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Roy Janik

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porpoise [Oct. 31st, 2008|10:36 am]
Roy Janik
Listening to the Power of Story, a book recommended by Jill Bernard. I'll get into more details later, but right now I'm trying to figure out what "the purpose" of my life is. Pretty heavy stuff.

Here's the litmus test. Imagine the purpose engraved on your tombstone.

Roy Janik: "He was really good at improv."
Roy Janik: "He didn't make anyone angry."

These don't really hold up.

Roy Janik: "He created inspiring work."

I dunno. I'm still figuring it out.

Comments welcome, but don't try to tell me what my purpose is. I'm trying to figure it out. In many ways, it's silly. I mean, does your life really have a purpose? Maybe not, but the entire point of the book is to think of your life in terms of stories, and to write your own stories that set you up for success. So in clearly defining your purpose, you can structure the stories of your life around achieving it.

One example the author uses is with regards to a pro tennis player he calls Barbara.

total butchered paraphrasing follows:

author: What's your purpose in life?
barbara: I don't know. What kind of question is that? To be the number one tennis player in the world?
author: So if when you died, your gravestone said "She was #1 in the world.", that'd be okay? You'd be good with that?
barbara: No. I don't know... to make enough money to buy what I want, like really nice cars. I love cars. Oh, that sounds horrible.

Anyhow, he sends her off to think about it, and the following day she comes back with her purpose figured out... "To be sunshine." To spread joy to everyone she knew, and to express it everything she did.

Interesting. I'm not sure if I'd express my purpose/goal or whatever as vaguely as that. But maybe that's what you wind up with. Who knows if I'll be doing improv the rest of my life. But the reasons I do it and love it, and what I'm trying to achieve with it... that's bound to be tied up in what I perceive as my purpose in life.

Stuff to think about.

Happy Halloween!

[User Picture]From: hujhax
2008-10-31 03:50 pm (UTC)
Are you listening to this on CDs?  (If so, may I borrow when you're done?)
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[User Picture]From: zinereem
2008-10-31 04:43 pm (UTC)
I'm listening to it on my iphone, courtesy of an online audiobook club thingy. I'll try and remember to burn you a copy.
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[User Picture]From: hujhax
2008-10-31 05:49 pm (UTC)
~ thanks! ~
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[User Picture]From: jesseparent
2008-10-31 03:53 pm (UTC)
Roy Janik: Great hair
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[User Picture]From: ms_goose_says
2008-10-31 03:57 pm (UTC)
Interesting stuff. I think of this more like....what is my dharma. What do I find myself doing now today, that was doing even as a small child. A core role that I always find myself playing.

Like I was always that kid that helped the new scared kid in class. Or picked up the wounded bird or arranged the neighborhood kids to make a "circus" even when I didn't wind up getting to be in it. I counseled all my friends in high school and college, I produced more theater/films than I was in, I make volunteers and donors lives more pleasant at the UT and in all my jobs. I stage manage the process. I facilitate other's experiences quite often, even when I don't directly get as much out of it as they do. I midwife.

Do I like it? usually. Is it my purpose? I don't know. What can I do with it to make the world a better place? How can I serve, and serve well? This seems to be the dharma. but sometimes I'd sure like to be the fabulous star everyone thinks is uber talented and needs to be just taken care of. Do I not due to fear of being seen and I need therapy? Or is it just my purpose to support?

Maybe the next life??
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[User Picture]From: kbadr
2008-10-31 04:10 pm (UTC)
I really don't think purpose, as you're thinking about, can even be assessed in the moment. It seems to me to be a summation of a person's life. You can work towards something, but chances are, you'll be taken down a different path anyway.
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[User Picture]From: zinereem
2008-10-31 04:14 pm (UTC)
I think you're right. I don't think the point is to strive for accuracy. Like analyzing my life and seeing what my purpose is. For all I know, my purporse might be to take a bullet for some other really important person 20 years from now. But I think it's more like "What would I like my purpose to be? What gives me total joy? What would I be happy with being the summation of my of life? And knowing that, how can I structure my life towards attaining that?" In story terms, he also equates it to theme. How in a good film, like The Wizard of Oz, every single scene resonates with the theme "There's no place like home."
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[User Picture]From: kbadr
2008-10-31 04:19 pm (UTC)
I've thought about this a bit, actually. And I think the sad(?) reality is that, just like we tell students that the purpose of a scene isn't to play out life exactly as it is, life similarly doesn't have a tight story. Sometimes random shit happens that doesn't fit with a theme.

Though I suppose if you decide on a theme/purpose, you can work towards making everything work towards it. Interesting.
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[User Picture]From: biscuitpig
2008-10-31 05:32 pm (UTC)
You're the second member of my LJ friends list to really dig into a book I've recommended this week. I feel honored! YAY!

I need to dig that book back out because I feel like I'm already slip-sliding backwards on everything I learned.
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[User Picture]From: tamijoh
2008-10-31 07:28 pm (UTC)
this was not a good post to read as in even without the aid of a book (iphone) im going through this right now. im trying to convince myself our purpose is no purpose and that alone should make anyone beside themselves with happiness....

it only works on good days though.
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From: enderspawn
2008-10-31 09:30 pm (UTC)
I did this in a very different setting and no one can tell you what it is or even hint at it. It's not really something you figure out. But I'll tell you three things:

1) As an improviser you are uniquely trained to listen to the part of you that knows what it is.

2) Do not talk yourself out of it when you hear it. You might want to because it will be much, much bigger than you.

3) It will make sense in an odd kind of way.

I'd love to hear it when you've got it.
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[User Picture]From: dameaux
2008-11-01 02:44 am (UTC)
"Pepperoni and cheese"
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[User Picture]From: mynde
2008-11-01 03:56 am (UTC)
Roy Janik: His mother was a saint.

no, no.

Roy Janik: Can sleep any floor.

how bout this?

Roy Janik: Was oblivious to many things, but most of all, to his impact on the rest of us.
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