Now that is a heavy question, is it not? Yet, there must be some reason that you are here on this planet at this time.

This type of question can motivate some to study philosophy and others to enter the seminary. Or, you could consider good old fashioned denial and avoidance to dodge the question—why bother answering a question that cannot be answered anyway?

To save you that trouble, here is the simple answer. You exist to fulfill your own unique purpose—whatever that may be. That is why you exist.

You have a unique responsibility to live out your own personal script. Maybe that purpose is to invent things like software or music. Your purpose could be to lead or teach others. You might have one purpose, a few, or many. Whatever it is, it is exclusively yours. It does not matter what your purpose is as long as you do it.

Alas, here is the rub—you must uncover your purpose before you can do it. One way to discover your purpose is with the creation of a personal mission statement. A personal mission statement addresses three questions:

1) What is your life about?

2) What do you stand for?

3) What are you doing to fulfill that purpose?

Using no more than 30 words, a personal mission statement says what you wish to accomplish or contribute and who you want to be. Your mission statement speaks about what you are doing today to fulfill that purpose. Don’t confuse your mission with vision. Vision statements describe what could be in the future while a mission statement lives in the here and now.

Yes, answering these questions may not be easy. Here is an exercise that might help get you going. Imagine that it is your 80th birthday and you are having a grand party. All your family, friends, co-workers in your profession, and neighbors have gathered to hear you speak. What would you say to them was most important in your life? What did you do for the last 80 years? Why? How?

As the Greek philosopher Epictetus wrote, “First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.”

John Bradley Jackson
© Copyright 2009 All rights reserved.
(this blog is being republished by request)

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