There is an old saying, "When the student is ready, the teacher will appear." In the case of Dan Millman's newest book, "The Four Purposes of Life: Finding Meaning and Direction in a Changing World" it is more like, when the student is ready, the lesson will appear. I say this because I have been a fan of Millman's books and teachings since the 1980s when I read "Way of the Peaceful Warrior." I've studied his teachings, and they have influenced my own.
I've also known that this book was coming out in 2011 for quite some time, and looked forward to adding it to my library. What I didn't know was this book was for anyone seeking deeper insight into themselves and their lives, but especially for those at a crossroads, facing a challenge or change, when "business as usual" no longer applies. Just this week I embarked upon a new journey where I will face unique challenges as I accepted a position as an Executive Director of a not for profit organization that fulfills two (satisfying work and providing a useful service) of the three needs Millman discusses in the chapter on finding your career and calling. One of my challenges is to lead the organization to a place where the third need (financial income or good money) will be realized.
"The Four Purposes of Life" is a small hardcover book that contains a simple, yet profound message. Simple in that is it easy to read, and that Millman has the ability to describe complex ideas in language that make the ideas easier to grasp and implement into one's life. Profound in the fact that contemplation on the ideas presented in this short guide can have an enormous impact on one's life.
The four areas, or purposes, covered include learning life's lessons, finding your career and calling, discovering your life path, and attending to this arising moment. Each of these chapters provides insight, guidance, and stimulus to think about your own path and where you will go from here. The third purpose, discovering your life path, is a short course on the Life Purpose System that Millman detailed in his book "The Life You Were Born to Live." This system is based on your birth number, and there is an appendix to assist you with determining yours, or you can go to Millman's website to find your number. The fourth purpose, attending to this arising moment, is something Millman has written about before as well, but this chapter really hit home as I was reading it this morning. It is good to be reminded that there are no ordinary moments, and I just may reread Millman's book of that title for some deeper contemplation on this topic.
Each of us has a different path to follow, and Millman has that rare ability to offer practical guidance and insights regardless of one's chosen path. This simple and profound little guide provides wise advice on how to create a more meaningful life. The wisdom in these pages will not only help you find the passion to improve your life, but provides the inspiration to do it now.
Reviewed by Alain Burrese, J.D., a regular column on negotiation for The Montana Lawyer.