21 Days of Purpose: A Free eCourse for Uncovering Happiness

You have a purpose in being here…
… and part of that is remembering that
you are part of something much larger than yourself.

Science and thousands of years of human experience are showing us a feeling of connection to something greater than ourselves gives us a heightened sense of well-being and resiliency. In short, it’s a natural antidepressant.

I want to invite you to an experiment based on practices in my new book, Uncovering Happiness, that can help you nurture this positive shift in your brain and positively impact the world around you.

Over the next 21 days you’ll be guided through something very simple and profound; discovering a prosocial purpose and turning your purpose into a verb.

The structure for this is loose; there is nothing strict or rigid about this program. The intention of the following 21 days is to deepen your connection to purpose and compassion in your own life and get some support in the process.

Each day you’ll receive a writing to reflect on to light up the compassionate brain. You’ll then be reminded of these three key questions from Uncovering Happiness to help keep you focused and on track:

  1. What pro-social purpose are you involved in?
  2. What action can I take today that is in line with this purpose?
  3. What is this action in service of that is greater than myself?

I recommend weaving in some of the attitudes of play from Uncovering Happiness in order not to get overly serious about the whole endeavor, see it more from a learning lens and make it a playful endeavor.

A very wise woman once told me,
If something is valuable, give it away.

That may sound strange, but I understand what she means. As we give away what is valuable, we inevitably get back something invaluable.

If you’re wondering what that is, take a leap to commit to 21 Days of Purpose and discover it for yourself.

Sign up today by entering your name and email below!

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21 Days of Purpose

Commit to 21 Days of Purpose Now!

Over the next 21 days, get inspired and start to live a life filled with purpose and compassion, an essential ingredient to uncovering happiness.

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You can try this experiment on your own, or it can be fun to do with friends. Let others know what you’re up to and see the ripple effects of a group doing 21 Days of Purpose together. Share it:

We are asking people to reflect on their experiences here to let us know how it’s going. Feel free to post about the purpose your engaging, or write about it on your own blog. Comments here are welcome from anyone.


  1. rholambda
    May 27, 2015 at 3:27 pm

    Day Seven and home all day with a stomach ache so unable to do the things I usually do on my day off. I lay on the sofa and watched the ball game and felt happy in spite of the percussion section going on in my gut. When I look at the past week I can see that I have been more energized in taking care of myself, though it’s too early at this point to see how my commitment to this program has altered things at work. I can certainly see a lot less ennui in my own spirit, though. I am taking care of things that have been back-burnered for a long time and it feels good to get them out of the way, small things like taking items to the thrift store and changing burned-out lightbulbs which were too easy to put off. I have noticed the chickadees are back, which always makes me glad. Back to work tomorrow and I will continue on.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      May 28, 2015 at 8:22 am

      Hoping you will feel better soon and glad to hear you’re feeling more energized with the positive changes you’re making.

  2. rholambda
    May 26, 2015 at 10:51 am

    One of techniques I discovered for myself in the past, and which has worked very nicely, is to feel moments of happiness, or even joy, and say to myself, “I’m happy, right now this very minute!” with no fear of it not lasting, just letting the feeling happen. I find it easy to access this on a hiking trail, listening to a baseball game, even driving to or from work where my route goes through miles and miles of farmland far from a freeway or city street. This doesn’t seem to happen at work, but I can try to cultivate it. I work in a lovely place (even if some of the people who inhabit it are somewhat less than lovely) so this should be possible. I kn.ow I always feel grateful after making the realization and the acknowledgement, which admittedly is much easier to do away from the office. I will experiment with extending this.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      May 26, 2015 at 10:54 am

      That is a beautiful gift to give to yourself, being present and appreciating the moment.

  3. Joanie Perry
    May 26, 2015 at 8:31 am

    Day 1……to be kind…through listening…REALLY listening…showing empathy…providing others with unconditional acceptance(no advice given) and being truly present.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      May 26, 2015 at 9:59 am

      Welcome Joanie, wishing you the best in empathetic listening today.

  4. rholambda
    May 25, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    Day Five and I am feeling better about choosing such a small stage for my prosocial endeavors. I work in a small office where the atmosphere is not always pleasant. Rather than castigating myself over a lack of motivation to work in a grander arena, I realized that in many ways I have chosen a more challenging path. I think it’s in many ways easier to be charitable to strangers than to people you rub up against day after day. So I will work at not only allowing the negativity to affect me, but to change my own defensive behavior which I know is in many ways contributing to what can be a volatile situation. I have begun trying some of the techniques outlined in Uncovering Happiness and have found the hand-on-heart gesture particularly effective in evoking needed feelings of reassurance, comfort, and calm.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      May 26, 2015 at 9:58 am

      Glad to hear you are feeling better about your pro-social purpose and that the hand on your heart practice has been helping you find reassurance, comfort, and calm.

