It’s a sad thing when I have asked someone, What is your mission in life? and they look at me with a blank response and say, I haven’t got a clue. What do you mean? On the other hand, speak to someone who has a clear focus on what life means to them, and you’ll get a warm-hearted response. So the question I want to pose to you is, Do you know what your life’s mission is?
History tells us about the Wright brothers, the first humans to get off the ground with a plane. The fascinating thing about the Wright brothers is that they were not the idealistic dreamers you might expect them to be. They were serious, studious, and determined to figure things out. It wasn’t that they were obsessed with the dream of soaring high above the ground.
They were two mechanically-inclined brothers who owned a bicycle shop, and they couldn’t forget the brief but exciting flight of a cheap toy aeroplane they’d received as children. They were intrigued by the engineering challenge. Today, certainly they are recorded in the history books as men of vision—but do you know they were just ordinary people? They did have a distinct mission. That’s what set them apart!
They had a purpose—and so do many people today. Some even write down their life’s mission statement. Did you ever stop and wonder why you are here? What is your reason for being on this world at this time? What is the meaning of life? They are huge questions, but I have a sense they need to be asked.
The Fear of Living a Meaningless Life
Research has shown that the number one deadly fear of most people is having lived a meaningless life. If this is true, then can we say that finding one’s mission—one’s unique reason for being; finding this and fulfilling it—is perhaps the most vital, life-giving activity in which a person can engage? It’s not an exaggeration to say knowing your mission helps you decide how to act, what to do, and even what to say when challenging situations arise. I don’t want to get old and wonder, What was I supposed to have done in my lifetime? I could think of nothing worse.
It’s not about an age group. Teenagers are not the only ones attempting to discover how to have a fulfilling and exciting life. Men and women of all ages—and that includes people in their 80s and 90’s—want to have a purpose to their life. They want to do something meaningful. There’s something inside us that keeps nagging away, There has to be more to life than what I am presently doing. Discovering our passion and purpose is vital to our joy and well-being. The problem is that many people have lost touch with any sense of their passion and purpose and have no idea how to access this information.
Do you ever ask, What’s the point of my life? Where do I fit in? I think the most important question is to ask yourself, If I could be, do, or have anything I want regardless of time, money, energy, or other people, what would it be ? Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist once said, “The central neurosis of our time is emptiness,“
In the early to mid 1900s, the American cartoonist Ralph Barton was highly successful with his newspaper cartoons. He was well-known and in demand, but tragically took his own life, leaving a note nearby that included these words, “I am fed up with inventing devices to fill up twenty-four hours of the day.”
How sad it is—someone like him and other brilliant people who’d expressed the same kind of emptiness. I want to discuss this a bit further in Part 2.