WOW! 19 years of the 21st century have already been lived. It seems only yesterday that the prophets of doom were forecasting a worldwide meltdown due to the inability of computers to make the transition to the new century. I was scheduled to fly oversees on New Year’s Eve and some friends thought I was foolish to make the trip. I made the trip and here I am nineteen years later looking forward to embarking on a new year.
New prophets of doom have arisen forecasting a global meltdown due to man’s irresponsible use of earth’s natural resources. Simply put, we are told that people are the cause of climate change. We have plundered the Amazon rain forests, dumped tons of toxic waste into the atmosphere and created a petroleum-based economy. We are the culprits responsible for global warming and if we do not repent and amend our ways, the impact of the unfiltered sun will be catastrophic.
For the record, I strongly believe in the responsible stewardship of the resources entrusted to us by our Creator. Our profit driven economy needs boundaries. “My rights,” fuelled by entitlement and greed, will use and abuse whatever meets “my needs.”
Having said that, I am not sure that people are the cause of climate change. The ice age came and went without the influence of man’s carbon footprint.
The intention of this author is not to debate climate change but rather to raise the question, “What do you want out of life?” What really matters to you and why? Psychologist William Marsten asked 3,000 people, “What have you to live for?” Ninety-four percent said they had no definite purpose for their lives. In other words, they were just surviving.
Albert Einstein defined insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. An old Chinese proverb says, “If we do not change our direction, we are likely to end up where we are headed.” When Alice asked the cat which road she should take the cat replied by asking where she was going. Alice didn’t have a definite destination so the cat replied, “Then it doesn’t matter which road you take.”
Without a purpose in life, does the issue of climate change really matter? Purpose helps to define what matters in life and why it matters. Purpose is the foundation and catalyst of vision. Or to put it in other words, vision is the substance of our purpose. It takes the idea in the mind and translates it into a doable plan with an achievable goal.
Let me illustrate. Purpose: To bring the greatest good to the greatest number of people without a boundary of time. That purpose gives vision for the family: to equip each person so that their maximum potential is released in life. At work I will look for ways to encourage and affirm those who are part of my network of responsibility. In my neighborhood I will look for ways to stimulate “community” and extend care.
When purpose gives birth to vision, passion becomes the fuel that fires my actions and makes me a contagious person who infects others with a passion for life. When vision begins to capture your mind, you will shed peripheral activities for those that move you towards the fulfillment of your vision.
Some time ago, I read the story of Ronan Tynan of Kilkenny, Ireland. As a young man, he wanted to be an Olympic equestrian. However, when he was 20, one of his legs had to be amputated above the knee. That didn’t stop him. He simply chose to compete as a disabled athlete. Within 12 months, he was winning medals, and went on to win 18 gold medals and set 14 world records. This man’s vision was to become a world-class athlete. When he suffered a huge setback, his vision compelled him to find another way rather than give up.
My Dad would say to me, “Son, if there is a will there is a way.” I would like to modify it to read, “Son, if there is a will to fulfill your purpose, there is a way.” A clear, authentic, life-capturing purpose will give you the resources you need to go over the mountain, through the mountain or around the mountain. In other words, you will press through the difficulty, obstacle or opposition to find a way.
There was a little over a mile left to complete the marathon. I was tired but determined to finish. I developed a cramp in my right leg. What kept me going? A vision that had captured my life some years before. I wanted to see our children released in life as pillars of truth bringing an influence of justice and righteousness into the earth. It was our son’s request and influence that got me signed up for the marathon. I wanted him to know that I would run with him to the end of the race.
Climate change? I want the forecast of my life to read, “Purpose, vision and passion, hotter tomorrow than it was today.” I want a legacy of love, life and loyalty to be transferred to the account of our children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and through them to their spheres of influence. That’s what I want out of life.