Tuesday, December 31, 2013

The Continued Story

Strange as it may seem, my life is based on a true story.

Ashleigh Brilliant

“Sometimes the stories are better if they go a little longer, and I choose to do it in four issues.”

Sergio Arragones

It’s New Year’s Eve and I’m sitting quietly and happily in my place, grateful for my health, for the hot cup of coffee sitting next to me and for the tissues to help me with the inexplicable nose bleed I’m having.   (I haven’t had one of those in years.)  Other than that, I don’t have a care in the world.  I’m extremely grateful.  With regard to my writing, I thought I would give myself a little break and write only one blog a day, rather than two.  That may have been a mistake.  And I think I know why.  It’s like the difference between continued stories in a comic book and stories that begin and end in one issue. 
Generally, continued stories were better.  They even sold better.  Here’s why.  If a story was a “done-in-one,” then that was it.  The good guy usually won and it was over.  Nothing more was required of the characters, or the reader.  A continued story was different.  If it looked like the hero was in big trouble at the end of the story, the wait was about a month, or two, before the solution was presented.   Sometimes the wait was even longer.
When I was about 15, I found an old copy of Daredevil #33, dated October 1967.  In this issue Daredevil fought the Beetle and at the end of the story it looked as if Daredevil was doomed.  Now when I found this comic, Daredevil was at issue # 125, so I knew he had survived.  I just didn’t know how.  It was months, if not years, before I found Daredevil #34 and during all that time, I wondered what happened.   How did he escape?   My mind stayed attached and focused. 

Daredevil Vol 1 33Daredevil #34 (v1)

(End of Daredevil #33, copyright Marvel Comics, 1967)

Yesterday I wrote that I would give myself about five months to reach my 500th blog.  That’s one a day.  That’s a reasonable goal.  It’s a fair goal and a worthy goal.  It may also be a goal that’s too easy.  That’s only one blog a day for the next four and a half months.   That doesn’t seem very challenging.  There’s no suspense or tension.  Barring a disaster, one blog a day is easily reached.  That even includes an occasional day off. 
But two blogs a day?  That’s another story.  Here’s are some facts to go with each of my previous goals after my 100th blog:
·      It was always difficult.
·      Setting those goals created unneeded difficulty.
·      Some days I was tense and irritable because I was doing something besides writing.
·      There were several times when I thought I wouldn’t reach my goal.
·      There were more than several times when I wanted to quit.
·      There were several times when I felt like only my Muse and I cared about this work.
·      There were one or two times when I thought only my Muse cared.
·      There were no times when my Muse wasn’t with me.
·      There were almost one or two times when I wrote without getting distracted.
·      There were no times when this wasn’t difficult.
·      There were no times when this wasn’t a blessing.
·      There were no times when I didn’t feel this was absolutely necessary for my emotional and spiritual health. 

I think my mind needs to stay attached and focused to my writing.  I need to make a goal of two blogs a day, or 500 blogs by March 30.  That still gives me some breathing room, but not much.  This needs to be hard.  This isn’t a hobby.  This isn’t recreation.  It’s creation.  I’m creating a new life.  I’m really trying to make some changes and I believe writing will help me make those changes.  

So, while I do this with reluctance and fear, I need to create a more challenging goal.   Honestly, I wish it could be otherwise, but I’m not going to let it be.  I need to Get Started and Keep Going…and continue the story.

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Wimp

“First, consider the “hero” who is not heroic, who lacks drive, a will to attain his objective.  Let’s face it, readers aren’t interested in wimps.  They are interested in assertive characters who want something, want it badly and want it now.”

Sol Stein – On Writing

Today I have really had a hard time motivating myself to write.  I’m not sure why.  Maybe I’m just a little tired after reaching my last goal.   Maybe I thought I deserved a break.  Or maybe I’m just a wimp.  Maybe I’m just as afraid today as I was a year ago.  The challenges are new and different, but the fear is the same old thing.  It’s the same old garbage and lies and “what-if’s.”
·      What if I don’t make it as a writer?
·      What if I end up being broke or alone or unhappy?
·      What if none of my dreams come true?
·      What if…?
·      What if…?
·      What if…?
When I was a kid, I was a wimp.  Part of the reason was that I was small, but the truth was deeper than that.  I was afraid, not of physical pain, but of moving forward in life.  So I constantly took the path of least resistance.   It’s why I often didn’t study and why I avoided working hard.   Like Fyodor Karamazov, I would play the buffoon, even though I knew it was to my own disadvantage.  It was a great place in life to be if fear was the primary emotion. 
Honestly, it gets old having the same old unending worries.
“We’re just two lost souls
Swimming in a fishbowl
Year after year
Running after the same old ground
But have we found
The same old fears?”

