The One Truth That I Know For Sure
For years, Oprah Winfrey featured an annual episode where leaders would share the one thing they knew with certainty.
Every single one of us comes into this world with a unique purpose. Until we find that purpose, to varying degrees, we suffer. Our unique role in the world cannot and will not be defined by others. In fact, until we engage in the kind of self-examination that leads to the truth, we are typically living someone else’s life, someone else’s idea of who and what we ought to do for a living or how we ought to live.
We have been witnessing turmoil as one era of work falls away and another steps forward. Advancing technology is taking away task-based jobs. Many of us were told task-based work offered security and predictability. Now, we find that security is no longer derived from activity, we find it in our growth. This is good news! Advancing technology has always given us new freedom. Now, the opportunity is to define what we are going to do with that freedom, not “where can we get shackled again?”
For years, I’ve advocated that we base our lives on happiness. The definition of happiness is unique for every single one of us. And, as members of our community have defined their own version of happiness, another definition naturally emerges. Meaning. Our unique purpose in life is the one that is most perfectly meaningful to us as individuals. No one else has the capacity or the right to do that on our behalf. Joesph Campbell once said, “Life is without meaning. You bring the meaning to it. The meaning of life is whatever you ascribe it to be.”
What is meaningful to me is inspiring as many people as humanly possible to take their freedom and use it for their fulfillment and the betterment of the world around us. After 27 years, that is a large group of individuals. It is also our commitment Inspired Work to help each unique definition of work meet the practical world by generating the kind of income that also supports our freedom. For example, many of our entrepreneurs are what you would refer to as “social entrepreneurs.” These are individuals who make very good money while contributing to the good of their world and their communities. We didn’t tell them to do that, their hearts naturally led them forward. I think of the many individuals who have taken jobs and applied their unique signatures to those positions. As a result, the organizations that employ them derive great value.
Buckminster Fuller was once approached by a 12-year-old named Michael. He asked “Buckie” if he was a “thinker” or a “doer.” Fuller responded, “The things to do are the things that need doing: that you see need to be done and that no one else seems to see to be done. Then you will conceive your own way of doing that which needs to be done that no one else has told you to do or how to do it. This will bring out the real you that often gets buried inside a character that has acquired a superficial array of behaviors induced or imposed by others on the individual.”
For many of us, these ideas are in direct opposition to what we were told to expect and to do as children. That is the nature of evolution. Today’s children have higher IQs than adults. We have more abundance in our culture than at any other time in history. And yet, our unresolved fears push many of us to look towards the past.
So, if we have to move forward, why not make use of the opportunity in front of each and every one of us?
Base one’s life on happiness. Run one’s life with meaning. Trust that everything else is learnable.
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