You’re unlikely to clarify your life’s meaning if you aren’t clear how you describe it.


When we’re dealing with the ambiguous, it helps to have clear language to communicate that ambiguity.

A profession is, first and foremost, an act of language: it communicates our promise to our calling. To support that, we’re providing linguistic resources.

Our aim is four-fold: 

  • Provide vocabulary that describes unclear feelings, the abstract, etc.
  • Avoid using terms in lazy, different, and confusing ways
  • Encourage precision. Clear communicating leads to clear thinking
  • Know ourselves better by knowing which language resonates with us

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

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  • Entelechy
    means one's essential potential. Aristotle, who coined the term, described it as "having one's end within."* Entelecheia in Greek means “that which turns potential into reality.” It's the dynamic purpose that it coded "Entelechy is inside of you, like the butterfly is inside of the(...)
  • Goalodicy
    The obsessive pursuit of goals to the point of self-destruction. Goalodicy was coined by former stockbroker, now GWU management science professor Chris Kayes, PhD. in his book, Destructive Goal Pursuit: The Mt. Everest Disaster.  A portmanteau of goal +‎ theodicy: the mathematician and(...)
  • Ikigai
    Ikigai “(生き甲斐, pronounced [ikiɡai]) is a Japanese concept that means "a reason for being". The word refers to having a direction or purpose in life, that which makes one's life worthwhile, and towards which an individual takes spontaneous and willing actions giving them satisfaction and a(...)
  • Kairos personified in ancient Greek etching
    Noun. Greek for “right time,” “season” or “opportunity”, it contrasts with the other Greek word for time: chronos. While chronos is quantititive and sequential, kairos is qualitiative. “Every kairos is a chronos, but not every chronos is a kairos.” -Hippocrates The Sanskrit equivalent(...)
  • Passion
    Mel's Passion Passion is something we suffer either from or through—or more recently, something we’re willing to suffer for. (From Latin root, pati, to suffer, also the source of “pathology”, “pathetic”, “pathos”,(...)
  • Portmanteau
    a word blending the sounds and combining the meanings of two or more others. Common examples include smog, combining smoke and fog. Examples used in Meaning(s)--this glossary--include Toolishness and Wantrepreneur. Etymology: Lewis Carroll introduces the term in his 1871 book Through(...)
  • Profession
    Originally a solemn commitment declared publicly to do certain work, especially in response to a calling.  “Professors” would hone their talents with study. Institutions evolved to ensure those earned a living, and later to protect that livelihood, especially from competitions and other(...)
  • Raison d'être
    The most important reason, the justification, or purpose for someone or something's existence. What you live to do--or why you do (important) things. More colloquially, the "be-all and end-all".  From French: "reason for being", which in turn comes from the Latin ratiō (reason) and esse (to(...)
  • "Revenge Procrastination"
    報復性熬夜 This Chinese term 報復性熬夜 translates to “staying-up-late revenge”. Those who lack control over their workdays delay their bedtime to savor their freedom at night, usually all online, fully aware it will harm their productivity the next day at work. The revenge part is the self(...)
  • Krishna
    Sanskrit from swa (own) + dharma (duty) can be translated  "what you are made to do" . The ancient text, The Bhagavad-Gita says Swadharma is action harmonized with our inborn nature: talents, values, callings. It leads to fulfillment in life .( Gita, 3 . 27–35 ). The Lord Krishna says (in(...)
  • “Toolishness”
    Noun. A portmanteau of “tool” & “foolishness”, is the tendency to attribute excessive hope, and even magical powers to tools, especially ones new or even yet unknown to us. We tend to presume merely wielding the tool will confer such power, without realizing it’s incredibly hard to learn both(...)
  • Torschlusspanik
    Noun. German for "gate-closing panic," a word to characterize the fear of diminishing opportunities as one ages. This may include panicked sensations of time running out, one's range of options are narrowing, particularly, that one's life is passing by. While women racin the “biological clock”(...)
  • Wantrepreneur
    A wannabe or pre entrepreneur. Someone who repeatedly plans, talks, and/or thinks about starting a business. A portmanteau of "want" and "entrepreneur". Often used pejoratively: wantrepreneurs are poseurs, pretenders, wannabes and not even as good as "failures", who are lionized in startup(...)