Gary Lerude

March 20, 2021

What's The Point?

My last blog post contemplated happiness, and I quoted the Dalai Lama's expression that "the purpose of life is to find happiness."

While meditating this morning, I found my thoughts pointing to a different answer: the purpose of life is to serve and, in some way, leave the world better for having lived. I've long held that belief, having codified it in a personal mission statement I wrote in 1990. That segment reads

My mission in life is ... to leave the world better for my having lived, through service to my family, company, church, profession, community, and the environment.

Some 30 years later, I still think it's a good goal, one to aspire to.

There's always more to be done, which reveals one of the challenges I feel: over-commitment. Given a need and the skills to help address it, I feel an obligation to do so, particularly if asked. I find it difficult to say "no," that my bucket is full. My life is blessed, so shouldn't I help when asked?

Another challenge I'm wary of is seeking recognition for what I do. A human need is to be appreciated. Yet, in some cases that turns into seeking aggrandizement. Am I doing this to serve or am I motivated to be in the spotlight? A good test of service for the sake of serving: would I do this anonymously?