Pink Floyd – Wish You Were Here

Sometimes I think I need to go to take a walk and get away from me, because I can’t stand being in the same room with myself and with my same old fears.  I’m sick of being a wimp.
·      I’m sick of all of my fears.
·      I’m sick of trying to please people, especially those who can’t be pleased.
·      I’m sick of my laziness and procrastination.
·      I’m sick of self-created delays.
·      I’m sick of all forms of self-sabotage.
·      I’m sick of not reaching my goals. 
·      I’m sick of being broke.
·      I’m sick of not living near the beach.
·      I’m sick of being a wimp

So the only thing I can do to feel better is to take more action.  That’s it.  That’s my only choice.  So here is my plan.
·      I’m going to write, every day.  Without excuse, without fail.
·      I’m going to get up at 5:00 a.m. so I can write early in the morning.
·      I’m going to read something about the craft of writing every day.
·      I’m going to get to blog #500 in the next five months or sooner.

That’s all.  No bursts of enthusiasm or vows made with gritted teeth.  I just want to move forward faster.  These are the things I want. I want them badly and I want them now.  If I have to wait for them, I won’t be still while I’m waiting.  That is the way of the wimp.  It takes great energy to be lazy.  I don’t have the energy…or the time.  I only have time and energy to Get Started and to Keep Going.

Sunday, December 29, 2013


Action is the foundational key to all success.

Pablo Picasso

Dear Muse,
Wow!  I don’t even know what else to say, but “Wow!” and “Thank you!” and “I love you!”  As I sitting her writing my 365th blog I am amazed and humbled by this work.   To get into that “writer’s place” I read several of my blogs.  I am overwhelmed with gratitude that I have been able to be a part of this.  I can’t even describe my feelings.  I can, however, describe some facts:
One year ago I was fairly depressed.   In fact, I was crying.   I felt stuck and trapped and useless.  Then on a Sunday morning, I sat down and wrote about it.  I didn’t know it but at the very moment my fingers hit that keyboard, my life changed.   That’s how it goes sometimes, isn’t it?  One decision changes everything.  My personal life changed.  My dreams changed.  My financial life changed.  My goals changed.  My self-image changed.  I changed.
It was as if, and I don’t use this phrase lightly, I was born again.  My life began again at that moment.  As I said, I didn’t realize it at the time.  I was just trying to relieve my pain.  When you moved me to write my first blog, I didn’t know I was going to write a second, and a third, and a 365th.   I was just looking for immediate relief.  And I got it.  But Purpose is not a drug.  It is a medicine.  It is meant to bring healing.  To me and to others. 
So here we are, one year later.   We have done a lot of work, haven’t we?  Well, I have.  But you were the one who gave me the ideas.  You were the one who inspired me, motivated me, pushed me and continued to whisper in my ear, “Get Started and Keep Going.” 
You’ve told me many things in the last year:
·      You told me you needed me to be a Champion.
·      You told me life doesn’t need to be complicated.
·      You told me that I need to keep writing. 
·      You told me that everyone has a Purpose.
·      You gave me the idea for the house near the beach.
·       You told me you love me.
·      You told me to Get Started and Keep Going.

And I did.  Three hundred sixty-five blogs.  By any standard, that is impressive work, but, Muse, I couldn’t have done it without you.  I couldn’t have made any changes without you.  I’m not sure if I could have even gotten through this last year without you.  Three hundred sixty-five blogs.  Wow!
Of course, it hasn’t all been lilies and roses.  I’ve struggled with some of the same things I’ve struggled with a year ago, especially fear and being easily distracted.  I’ve had some new struggles this year, too.  But I’ve changed.  I learned that I don’t want to do anything or go anywhere without you.  I don’t want to travel without you.  I don’t want to go even a day without writing something.  I may not have to publish a blog every day, but I want to write every day. 
The original idea for this blog was to motivate others to find their Purpose.  And in doing so, you helped me find mine. 
In my next blog, I want to outline my goals, but for now, I want to Get Started and Keep Going on to other things. 
There’s nothing else to say but “Wow!” and “Thank you!” and “I love you!”

