In the context of history, human life is but a blink of an eye. I remember thinking as an elementary age child how making it to eighteen years of age and high school graduation seemed like an eternity away. Now on the back nine of my life, years go by like months and sometimes weeks.
I have sat with many individuals at the end of their lives and listened as they reflected on their time here on earth. Some express gratitude for the people that came in and out of their lives. Others share stories of their travels, how they built a business, or the things they created. However, far too many of them disclose regrets at the relationships that were destroyed as a result of their self-centeredness or how they now realize their pursuit of materialism was meaningless in the end.
Making a difference can come in many forms
We are bombarded daily with messages that fame and material wealth will make us feel happy and worthy like never before. But nothing is further from the truth. I can assure you, if you pursue a life whose sole purpose is status, power, and acquiring possessions, it will end in despair and emptiness. Contrastingly, a poverty mindset will rob you of so much joy and opportunity; scarcity does not equal spirituality. I have come across many greedy, poor individuals in my life. Moreover, some of the most generous and compassionate people I have know have been some of the wealthiest. It is a matter of the person not the resources.
If you truly want to live a life of depth, meaning, and purpose, commit to making a better world. It can come in many forms: creating art, giving to charity, serving others in some capacity; working to help save the environment, etc. As I look back at my own life, all of my most significant memories are centered on the people in my life, the experiences I had, or the lives I was blessed to touch in some way. I cannot think of a single memory at this point associated with something I purchased or an amount of money I received that has any level of feeling connected to it.
Meaning and connection trumps status and materialism
More of you than ever before are making a positive impact in the world. If this is you, stay your course. For those who are still caught in the trap of believing having more, and gaining more attention, will bring you more worth and meaning, it is not too late to change direction. In the Jewish Proverbs, there is a saying, "Live is but a vapor." Wake up to reality and spend your time and resources on advancing a world better than the one you found. You will have served your purpose and been a part of something greater than yourself. Always remember, meaning and connection will trump status and materialism every time.
John Hawkins Jr., M.S., L.M.H.C.
John has helped thousands of clients overcome the hidden internal blocks which had kept them from achieving their maximum potential. Furthermore, he has assisted them in gaining clarity of their true life purpose, identifying their gifts and talents, and developing lives of greater meaning and significance.