I love this quote by Benjamin Mays: “The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy in life lies in having no goal to reach.”
Every day, you’re affected by the decisions you make; those decisions are either helping to fulfill you or leaving you empty. If you’re feeling empty, it’s probably because you’re chasing the wrong things or nothing at all. You—like everyone else—are faced with that question: “Why am I here?”
Routine without purpose is deadly. Doing the same thing…day in and day out…every day…makes you restless, dissatisfied, bored, and miserable. Where is the spark? The adventure? Can this really be all there is?
If you’ve spent years getting up at the crack of dawn, begging the world for just another hour of sleep, grumpily getting into the shower, getting the kids up and dressed, making breakfast, hurrying to work so you can spend eternity there with a quick break for a meal, then maybe making a stop at the gym or grocery store, fixing dinner, cleaning up, helping the kids with their homework, watching TV, packing lunches for the next day, getting everyone ready for bed, then watching TV in bed until you just can’t stay awake anymore because you know if you fall asleep you just have to do it all again the next day…I bet you’ve had enough. You probably feel like a victim of your own life.
The difference between existing and really living is having a sense of purpose, or meaning.
Life becomes an adventure when you decide to pursue your dream—a never-ending quest for what you want most in life—then finding a way to use that dream to be of service to others, however you see fit.
That adventure doesn’t end because there’s always more to do. Remember the concept that life is about the journey, not the destination?
As you grow and as the world changes, your quest will morph with you. It stays engaging and exciting because nothing around us ever stays the same. There is always more to see, do, and change.
I’m not saying that all the mundane things will go away, but your outlook, how you think, what you strive for, how you feel about your place in the world, how you interact with others, and how you spend eight or so hours of your day will change.
If you’re concerned that what you’re passionate about isn’t of help to others, take a moment to see if that’s really true, because I’d bet it’s not. If you love photography, then you can create a lasting memory for a family. If you’re a painter, you can bring beauty into people’s lives. If you’re a writer, you’re also a teacher or entertainer.
When you spend time through your job, volunteering, or hobby doing something that matters to you and helps others, in any capacity, you find that sense of fulfillment and purpose that all humans long for. You gain that sense of connectedness to your community and your world that we all need.
If you just go through the motions every day, you’ll always be looking for something else to make you happy or satisfied.
But, if you dedicate at least some part of your life to the service of others, then you’ll get back so much in return.
You’ll find you have a direction, a goal you’ll always be pursuing, and that chase is anything but routine. You’ll always be learning and growing. The old adage is true: The more you give, the more you receive. And that makes us rich beyond measure.