Hi, this is Roger Hall, and this is Roger’s 2 Cents.
I have in front of me a question given to me by somebody who attended one of my seminars. I don’t know what it is and I’ll let you know what I think. I’ll give you my 2 cents.
How do you find and fulfill your life’s purpose?
I think, there are frankly 3 ways to find and fulfill your life’s purpose. Most of us want to have that moment-in-time life purpose. You know, we want to be like Churchill. After the war a reporter came up to Churchill and said, “Tell me about your experience.” And he said, “I feel like everything in my life led me to this moment.”
Every one of us wants to see the fulfillment of the purpose of our life. We want to have some sort of plant-the-flag dynamic change in the world, and we want to be able too see the effect of our work.
That’s that sort of dramatic purpose, that we get to see the fruit of our life. And that we can, when we die we can say, “Look, I’ve fulfilled my purpose.”
But unfortunately, it’s not always like that. I mean, we’d all like that, but it’s not always like that. Sometimes, it’s that you do your daily discipline of your work, and the product of your work fulfills the purpose, but you may never see it happen. And that’s frustrating.
So if we look at Vincent van Gogh, a lot of people are familiar with his paintings that now sell for millions. But what most people don’t know is that he never sold a painting in his life. His brother would say, oh Vincent, yeah I’ve got people to buy your paintings, and would buy them from his brother, and say that he was selling them in town. But he put them in a closet. And so Van Gogh kept at his art, he kept at his discipline, and never saw the fruit of his work. He thought there were some local people buying his paintings. Now our lives are enriched. Van Gogh’s purpose was never fulfilled in his life. He had a very tragic life, but his step-wise progress of paint, paint, paint, paint his whole life has fulfilled his purpose. But he never got to see it.
Then the 3rd is an obscure purpose. And nobody wants this, but this is how life sometimes goes.
About 2,500 years ago an Egyptian king decided he was going to do taxes, and he needed to raise tax money. So he had all of these people carve stone inscriptions of the new tax notice. And because it was a multilingual society the stone carver hammered it in hieroglyphics, hammered it in Samarian, and hammered it in Greek. They post the sign. The taxes go through. And at the end of that, what do they do with the sign? They throw it in the ash heap. They actually throw it and use it as building material, and they actually use it inside a wall to build this wall. About 1,000 years later, Napoleon was in Egypt and he’s fighting a war, and they need building material. So he sends the generals, and the colonels, and the majors send sergeants and privates out to scavenge from these buildings, building materials for the roads or whatever they were building. And so they’re tearing down this building and somebody finds this broken stone, and they look at it and they hand it to the corporal, or the…not a high ranking person…and he looks at it and goes, that’s pretty interesting. So he sends it up the chain, and it eventually ends up in the British museum. And the stone that the stone carver made as a tax notice 2,500 years ago, thrown inside a wall that nobody knew about, picked up by some soldiers who didn’t really know what it was, gets to the British museum, and it turns out this is the Rosetta Stone.
Everything we know about hieroglyphics, it was indecipherable. No one knew what any of those hieroglyphics meant until they found the stone that has hieroglyphics, Sumarian and Greek, and they could then translate. And from that they built the understanding of what hieroglyphics mean. Now we can read hieroglyphics, pretty well, because some stone carver 2,500 years ago wrote a tax notice. Some soldier who thought, that’s a pretty cool stone…I wonder what that means?
Neither of those men ever saw the purpose of their life. They were, the Egyptian stone carver was long dead, and the French soldier died before it was discovered what it all meant. So neither of them saw the purpose of their life. But their purpose was obscure. But everybody’s life has a purpose. We may not get to see it, but it’s still there.
Yeah, we all want to be like Churchill, that everything in our life goes to change the course of history. But some of us we just do our daily discipline, and we have a purpose. And maybe it’s not like Van Gogh. Maybe our purpose is to build into the lives of our children, or into our community. Um, and other people, they may never get to see the purpose of their life. They lay on their death bed wondering if their life mattered. But I think every life matters. But sometimes we don’t see the purpose until long after we’re gone.
My advice? Go live your life. Go live an exceptional life. Engage in life, and life will find it’s purpose in you if you keep giving.
And that’s my 2 cents.