It’s the question that has plagued even the greatest philosophical minds for millenniums (and you know it’s a big deal when even Mel Brooks feels the need to weigh in): “What is the meaning of life?”
Now clearly, I am in no position to offer a definitive answer, but one thing I’ve noticed? Whether the argument stands on the side of a world devoid of all meaning, or whether it says everyone has an important role to play, one word always seems to make an appearance.
In his book, RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE, bestselling author Orrin Woodward discusses in depth the question of purpose and its profound impact on our lives. He borrows Hedgehog Concept discussed in Jim Collins’s Good to Great and adapts it the following:
“Purpose, in this instance, would be the intersection of a person’s Passion (one’s motivation) with his Potential (one’s God-given talents) and his Profits (one’s economic engine). It’s only when a person intersects all three…that one will ultimately fulfill his destiny by living a purposeful life.”
Passion is what drives you forward and keeps you moving through the challenges life inevitable throws at you. It’s the “mix between what a person loves and what he hates, creating the motivation to change something about his current reality…all great achievements must be maintained through passion; otherwise the criticism, setbacks and pressures will eventually wear achievers down.”
Steve Jobs, one of the most passionate entrepreneurs of the last few decades, believed it was perseverance that separated the successful from the non-successful. According to Jobs, “You have to be burning with an idea, or a problem, or a wrong that you want to right.” (Emphasis added).
Jim Collins, as part of his own Hedgehog Concept for greatness posed the question, “What can you be best in the world at doing?” What makes you say to yourself, “I feel like I was born to do this.” Our potential comes from our God-given talents, unique to each one of us. We all have unlimited potential, but one of life’s great tragedies is how few of us discover it. Orrin Woodward wrote, “The greatest treasures on earth can be found in the numerous cemeteries across the world. For within these cemeteries lay the buried potentials of the multitude who played it safe throughout life.”
Let’s face it: we can be passionate about something, we can be great at doing it, but if what we’re doing is not somehow economically viable, “little details like eating, drinking, and housing accommodations keep interfering.” Sure, it doesn’t need to make you millions, but even Mother Teresa had to eat. Make sure what you’re doing actually serves the customer’s needs.
Resolved: I resolve to discover my God-given purpose.
“When a person knows why he is living, what he is supposed to do, and how he plans on achieving his purpose, his date with destiny is set.” When passion, potential, and profits intersect, you’ve found your purpose. So let’s get moving.