I saw a thought provoking headline this morning. It exclaimed that suicide is at a fifty year peak in the US and that is it bringing down US life expectancy. Interestingly, yesterday I listed to a StoryBrand podcast of a similar nature. It talked about about finding meaning in life and the speakers summarized Victor Frankle’s learnings from being in a concentration camp. It was only in finding meaning that people survived.
After the war, Victor worked with suicide ward patients. As part of their treatment, he had them find someone that needed their help. In doing so, this would help his patients find meaning. Friends of Bill, not Bill Clinton, but AA members, know that the secret of staying sober is helping others get and stay sober.
Are We Special?
In my third stage of life, I have come to realize that I am not that special. Not that unique. I entered the third stage of life seeking the purpose of my life. But a couple of weeks ago, I came across a blog post. This post taught me that finding the purpose of life is waste of time. That you should simply do what your good at. And now I doubt that I will ever find the purpose of my life.
I suspect a few things. We have President T in the White House. And we are in the midst of an Artifical Intelligence infused feedback loop of social media, curated news, and Apple, Amazon and Google “suggestions”. It is easy to get a feedback loop of your specialness thrown back at you. And let’s say you work at the GM factory in Lordstown. You just realized that in your zest to make America great again you voted for someone who when elected imposed a ten percent tariff on steel. And your job has been eliminated because we don’t produce steel in this country. Needless to say, you might be depressed.
Happiness and Purpose are Two Different Things
When asked what our goals in life are, many of us nowadays are answering with one word. Happiness. Happiness is a pursuit we chase day after day. We go on vacations. And we indulge in retail therapy. We constantly update the models of our cars. And camp out overnight for the newest tech gadgets. We chase happiness in rich food and cozy cocktails. But at the end of the day, what are we really chasing? Happiness isn’t found in things, it’s simply a byproduct of those things.
What we should be chasing instead is usefulness. Why usefulness? Because the things we chase to find happiness, well, they’re just things. They keep us occupied sure. But how much meaning can we truly find in those things? Rather it is the useful things we do that drive meaning and purpose in life. The things we create (for both ourselves and others). The times we are helpful and perform random acts of kindness. It what we DO with our lives, not the things we accumulate while living, that truly makes a difference.
Taking a page out of Frankle’s book, find someone that is worse off than you that you can help. Get off social media. Stop looking at conspiracy theory videos. Or hoping that either “the Donald” is out of office or “Crooked Hillary” is in jail. Go do good things for good people that need your help. While this might be the purpose of my life, I have come to believe that this is the purpose of life in general. And the things we are good at allow us to fulfill that.
That Is What an On-Core Venture Is
What about you? What is your On-Core Venture? Ours is helping people pay their rent or mortgage by doing the things that they are good at. We want to know yours. What is your story?