  5. rholambda
    May 24, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Day Four: I think I must be a very selfish person. When I read about all the prosocial suggestions I always come back to the realization that I am not really inclined to engage in charitable activities and that the circumstances of my life have reinforced the absolute necessity of taking care of myself. It’s uncomfortable to have to admit that I have never been active in the areas of social justice, social welfare, or community improvement. I tend to avoid groups and keep myself to myself except for a couple of friends. I have a dislike of the sort of professional volunteers I encountered in various attempts to Do Good, such as helping out at a public radio station or belonging to a church. The most I find myself willing to do is to try to make my workplace more pleasant for all of us who work there. I am reading Uncovering Happiness and alternate between being attracted and uninterested by some of the suggestions for prosocial direction. What do you do if you are a person who dislikes people in general but loves a few individuals? Who prefers animals and nature to community? While acknowledging that giving to others has all the positive effects described in the book and elsewhere, I seem to be inadequately equipped for the level of commitment to others that seems to be required.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      May 26, 2015 at 9:56 am

      Keep in mind behaviors like cooperating, caring and helping others are all pro-social. You may also consider in addition to your workplace, to extend those behaviors to the people you care about as well. If you do focus energy to volunteer with nature or animals, it impacts society on a whole.

  6. rholambda
    May 23, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Day Three: I think my days would be pretty much the same as they are now. I value personal integrity, compassion, and understanding and I have always tried to incorporate those values in my personal as well as my business life. I think my difficulties arise when my standards are violated by others and I fail to work up the necessary compassion and understanding to keep from making harsh judgements and/or comments out of hand. I like the statement that thoughts aren’t facts, that my instant reaction on, say, a co-worker’s poor work ethic is to be personally offended that they seem to be getting away with behavior I wouldn’t let myself get away with. After some reflection I am beginning to see that, in the first place, their behavior is their own business and that I have no control over it, since they are not in my particular area. In the second place, their situation in life is very different from my own and the things that motivate me are not global motivators. Finally, there is no relationship between their work product and my own. It’s the 2nd grader in my head that is saying, “That’s not FAIR!” Even if it isn’t fair, it’s not important.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      May 26, 2015 at 9:38 am

      It can be challenging when we feel deeply invested and don’t feel like that’s reflected in others. But as you point out, thoughts aren’t facts – you can’t control their behaviors, but you can control you let it impact you.

  7. rholambda
    May 22, 2015 at 6:42 pm

    Day Two: Working on maintaining an attitude of generosity of spirit when I would ordinarily be vocally critical of what I consider to be the poor work ethic of some of my co-workers for whom I have neither authority or responsibility. It was hard, especially because I have very high standards for myself in my work, but after some reflection I was able to back off and let it go. Had to do it more than once, but three times were the charm.

  8. rholambda
    May 21, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Day One: I am going to work at making my very stressful office a more positive environment for me and my co-workers, even the ones I don’t like.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      May 22, 2015 at 11:22 am

      Welcome to the first day of the program, I wish you well in your pro-social goal of making your work environment a more positive place.

  9. Susan M
    May 18, 2015 at 12:03 am

    Thank you Elisha for the opportunity to spend the last 21 days reflecting through the structure you’ve given. I believe myself to be pro-social and my nearest and dearest would say that I’m oriented to my sense of purpose. However, life is full of all the ordinary thrills and spills of a modern life and I don’t always walk the talk. It’s been helpful for me in supporting me to notice how reminding myself of purpose helps me behave pro-socially in the small interactions of my daily personal and work life (and what happens when sadly on occasions I don’t). This has given me renewed energy to build on my intention and commitments.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      May 18, 2015 at 9:44 am

      Susan, thank you for joining us for the 21 Days of Purpose! I’m so glad to hear that participating helped you build mindfulness around your purpose and has renewed your energy to build intention.

  10. Susan M
    May 15, 2015 at 12:19 am

    Day 18 and today’s email was especially helpful and relevant to my reflections. Curiously I had been read the detail of the same research study earlier this week. So synchronicity at work in my focus on how to be true to purpose in the hurly burly of working life. I’m committed to return to work next week and continuing my endeavour to protect my soul from distraction and the siren call of busyness which obscures purpose.

    • Elisha Goldstein
      May 15, 2015 at 11:19 am

      It’s always interesting how these reminders find us 🙂 Wishing you the best in rededicating to your purpose.

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