In his book, Man’s Search for Meaning, Viktor Frankl, who survived Nazi concentration camps during World War II, shares that our fundamental drive as human beings is the pursuit of meaning. He goes on to say that, “man’s main concern is not to gain pleasure or avoid pain but rather to see meaning in his life.”
Years ago, I was on a plane headed to speak in North Carolina when I had a life-changing moment. I was in the middle of reading Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers when I came across a chapter entitled The 10,000 Hour Rule. The focus was centered on Outliers (exceptional individuals) and how they reached lofty success and meaning in life based upon 10,000 hours (10 years of experience), which determined mastery, of something they had been doing all of their life. “…ten thousand hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert in anything,” Gladwell goes on to explain. Achievement is talent plus preparation, with talent only playing a small part. In a study conducted on musicians, researchers found that once a musician had the ability to get into a top music school, the thing that distinguished one performer from another was the amount of time put into practicing.
Practice isn’t the thing you do once you’re good. It’s the thing you do that makes you good. Back to my point, I began to think about what it was that I had spent the bulk of my life doing. Ah-ha! It was Overcoming obstacles and adjusting to constant environmental changes! I decided that was what I wanted to do- Inspire individuals and organizations to overcome obstacles and adjust to constant environmental changes; hence, the mission statement for my organization. Upon this discovery, I began to see that my days as a school principal were numbered. I had to get to the place where I was living and working on my mission in all that I was doing in life.
Each of us has to ask ourselves: Does our life have meaning and purpose? Do we feel a sense of fulfillment? Are we living, working, and breathing the place of our 10,000 hours? I recently came across a cartoon depiction of a character engaged in work that he was not fond of. The caption beneath the depiction read, “I would like to speak to whoever is in control of my life, and suggest some improvements.” This character was depending on those around him to add meaning and purpose to his life. How many of us have been in or are currently in situations such as this? Now I am not suggesting that your jump up and change your life around in an instant; however, I am suggesting that we began the journey to explore a life of greater meaning.
We have to ask ourselves, what is the world hungering for right now? How can I use my talent and skills to satisfy this need? From our 10,000 hours each of us has been positioned with the 3 things to prepare us for fulfilling our purpose according to author Dan Miller No More Dread Mondays:
1. Skills and abilities- Each of us has been granted unique skills and abilities to do the things that we enjoy doing most. What skills and talents come naturally to you?
2. Personality- Our personality will be connected to the very things that we enjoy doing. What does your personality tell you about the work that you enjoy doing?
3. Passion- if money were not a concern, what would you spend your time doing?
Start Your Journey Today and Begin to Live a Life of Meaning and Purpose!