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Purpose, Priorities and Return on Life
by our very own Mark Olson
Throughout our flawed and complex world, there is a consistent downward drift away from the elements in our lives that matter most. Slowly, over time our best intentions often become distorted by a wide range of influences that include the urgent, our culture and our own predispositions. Most of us yearn for excellence, alignment and fulfilment but often find ourselves being complacent, confused and frustrated because we fall short of all we can be.
One dominant illusion created by our world of finance is that we will be fulfilled and content if we maximize our income, portfolio returns and net worth. While industries spend massive amounts of time, money and energy promoting those outcomes, deep in our hearts we know those portrayals just aren’t true.
I’m hopeful the following two recommendations will spur you on as you fight against the downward forces in your circumstances and maximize the return on your life . While both may be simple and familiar, they represent missing links in most of our lives.
Clarify your purpose
Author Rick Warren has highlighted that “personal fulfilment, satisfaction and meaning can only be found when we realize that it’s not about us and we discover our purpose by figuring out what on earth we are here for.”
Helping people find hope after loss, loving God and loving others, or teaching and inspiring students to be more than they thought they could be, are some examples of a compelling purpose.
Determine what life priorities matter most to you
It’s amazing how even the most intelligent and gifted individuals often go through life without slowing down long enough to define the life priorities that matter the most to them. They are not alone as mathematician and theologian Blaise Pascal stated, “The last thing one knows is what to put first.”
Honoring God, leading your family and caring for others are examples of meaningful life priorities.
When life priorities that matter most are defined, they provide guidance at every fork in the road, which increases the probability that what matters most is accomplished. Without those priorities in place, critical decisions are often based upon urgent, shifting, less important factors which can lead to regrets about “what might have been.”
Commit to clarifying your purpose and determining what life priorities matter most. If you do, it will direct your actions, counter the downward drift and maximize the return on your life.