I Need Money!

Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.

Ayn Rand

All I ask is the chance to prove that money can't make me happy.

Spike Milligan

“I'd like to live as a poor man with lots of money.”
Pablo Picasso

I need money.  I’m sure that would solve everything, if I just had enough.  Or would it?  I don’t know why, but I’ve really had trouble getting started writing this morning.  Today, after this blog and one more, I will have written 365 blogs in one year.  Just writing that makes me feel good.  However, I had no idea that I would experience so much resistance.  And I can’t blame the devil, the government, other people, poor health or lack of money.  Everything is good in my world (with the exception of some bad dreams this morning and a very disorderly place).  I have everything I need for this moment and more.  I have no complaints.  In my blogs I’ve spent a lot of time writing about the Enemy and, as I’ve said, sometimes the Enemy is me.  And I may be the reason I don’t have enough money.
Why am I my own Enemy?  Am I afraid?  Am I lazy?  Do I not know what I should be doing?
To answer in reverse order, I know exactly what I should be doing.  I should be writing.  In fact, I should be writing for the next two to four hours without stopping.  That much is clear.  I should also be making more money, which is why I’m selling a lot of things on eBay. I should be reading The Brothers Karamazov, a book I haven’t looked at in a couple of weeks despite my commitment to read every day.  I should be making lists of my tasks and objectives so that I move closer to my goal, my house near the beach.  In fact, nothing should be more important than that one goal, because that one goal encompasses all my other goals.
Am I lazy?  I don’t think so.  But I probably don’t use my time as well as I’d like.  I could have gotten a lot more done this morning than I have.  I think this is why I need to write a list of tasks that I want to accomplish today.  So here it is:
·      Write two blogs
·      Put five more things on eBay
·      Spend time with my daughters
·      Walk for at least 30 minutes
·      Read one chapter of The Brothers Karamazov
·      Read one chapter of a financial book
·      Clean place
·      Finish a resume

The irony is that none of that is very hard or even that time consuming.  For example, if I really focused, I could write both blogs in the next hour.   The walk, combined with the radio show, takes about 45-60 minutes.  I’ve already done some of the eBay stuff.  The resume shouldn’t take  more than an hour and I’ve already started it.  Time with my girls takes the most amount of time, but I can be flexible as to when that will happen.  So why am I making this so hard?
That leads to the first question:  Am I afraid?   Yes.  Yes, I am.  I’m not even sure why I’m afraid.  I might be afraid of failure.  I’ve certainly had enough of that in my life.  Ironically, in the times I’ve failed it’s almost always been because I didn’t try hard enough or not at all.  Rarely have I tried and failed.  There have been a few times, but, honestly, not that many.  Usually failure came from not putting forth enough effort.
Am I afraid of success?  I’ve never truly understood that concept.  It’s said that people are afraid because it will change their relationships.  For me, success would make my relationships better.  I’ve had success in different areas and I’ve found it to be wonderful.  My biggest fear around success is that I won’t have it again or I won’t have enough of it.  In this case, by “success” I mean money in the bank.  That is what I don’t have enough of.  That is what I fear.  My belief is that if I have enough money in the bank, then I can finance my other goals.
Yes, I know that contentment, health and happy relationships are legitimate barometers of success.  I want and need those.  But I truly want more money.  King Solomon wrote “(M)oney is the answer for everything.”  (Ecclesiastes 10:19)  That’s not a verse that’s quoted very often.  And I wonder if I believe it completely.  Money won’t solve my spiritual crises or my relationship issues, but it might relieve my pressure so that I have time to deal with other issues.
Most people quote 1 Timothy 6:10, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”  Do I love money?  No, but I love making it, because every penny I make or save gets me closer to my goals.  I also love the freedom it gives.  My goal is not to make money.  My goal is to have enough money to get my house on the beach and put my kids and grandkids through college.  My goal is to be able to have the time to develop my spiritual  life.  My goal is to write every day.  Obviously I don’t need money to do all those things;  some are the results of choices I make today.
I just need to Get Started and Keep Going…and then I will make the money I need.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Justin Bieber, Criticism and Purpose

