I was at an evangelical Christian wedding last year and the groom’s father made an interesting point in what was a very inspiring speech. He said the marriage was going to be strong because it would exist for a purpose bigger than itself, it would exist for God.
In the past I know I would have thought that this was stupid because I have never been a big fan of religion. I’m still not a fan of religion but now I understand the benefits of living for something greater than yourself. It doesn’t really matter what it is, as long as you are living for something you receive some major benefits.
This is not about how to find your life’s purpose. This is an argument as to why you should look within yourself and find one, if you do not have one already. Life is better when you have a purpose that goes beyond your own material needs.
Dare To Be Great
All the great people in history have lived for a strong purpose. It may be religious, political, for civili rights, or for any cause. Great people, the ones we remember, are those who made great personal sacrifices for what they believed to be a great cause. Jesus, Ghandi, Nelson Mandela, Martin Luther King, Mother Theresa are famous examples.
The reason I found this so applicable to the idea of marriage is that I do think a higher purpose insulates you from some of the troubles in a relationship. There is a concept in personal development called finding your “true north.” It means identifying with certain values, beliefs or behaviors that come from within that are going to remain constant regardless of what turbulence is going on around you in life. It keeps you grounded even when you are having issues with relationships, career, money or anything else.
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It is those for whom their marriage is the great purpose in their life that are going to fall on seriously tough times if it falls apart. It is those who live for their career that are going to have issues when they are made redundant. People who have something greater that drives them can dodge life’s obstacles a lot easier.
Living for a higher purpose goes beyond insulating yourself from a relationship break up or a career failure. It is a reason to be passionate about life, a reason to get up in the morning. It is something to contribute to the world and something that gives you immense satisfaction. It is the kind of thing you want to be remembered for when you die.
It’s not just about making the world a better place. Living for a cause makes your life better.
This does not have to be something massive or earth changing or even particularly charitable. You do not have to be Ghandi. It just has to be something that you are living for beyond your immediate circumstances.
For me it is the philosophies espoused in the book Ishmael by Daniel Quinn. This book is a bit of an underground classic but not all that well known. However I believe that in it are some of the best solutions to all the modern day crises such as economic, environmental and energy. That one book holds the key in my opinion. I am supremely passionate about it and I make sacrifices and work hard to spread its message. I get excited by it and find great satisfaction. I feel like if I died tomorrow I would die having contributed something to the world.
Even if you are not Ghandi your passionate promotion of a cause may be the spark that ignites someone else who then goes on to become the next Ghandi. There is a butterfly effect going on here, and you can have a profound impact on the world unintentionally and without realizing it.
Anybody can live for a greater cause. We are all great in our own way. And there are personal benefits. It makes you humble, it connects you to others and it builds empathy. If makes you passionate and inspiring. It makes you interesting. Most of all it makes life more fun and worth living.
Living a purpose driven and goal driven life is more exciting that sleep walking through life. You can shape the direction and shape the purpose rather than living on someone else’s whim.