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Why Must We Strive?

At the foundation of this blog is a sense of self improvement. But why should we bother improving? Improving ourselves, improving our lives. What do we want out of life? Why are we here?


So much of what is in this blog is stuff that is hard to do, or uncomfortable. Why should i do this? I don’t want the sweat. I don’t want the grind. Why is it better to live life this way, instead of just cruising by? Sure you are really motivated, and that is fine for you. But i’m cool doing my thing over here. And i don’t want to change. What If i get in shape... that means that i need to continue eating well and exercising FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE??? Why? Why strive?


Meaning

In my quest of writing this article i spent a lot of time thinking about Dr Viktor Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning. Which is an incredible story about his life and experience as a prisoner in Auschwitz, Dachau and other concentration camps during WWII. His suffering was unimaginable. Yet his life’s work was to show that no matter the circumstance one faces, everyone has the ability to decide that their life has meaning. Frankl says that the meaning of life is to give life meaning. I found an interview of his where he says that we all have the responsibility to humanity to create meaning out of our lives whether it be through triumphs, or the deepest and most terrifying suffering we might face.


“It does not really matter what we expected from life. But rather what life expected from us.” - Viktor Frankl

I believe that these words from Dr Frankl’s are true, and that i have a responsibility to learn what life expects of me, and what my life can mean for others. This creates an incredible urgency for my own journey. If i am not striving forward on this mission, then who else can do the task that i alone was given?


I came up with a dumb anology. But let’s give it a go. Think for a minute about the life of a lion. No two lions. No three, uhh no just two. ok, if there were two lions, one lived in a small corner of the Savanna and just kinda ate small prey and whatever came into their land. The other Lion controlled the largest territory ever known. Stretching across multiple countries, plains, and woodlands. That pride was the biggest in recorded history, and also had the largest individual lions ever recorded, they were a remarkable height and weight. They hunted huge prey, and were able to hunt all over because their territory was so big. Then eventually both lions died, and 100 years passed. Which lion lived a better life? Do we care? I’m not sure.


But what if it were two humans. And what if the larger stronger human created positive change for this world. Her pride were ferocious about creating positivity and love and prosperity to all. They adopted others into the pride and those members became larger in size and strength as well and also became fierce protectors of good and love. Their territory was the largest in recorded history, and the land and everything in it prospered while that pride ruled. Then eventually both humans died, and 100 years passed. Which human lived a better life?


Well it seems obvious that the second human must have left an impact. With all the good that happened in such a large area and so many people involved, how could the ripples of that person not still be resonating 100 years later? The youngest member of that pride, when the second human died, was likely in their teens or twenties, which means they would have lived for 60-70 more years into the future. Their character would have affected others, who would have affected others. And the change in the world would continue well into the centennial of that first and second human’s passing.


So from the outside, it feels obvious to me that the second human lived a better life. They made the world for those around them better. But what about the humans themselves? At the end of their lives how would they look back and feel about their time? Would they think about the impact they made and go to sleep peacefully?


“For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time for my departure is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6-8

Whether you believe in the God of the bible, or in the higher calling of humanity that Frankl speaks to, it seems that the purpose for your life is set out before you, and it is something to be poured out in the time you have left. And when I look in the rear view mirror for the last time, i want to be able to say those words about my life. I finished my race, i fought the good fight, i answered the call, i kept the faith. I can go peacefully now into the night, knowing that what life expected of me, is complete.


Conclusion

Whether it is for the 100 years of impact, or the 100 seconds near the end of life, we all have a decision to make. What has humanity asked of us?


I believe that you were created to do something incredibly impactful for this world! Not only incredible, but also unique. I believe that you are here to do a specific task that no one else on earth, or throughout all time, can do but you. Your talents, abilities, network, upbringing, experiences, and genetics make you uniquely qualified to do this task. And if you fail, the task will go uncomplete forever. And humankind, earth, the universe, will be worse off because you failed. We need you to strive. We need you to succeed. And 100 years from now, the ripples of your actions will continue into eternity.


“If I shall refuse the burden, then who else can bear it. And if i am not to shoulder it now, then when?”
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