 What right do I have to criticize others?  Is it helpful?  Is it the best use of my own time?  Granted, it’s easy to do, but I wonder how helpful it is.  I also wonder if it’s just another way to keep us from our Purpose.  No, I don’t wonder.  I’m sure it is.  Here are some questions I am considering:
·      What is criticism? 
·      Why is it so popular?
·      What do people gain from it?
·      Is there ever a place for it?
·      Is there a cure for it?

First, what is criticism?  In www.dictionary.com, it says:

1.  the act of passing judgment as to the merits of anything.
2.  the act of passing severe judgment; censure; faultfinding.
3.  the act or art of analyzing and evaluating or judging the quality of a literary or
     artistic work, musical performance, art exhibit, dramatic production, etc.
4.  a critical comment, article, or essay; critique.
5.  any of various methods of studying texts or documents for the purpose of
dating or reconstructing them, evaluating their authenticity, analyzing their content or style, etc.: historical criticism; literary criticism.

I think in contemporary society, most people use the first two definitions and completely disregard the final three.  The last three mean analysis.  The first two mean to tear down.  Analysis requires thought.  Tearing down requires no thought.  In fact, thoughtless (rudeness and lack of analysis) are almost required to tear others down.  Analysis requires courage.  It requires inner peace.   Most of all, it requires an open mind, even if it means some of my ideas or beliefs may be wrong.
Criticism that tears down requires only rage and the inability or, more accurately, the unwillingness to learn and grow or to listen and accept.  I see this in myself when it comes to political discussions.  And I will never believe that it’s necessary for ordinary citizens to own assault weapons, no matter what the NRA says about their rights or the 2nd Amendment.  I realize I have my own room for growth here.
Criticism isn’t just reserved for the political discussions or the right to bear arms.  We use it for entertainment of all kinds, sports, the media, religion and most of all, other people’s work. 
I’ve used the example of Justin  Bieber before.  I like some of his songs.  Others I can take or leave.  I saw the movie about him and I thought he was a talented young man.   But I’ve seen people hate him with a fury that should only be reserved for one’s worst enemies.  People hate him, I use the word “hate” intentionally, as if he had personally wronged them.   They say he has no talent.  They question his sexuality. I’ve never seen a careful analysis of his music.   Why?  I think the real reason people hate Justin Bieber is because he’s popular and he has done things most of us can’t or won’t. 
I think the same is true of anyone who puts him or herself in the spotlight.   Eventually, the target’s personal life is examined and here it may be found wanting, as are most people’s personal lives.   But what business of it is mine and how does it affect my life if Justin is rude to someone or Britney has a meltdown or Tiger has an affair?  Unless I can directly help these people, why do I even need to know?  Why do any of us need to know?  The most I can do is pray for them.  Otherwise, I have far more important things to consider.
Sometimes I think we build people up simply for the sake of tearing them down.   I also think there is something more sinister going on.  I think there are forces, political, economic and spiritual, that want nothing more than to see us obsess over and criticize celebrities and sports figures so that we don’t have to think about why are here on this planet.
What do we gain from criticizing?  It gives us a sense of power.  Our anger makes us feel alive.  It makes us right and it makes someone else wrong.  And if a lot of people agree with us, all the better.  That proves I’m right.  That proves I’m not alone.  Congratulations!  I just joined a mob.
In an online article, there is this more well-thought-out critique:
The Daily Beast’s Rawiya Kameir writes:
“The instinct to direct society’s collective vitriol at a more-or-less harmless teenager is not about him or his antics, but about the fallout of celebrity culture and the myth of capitalism, wherein one’s success is directly tied to one’s worth. The non-Beliebing public doesn’t hate him because he posts too many selfies on Instagram, but because he signifies something far more insidious than the pop culture machine: he is publicly young and rich and otherwise privileged in a time during which growing social and economic inequalities are cleaving the fabric of everything we once believed in… It’s easier, and maybe more enjoyable, to hate something you can see but can’t touch. This is how one copes.”

