The first email I send to every new member of the my website, Living For Monday, ends in the same question: “What is the number one thing holding you back from creating more purpose and fulfillment in your life?” I get a wide variety of answers to this question. Some people say time. Others say money. Some people are waiting on the right idea or the right time to start a business. However, far and away the most common answer I receive to my question is this: People.
In 2010, I had the wonderful opportunity to study abroad for a full semester at the University of Oxford, in Oxford, England. One of the most intriguing destinations I visited during travels with my girlfriend was less than a mile away from our lodgings. The Eagle and Child pub is similar to many other pubs in Oxford. It’s dimly lit, serves beer at room temperature, and cider is an easy find. They have fish and chips along with other pub food. By all accounts, it’s just another common place in one of the greatest college towns (personal opinion) in the world. Except for one thing.
You see, in the 1930s and 1940s, a very special group used space in The Eagle and Child to challenge and support one another while offering criticism on their best work and generally having a good time. The group would go on to produce some of the most read fiction and non fiction works in all of the world. J.R.R Tolkien, C.S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams, and several others formed a group called The Inklings, who used the pub as one of several locations for their "mastermind meetings." Whether directly or indirectly, this group pushed each member to create their best possible work. They pushed one another to reach their full potential and hone their writing to make it the best in the world.
While the 1930s may seem like a lifetime ago (it is) and the members of The Inklings may seem larger than life (they are), this group forms the perfect case study for why so many of our community members identify “people” as the single greatest factor holding them back from more purpose and fulfillment in life.