Every morning each one of us wakes up to do something. For the most it is jobs, for some it is business and for some few, looking for both, business and jobs. In this week’s Life Series (Published 2009), we ask one question, what makes a meaningful life?
Meaning is the substance that makes life worth living. It connects our lives to happiness. It makes each of our days, however stressing, or boring or mundane meaningful. It gives us reason to wake up each day. It gives us purpose. It rallies our imaginations, intellects, energy, passion, creativity into whatever we do!
People find meaning in making money. Some in reaching out. We hear of a Beverly Hills debutante, rich, successful, lived in Hollywood, who gave up all she had to work in La Mesa, a Mexican prison. She found meaning and happiness. We also hear of the polish priest, Maximillan, who got a PhD in Philosophy and Theology, but he gave up his life so that another man may live.
Then there are many more extra-ordinary lives that people have lead, and they found meaning and Happiness. They include the stories you know. Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian lawyer who sacrificed so much to fight for the dignity of his people. Mother Teresa, the nun who gave up teaching and comforts to be with the sick, unloved, old. Then we meet the Martin Luther King Jnr, who earned his PhD at 25, had a life of great promise and could have earned his life in academia and preaching. He sacrificed so much, sometimes to the discomfort of his wife and four lovely kids to fight for equality in the American society.
Richard Branson has found meaning creating Virgin brands all over the world, Warren Buffett in leading people and allocating capital, Bill Gates in taking on the personal computer software, games and more recently in taking on health and poverty.
So where and how can we find meaning? For us, whatever we are doing, we just need to deliver, in the extra-ordinary causes like great people we have mentioned and in the ordinary things. We can find meaning in our daily duties, daily jobs by doing it with love, For God and fellow humankind. We can stretch our days, we can strive more, we can think and do more innovatively, and we can do our work with a bit more diligence for this goal.
The key thing to remember is that our lives have a noble purpose and we should strive humanly to reach that purpose. We need to retain the child-like wonder, the can –do idealism of our teenage years as we strive for that noble life. We should keep in mind that, whatever is noble, excellent, great, lovely, we should do and think about those things. In the process, without looking for meaning, we will find it plus all the success we want.
Maybe you are asking anything practical that I can do? How about doing your work diligently? Or studying more? Or praying for someone? Or joining a community service club? Or mentoring a kid? Or just being personally a God’s friend? Those simple things can help us find that meaning that brings happiness to our lives.