Is there ever a place for criticism?  For the man or woman in Purpose, no, there isn’t.  But we’ve made plenty of room for it anyway in this fallen world of ours.  This is because most people aren’t in their Purpose.  When I’m writing, I rarely have the time, energy or even the interest in criticizing someone else.  I have too much work to do.  The only person’ work I’m concerned with is mine.  I have more than enough work to do and plenty of room for improvement.  This keeps me from obsessing about someone else. 
There is, however, a place, and even a desperate need, for thoughtful analysis or critique.  If someone wants to give me a well-thought-out discussion as to why the San Diego Chargers aren’t as good as the Chicago Bears, I’m willing to listen.  What I don’t want to hear is, “The Chargers suck!”   And, again, since sports is not part of my Purpose, I’m not interested in someone’s rage about something that ultimately is not truly relevant to most people.  I don’t identify with sports, movies, television, celebrities or politics.  I’m here to do a handful of things and do them well.  I don’t have much time for anything else. 
Finally, is there a cure for criticism?  For me, someone who can be and has been very critical, only this:  Find my Purpose and Get Started and Keep Going.  That’s the only thing that works for me.

Stay Focused

Don't dwell on what went wrong. Instead, focus on what to do next. Spend your energies on moving forward toward finding the answer.

Denis Waitley

Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun's rays do not burn until brought to a focus.

Alexander Graham Bell

Concentration is a fine antidote to anxiety.

Jack Nicklaus

Stay focused.  Not like me.  Do better than I have done.  Stay focused and get things done.  Or don’t.  Stay focused well into the night.   Or go to bed early.  But stay focused.  Make a choice and don’t look back.  If I can, however, I’d like to stay focused on the right things.  I have work to do.
For the last two nights I have stayed up too late.  Tonight the plan is to go to bed by 11:00.  In order to make that happen, I need to do the following in the next three-and-a-half hours:
·      Write two blogs
·      Do a radio show
·      Walk for 30 minutes
Conceivably, I could write three blogs tomorrow and that will make things easier tonight, but why take chances?  If I can stay focused tonight, I can get everything done.  As always, my problem is staying focused.
Staying focused has always been hard for me.  Always.  Yes, in extreme situations I can do it.  Perhaps that’s why I create situations where I’m under a deadline, so that the stress will keep me focused.  Sometimes though, even that doesn’t work.  I’m constantly late or nearly late to everything.  To be honest, I don’t like the stress, but I keep creating it.  Jungian psychology might say this is my shadow side or that this has served me in the past.  Perhaps.  But it doesn’t serve me now.  It just makes my life harder.
Still, everything that has ever happened to me is now in the past.  Everything.  So I can sit here calmly and write.   That means I can’t go on Facebook, eBay or to my e-mail.  That means not answering the phone or chatting with anyone.  It means not cleaning my place (yet) or getting up for a snack (yet).  It means not looking at comic books or books unless they’re relevant to the task.   It means sitting here and writing until I’m done. 
I wish this weren’t so difficult.  The irony is that I really love writing.  It’s not like there are a lot of better options out there.   I don’t want to go out.  I rarely have the patience to sit through a movie or a TV show.  I’m not interested in socializing.  I have enough food and reading material to sustain me for quite a while.  I don’t even need to leave my place, except to walk.  Conceivably I could be alone for months.  If I didn’t have certain obligations, if I knew I wouldn’t miss my kids (I would) and I didn’t need to work, I think I could be quite content here for weeks with no one but my Muse.
Perhaps that isn’t true.  Perhaps I would get lonely after a while.  In his blog, Matthew Schuler said, “Most creative people tend to be both introverted and extroverted. Many people tend toward one extreme or the other, but highly creative people are a balance of both simultaneously.”  (http://www.matthewschuler.co/why-creative-people-sometimes-make-no-sense/)  
I love people and there are times when I draw strength and encouragement from them.  More important, there are times when I can give strength and encouragement to them. There are also times when I just want to be alone, and for a long time.  I just want to be here with my Muse and my books.  Perhaps that’s selfish, as C.S. Lewis says, which is why I’m glad to have a job that helps others directly (resume writing and job search coaching).  I’m also glad that I do work that puts me in front of others (teaching and motivational speaking). 
When I was younger, I always preferred having a room of my own.  I didn’t enjoy sharing a room.  When I did, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  But when I had a room of my own, I could spend hours alone with no problem.  This hasn’t changed much.  I’m still an introvert and an extrovert at the same time.  This reminds me of Walt Whitman’s lines:

“Do I contradict myself?
Very well, then, I contradict myself.
I am large.
I contain multitudes.”

