A meaningful life…A life that matters…A life of importance
Take some time – I mean, right now, as you’re reading this – and think about what’s important to you. I’m sure you’ve thought about the question many times before, and I know it’s probably quite a long list that is made up of special people and special things. But specifically, what’s on that list? Now, of that list, consider what really matters to you – with emphasis on the word really.
I’ll ask you again, one more time, but this time I’m going to add even more emphasis. What really, really truly matters to you? Substantially, more than anything else. What is it that gives your life its meaning? What is sacred to you? In your heart of hearts, of all the things that are important to you, what’s the one thing that you really, really care about the most? In your heart of hearts! The one thing!
I’m asking it this way to drive my question into your heart as deeply as I possibly can. I realize, of course, that your friends and family – your spouse or your parents or your children – are on your list, but I’m asking you to look deeply within yourself, perhaps deeper than you’ve ever looked before. It is, indeed, the one thing that makes all the other things on your list so very precious.
The problem is that right now you’re probably feeling somewhat awkward or nervous and perhaps even annoyed. Why do you think that it is so hard to find and express your true thoughts and nature? Why is it so hard to come out strong – assertively and affirmatively and passionately – to say that there’s something you want so much more than you want anything else? Here’s my assertion said outright: “You want to be of service!”
You want to help! You want to care for . . . you want to help people . . . or animals or the earth or trees or nations or children . . . or something! You want your life to have fixed something, helped something, or improved something. And it has become virtually impossible for you to boldly and assertively come out and say that. You want your life to count. Really count! You want your life to matter. To really matter! You want a meaningful life, a life of importance. You want your life to be a contribution. You know it, and I know it! You want to be great. I know, that too! And you know that there’s only one thing that will do that, and that is to make your life be one of service. It’s probably been that way since you were a kid. You want your life to have real substance and significance. And you know that being of service is the only way to do that.
You’ve probably grown very tired of a “business as usual” life. Living “same old, same old” just doesn’t cut it anymore. It’s grown very thin. You’re tired of saying it, you’re tired of living it, and you’re tired of hearing it from others. You want to focus and dedicate your life to something that makes your life worth living. Greatness requires it. You want to devote your life to something with a noble purpose – something benevolent, a great mission, a compassionate mission, an assignment that, as it is fulfilled and accomplished, is deeply, deeply satisfying to you. It is deeply satisfying to you because it is the fullest expression of the authentic you. It is something that satisfies that unmistakable and undeniable craving that lives in you – the passion to serve, the passion to contribute, and thereby live a life that is of noteworthy importance.
Tell people you want to make a lot of money . . . that’s business as usual. Tell people you want to buy a boat and sail around the world, or move to Tahiti, or fulfill some other lifelong dream, and no one will even raise an eyebrow. “Find your heart! Live your dream!” That’s a very good start. It is gradually becoming more acceptable to say that, and lately, it’s being considered almost normal. Good – it should be!
Following your heart is not nearly as conventional as wanting to make a lot of money – not yet – but at least it’s finally beginning to sound acceptable. People will say, “Yes, fine, sure, of course, why not? You should follow your heart, if it’ll make you happy.” But tell people that in order for you to be completely satisfied – completely and thoroughly happy and realized – you need to dedicate your life to serving; tell them you want a life consecrated to the service of humanity, and watch their eyeballs roll.
Why do you and so many other people have such a challenging time with the one and only thing that will ever truly and completely satisfy you?