chaos.  In this paper, we will share a selection of our « raw material Â» i.e. some excerpts of our interview notes and of texts read.

Key choices in life: (2) is there such a thing as a wrong choice?

Denis Bourgeois and Phil Dixon

January 2016

In this second paper, we wonder if, when dealing with key choices in life, there is such a thing as a “wrong” choice. In other words, we explore whether such choices can be termed “right” or “wrong”, and, if we can differentiate, on which basis.

Choice story: (3) when it is too late to stop the train

January 2016

In the film Four Weddings and a Funeral (Mike Newell, 1994), Charles (played by Hugh Grant) is about to marry Henrietta.

Choice story: (2) the fight between the two Joan or the tough choice of a first job

May 2015

Joan is 23. She successfully studied in various countries, she is dynamic. She completed her studies by doing a Sustainable Development Master in a business school because she is concerned by this topic.Now at the end of her student life, she can choose between two jobs for which she has been accepted. She is conscious that not anyone has got this opportunity but it is a tough choice for her. She must choose within the next month.

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