My wife and I often talk about our future plans. Where we want to be five, fifteen, twenty years from now? What are our dreams? For me, many of my dreams have been fulfilled many times over – good health, a loving family, a good education, and a roof over my head. While many of my dreams have come true, there is another piece to the puzzle of life that is just as important to me – Purpose.
Victor Frankl, a Jewish survivor of a Nazi concentration camp, and a psychologist once said, “Without purpose, people have enough to live by, but nothing to live for; they have the means, but no meaning.” Examples of modern day obsession with material gain without meaning? Bernie Madoff. I’m convinced that Purpose focused on material things will eventually lead to unhappiness. The icons of success do not compare to whether or not one experiences a meaningful life. Purpose is found, over the long term, through the feeling of rightness inside of ourselves.
From a career perspective, finding a Purpose is a great motivator. Peter Temes wrote a book entitled, ‘The Power of Purpose” and states that long lasting success can only be gained by focusing on helping others. The motive to get up and out is not about what matters to me, but what matters to others.
According to Temes, Aristotle wrote that Purpose comes from the need to do good things every day, to express our sense of right and wrong in the real world, among real people. We cannot sit passively, just thinking good thoughts, and truly be good. Real goodness is expressed in good action and this will eventually lead to financial success.
Temes argues that every one of us should cultivate the ability to see even the most horrid of humans as their own parents might see them. By doing so, we take a large step towards living a life of power and purpose, helping others while reaching and even exceeding our goals.
So put your talents, skills, and passions to work. If you want to help solve problems in your community, look for what’s working and put your efforts into actively creating good rather than taking up your time and energy fighting the bad. Use a positive path to success. As the English philosopher Edmund Burke said, “All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good people to do nothing.”