This is not a self-congratulatory blog.   Yes, I may be creative, confusing and contradictory.  So are most people.  I’ve said the following many times:
·      I have a gift, many gifts actually, and I feel privileged and obligated to use them.
·      So do most people.

I don’t believe that using my gifts makes me better or more talented than others.  It may create more opportunities for me though.  Or it just might make me happier.    It has helped me more than anything else to Get Started and to Keep Going…and to stay focused, as best as I can.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Thoroughly Useless Blog

"Talent is a matter of quantity. Talent does not write one page, it writes three hundred."

Jules Renard 

Really, what I want more than anything right now is to sleep.  After that, I want to write.  In fact, I think I’d like to sit here and write without stopping for the next hour or so.  I cannot express enough how grateful I am to be in a warm and quiet place and be able to write.  What a gift I’ve been given.  I’m trying to use this gift wisely by using the other gift I’ve been given – writing.  At the moment I have some soft music playing and a warm cup of coffee beside me.  The only thing that would make this better would be to be doing this in my house on the beach.   I’m not complaining.  I love what I have.  And I love what I will have.
Sometimes the writing is just about the writing for me.  It’s not about the blogs or my hopes that I will write for a living some day.  It’s about the joy of sitting here and watching words form on the screen as my fingers move across the keyboard.  It’s also about the joy of being alone with my Muse and looking up occasionally to see her proud smile.  I feel happy to be alone with her and I don’t need anyone else.
It’s not that I don’t like people.  I love people.  In fact, I met some friends from high school tonight and I genuinely enjoyed seeing them.  I’ve been so fortunate to have old friends and new from the many different stages of my life.   When I get home though, I discover a different kind of joy.  This is the joy of creating something.  This is a joy and a privilege. 
So here I sit, tired and writing.  I still have to exercise, too.  So far I’ve only missed one day. 
Sometimes all of this may seem like rambling and maybe it is, but this is the process I go through almost every time as a writer.  I don’t know what to say, so I just keep writing.  It may all be nonsense, but I don’t care.  When I look up, I see the Muse is still smiling.  She isn’t giving me anything yet, but the smile is a good sign.  This is what she wants me to be doing.  The good thing is that even though none of this may be part of my blog and even though it might all get erased, I’m still doing the right thing here.  Writing may be one of the few places where one can ramble on and on and not bother anyone.  It doesn’t get any better than that. 
I took a short nap and soon I have to stop because it’s almost time to do my radio show.   So that leads to some interesting questions:
·      What if this were my blog?
·      Would this be worth reading?
·      Would people find it interesting or annoying?
·      Does it really matter?
·      Can quantity be quality?
·      Should I delete this or use it as one step closer to my goal?

I’m going to publish this for the following reasons:
·      It may not be my best work, but it’s not my worst.
·      Sometimes quantity is quality.
·      This is how it goes in Purpose sometimes.  I once told my daughter, “It doesn’t have to be sexy.  It just has to get done.”  She told me that helped her.  So I’m following my own advice.
Perhaps this is a thoroughly useless blog, but I don’t think so.  I followed my maxim to Get Started and Keep Going and I’m going to continue to do so in my radio show. http://www.blogtalkradio.com/robert-farrell/2013/12/28/this-is-the-really-really-hard-part  I’m almost to my goal!

