A friend was having a talk with their kids and the question of what’s the meaning of life came up. The kids (teens and young adults) wanted to know. Awkward silence. Sputter. It is …
Anyway, here is my two cents worth: Meaning and purpose are not the same.
‘Meaning’ is meaningless without realizing that it is something we do not choose. We are chosen. Our parents chose to bring us into the world, notwithstanding the fact that not all things are well planned. We are a continuation of the past with hopefully the intent to look to the future. Our meaning is to continue the human reach to the future … and along the way to find our purpose.
It has been said that there can be no meaning without love. I’m not sure that love has anything to do with it. Love helps. Love nurtures. Love is craved. Love does many things … but pragmatically: love just makes our day better although the day that we live life within will happen with or without love.
‘Purpose’ is something that we choose, or don’t … in which case we usually spend time pondering the meaning of life. Add in love and mentoring and usually finding our purpose becomes easier and occurs sooner.
“Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.”
— Mark Twain
Some would say that all of the above still pervades our world. Yes, but things are ever so much better than the good ol’days.
My son Kevin is now in his 5th week of military basic training. They call it ‘Beast Week’ — it is supposedly the most challenging week.
When I went through basic training (Army, July 1974 — hotter than hell!) every week seemed challenging to me … but then, I have always felt challenged.
Kevin will do well. He is smart, smart, smart … but not to be confused with the Ever Ready Bunny!
BEAST WEEK inspirational quotes that I sent to my son.
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”
— Dr. Seuss
“A diamond is merely a lump of coal that did well under pressure.”
“Even if you are on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.”
— Will Rogers
“Life is like a sewer… what you get out of it depends on what you put into it.”
— Tom Lehrer
“There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.”
— Roger Staubach
“Life is like photography. You need the negatives to develop.”
Am always sure that things will work out for the best. I also expect the worst to possibly happen and spend extra energy on having an extra plan or two at the ready.
If my Plan B and Plan C do not work out then I rely upon what has always worked in the past: Grab a clipboard, make up my own rules, and demonstrate to the buggers how I came to stay and can outlast them.
Bill Golden’s 10 Rules about Success and Competitors
1 – There are plenty of smart people in the world. Always try harder.
2 – Life is not fair. Feel free to make up some of your own rules.
3 – Make good friends. Look beyond the smile and into the heart. Acts, not words, matter more. The heart acts. The mind justifies. Make good friends that can balance the two.
4 – Do not drink your own koolaid. Seek out source data and check your facts.
5 – Always be able to argue multiple sides of an argument. Use argument only enough to identify the decisionmakers. Do not delude yourself into believing that anyone is actually listening.
6 – Logic does not win arguments. Neither do facts. Identify group leaders. Either win them over, make them your partner or take them out. Do not ignore them.
7 – Always look both left and right when crossing streets. Twice is good. Thrice is better. It does not bother most of your competitors to hit the gas and to run you over.
8 – Never bad mouth or trash talk your opponent or competition. It reflects badly on your confidence and competence to do something, and not just talk.
9 – Always have a plan. Having two is better. If you actually have a plan feel free to ignore it. A plan just means that you have done your homework and identified key points of action, inaction and targets of opportunity. Be proactive. A plan is also acknowledgement of how badly you might be screwed if your only strategy is to play defense.
10 – Most people are good at heart, of sound mind and just want the best outcome. If you want to know the truth ask the ones keeping their heads down and just trying to make their way honestly in life. If it matters to them then it should matter to me.