A Laws of Life essay is submission for a contest inspired by the life and work of Sir John Templeton, a British stock investor who passed away in 2008. Various organizations sponsor these contests and some ask students to select a wise saying -- a maxim -- and relate it a personal life experience. For example, the Templeton Press contest asks students to develop original content using a process developed by Templeton. High school students who submit winning written or video essays receive monetary scholarships.
Reflect, Observe, Imagine
Templeton said that the Law of Life essays should reveal your good qualities, skills and talents and show how these attributes will determine your life's purpose. Use Templeton’s strategies for discovering essay content: Reflect upon your best qualities -- those that “you value in yourself and that other people admire in you," according to The Georgia Laws of Life Essay Contest website. Observe how you interact with other people and make a list of those ways that work the best. Imagine what your world would be like under the best of all possible circumstances. The goal is to find a joyful, creative expression of your mission in life.
Find Your Best Qualities
List, describe and explain your character traits. Templeton said that character traits are "gifts" that can benefit those around you in many ways. He explained that a humorous person has the ability to uplift and entertain, and a clear-thinking person is skilled at developing ideas. Types of traits to discuss include patience, courage, resilience and resourcefulness, the ability to listen carefully, organize groups, observe and remember and stay calm in a crisis. Explain how these qualities have influenced your activities and how people recognize and respond to your traits.
Discover Meaningful Interactions
Show how your character traits and cultural identity connect to interactions with society -- how your spiritual life, ethnic background or social and economic status brings about opportunities or causes challenges in your life. For example, you might explain how good humor helped you resolve a problem such as gender, ethic or religious bias. Write about activities you enjoy the most such as consoling a friend, cooking, relating to animals or nature, gardening, building things, helping others learn, designing group projects or volunteering for community projects. Describe how your activities give purpose and meaning to your life and the lives of others.
Create a New World Vision
Imagine the kind of world that you would like to have in the future -- one that can come into existence with intelligent, optimistic thinking and sincere humanitarian effort. For instance, use rich, vivid details to describe a world where poverty and hunger no longer exist, because world leaders have learned how to organize societies with integrity and harmony. You might envision a future where people improve society and the environment or become tolerant of diverse ethnic, religious and social groups. Give specific examples and show how your life purpose connects to your vision.
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