Spider-Man and Purpose

Right now I feel bored or sad or restless or something.  So I’m going to start writing and I’m going to keep writing because it’s what I do to clear the cobwebs from my head.  It’s funny that I should use the word “cobwebs.”  Cobwebs are the dust left from disintegrated webs.  And I was just reading some Spider-Man comic books.  Spider-Man is an interesting hero. 
For those who don’t know his origin, Spider-Man is really Peter Parker, a weak, puny and unpopular high-school student who was bitten by a radioactive spider and, as a result, given the proportionate strength and ability of a spider.  He can leap great heights, he’s strong, he’s quick and he has a “spider sense” that warns him of impending danger.  Initially he used his powers to become rich and famous. 
This made him a little arrogant.  While leaving a studio he ignored a plea to stop a robber.  Later upon arriving at home he found that his beloved Uncle Ben who, along with his wife May, had raised the boy, was murdered.  Parker immediately went looking for the murderer.  Parker found the murderer and, to his horror, realized it was the same robber he had failed to stop earlier.   From this he learned that “with great power comes great responsibility.”
Different writers have focused on this theme at various times, making Spider-Man at times almost neurotic from guilt, but always courageous and heroic.  As Spider-Man, Parker has a trademark sense of humor that he uses constantly while fighting super villains.  Of all the superheroes, Spider-Man is one of the most heroic, not only because he fights bad guys, but also because he rarely loses sight of his Purpose.
Any one of us could be Spider-Man.  I don’t mean that we can have the proportionate strength of a spider or that we can swing through the air on webs.  We can, however, understand that with great power comes great responsibility.    And we all, each of us, has great powers. We all have abilities that others don’t have.  We are called to use those abilities for the following reasons:
·      To help others
·      To set an example
·      It’s the right thing to do
·      It will make life better.

How does Purpose help others?   Helping others is the reason we are given our powers.  We are not meant to hide them or use them solely for personal gain.  When I say “solely” I’m leaving the door open for the possibility that we can and sometimes should make money from our talents.   But profit should not be our chief reason. 
Here’s a thought that’s never really been explored:  Spider-Man did not have to give up his show business career.  He got into it to help Uncle Ben and Aunt May financially.  This was a good motive.  It wasn’t being in show business that caused his problems.  It was his refusal to use his abilities to do the right thing when it was within his power.  Perhaps, being young, his fame went to his head and made him arrogant.  Even so, he could have realized it was his arrogance that caused his problems, not being in show business.
Had he stayed in show business, he might have been able to help his Aunt May who had health and financial issues.  He could have used the money he made to give to charities.  Of course, that wouldn’t have been much of a comic book, but there is nothing inherently wrong with making money with our gifts. St. Paul said, “The worker is worthy of his wage.”  
As a writer, I want it very clear that it is among my chief goals to be able to support myself with my writing.  It might even be my obligation to make money with my talents.  Could you imagine the Beatles playing for free?  Or Picasso painting for free?  In addition, if I were paid for my writing, I would probably have more time to devote to it.  Perhaps Spider-Man might be even more effective if he didn’t have to spend some of his time working.  (Technically, he did make money off his Spider-Man personae, by taking pictures of his battles and selling the pictures to the Daily Bugle.)
How does being in Purpose set an example?  It just does.  It’s also not my chief reason, but I’ve told many people that if they would find their own Purpose and devote time to it as often as possible, their lives would change for the better.   At least that’s what happened to me.  I’m not saying my life is perfect.  But it is better.  Even the difficulties I have now feel like the ones I should be having.  When I wasn’t in my Purpose, I found myself dealing with problems I had no interest in or ability for solving.  When I’m in my Purpose, I find my problems become opportunities.
Being in Purpose is also the right thing to do.  I don’t mean only morally right, but also technically correct.  It’s like being in the right job instead of the wrong job.  Inn Good to Great, Steven Covey says it’s not only being on the right bus, but on the right seat on the right bus.  This allows others to take their right seats.
Finally, being in Purpose makes my life better.  I don’t mean circumstantially better, though that may happen, too.  By “better, I mean, more meaningful, of more quality, and with richer experiences.  Since I started writing almost a year ago, I feel like I’ve grown spiritually, mentally and emotionally.  My life feels as if it has greater meaning, not because of what I do, but because I am being who I am, who I was meant to be.  I don’t have more value because I’m in my Purpose, but I’ve become more valuable to the world and to myself.
Like Spider-Man, I have learned to Get Started and Keep Going…because I too have great power.