August 17

Motivation Mondays: PURPOSE

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“The purpose of human life is to serve, and to show compassion and the will to help others.” Albert Schweitzer

Motivation Mondays: PURPOSE - What is the meaning of life?
Motivation Mondays: PURPOSE – What is the meaning of life?

“What is the meaning of life?” – To realize one’s potential and ideals
To chase dreams.[145]
To live one’s dreams.[146]
To spend it for something that will outlast it.[147]
To matter: to count, to stand for something, to have made some difference that you lived at all.[147]
To expand one’s potential in life.[146]
To become the person you’ve always wanted to be.[148]
To become the best version of yourself.[149]
To seek happiness[150][151] and flourish.[3]
To be a true authentic human being.[152]
To be able to put the whole of oneself into one’s feelings, one’s work, one’s beliefs.[147]
To follow or submit to our destiny.[153][154][155]
To achieve eudaimonia,[156] a flourishing of human spirit. All in this seriesvia Wikipedia

“What is the meaning of life?” – To achieve biological perfection
To survive,[157] that is, to live as long as possible,[158] including pursuit of immortality (through scientific means).[159]
To live forever[159] or die trying.[160]
To adapt. Often to improve one’s chances of success in another purpose; sometimes, as a purpose in itself (adapting to adapt).
To evolve.[161]
To replicate, to reproduce.[145] “The ‘dream’ of every cell is to become two cells.”

Meaning of Life: At different points in our lives, we ask ourselves a series of questions: What is my PURPOSE? What is the meaning of life? Why am I here and experiencing XYX? Like an actor who must define what motivates the character he/she is playing on stage or in a movie, we ask ourselves these questions to make sense of the cumulative events in our lives. The great philosophers, many of whom I studied in my college years, pondered the same questions and tackled them by coming up with a wide range of answers. Whether we considered Aristotle’s Four/Final Cause, Kant’s Categorical Imperative, Plato’s Theory of forms, Stoicism, Enlightenment Philosophy or any of the many religious, scientific, and philosophical discourses on the subject by thinkers over the years, it boils down to a simple question: Why am I here? If we listen to the Sages of old and Schweitzer above, it is to SERVE. What motivates us and our intention to behave a certain way on our path to service is not linear, nor is it the same for everyone. As our lives unfold, we experience hills and valleys and each one provides moments of contemplation on what to do next. We reach a point in life where we might feel the end of the road is near and some of us stop and steep ourselves in contemplation or what others around us view as the mundane. At what point do we feel compelled to be present and not fixate on our “purpose”?

A Story: The Wooden Coffin
A farmer got so old that he couldn’t work the fields anymore. So he would spend the day just sitting on the porch. His son, still working the farm, would look up from time to time and see his father sitting there. “He’s of no use any more,” the son thought to himself, “he doesn’t do anything!” One day the son got so frustrated by this, that he built a wood coffin, dragged it over to the porch, and told his father to get in. Without saying anything, the father climbed inside. After closing the lid, the son dragged the coffin to the edge of the farm where there was a high cliff. As he approached the drop, he heard a light tapping on the lid from inside the coffin. He opened it up. Still lying there peacefully, the father looked up at his son. “I know you are going to throw me over the cliff, but before you do, may I suggest something?” “What is it?” replied the son. “Throw me over the cliff, if you like,” said the father, “but save this good wood coffin. Your children might need to use it.” This and other stories via: Read.Goodweb,

“There is one quality which one must possess to win, and that is definiteness of purpose, the knowledge of what one wants, and a burning desire to possess it.” Napoleon Hill

Motivation Mondays: PURPOSE - What is the meaning of life?
Motivation Mondays: PURPOSE – What is the meaning of life?

“What is the meaning of life?” – To seek wisdom and knowledge
To expand one’s perception of the world.[146]
To follow the clues and walk out the exit.[166]
To learn as many things as possible in life.[167]
To know as much as possible about as many things as possible.[168]
To seek wisdom and knowledge and to tame the mind, as to avoid suffering caused by ignorance and find happiness.[169]
To face our fears and accept the lessons life offers us.[153]
To find the meaning or purpose of life.[170][171]
To find a reason to live.[172]
To resolve the imbalance of the mind by understanding the nature of reality.[173]

“What is the meaning of life?” – To do good, to do the right thing
To leave the world as a better place than you found it.[145]
To do your best to leave every situation better than you found it.[145]
To benefit others.[6]
To give more than you take.[145]
To end suffering.[174][175][176]
To create equality.[177][178][179]
To challenge oppression.[180]
To distribute wealth.[181][182]
To be generous.[183][184]
To contribute to the well-being and spirit of others.[185]
To help others,[3][184] to help one another.[186]
To take every chance to help another while on your journey here.[145]
To be creative and innovative.[185]
To forgive.[145]
To accept and forgive human flaws.[187][188]
To be emotionally sincere.[147]
To be responsible.[147]
To be honorable.[147]
To seek peace.[147]
To do and be good

Purpose of Life: As I worked on this post, what became clear is the fact that when we are presented with a series of questions about the value of life and its ultimate purpose, we come to our answers from different pathways. Our upbringing, environment, beliefs, and experiences inform our overall attitude and responses to the questions.  The point of our purpose on this planet could range from the most practical, to the esoteric, and even to a strong belief in nihilism; we live, we die and that’s it. But, whether we spend any time thinking about it or not, it behooves us to consider what drives us to act on a daily basis. Does that drive change? Does it seem pointless at times? No matter our belief system, one thing remains constant: we live, we act, we die and what we are doing while all these markers are lined up in our lives is our purpose. Or perhaps, as many a great Sage has advised, life is about mastery over our fear of death. As I read through the answers given on the meaning of life (see block-quotes above and below), I was struck at the range and simple, yet, meaningful answers that people gave. Even those who felt it had not meaning, held a perspective that was rational and fair. If there is no point in life, then why do we agonize over situations and the outcomes of our actions? Perhaps anticipating the results and seeing the fruit of our labor makes it all the more special…? Perhaps it is about gaining mastery over our collective fear of death?

A Story: Mastery Over The Fear Of Death
Tajima no Kami was fencing master to the Shogun. One of the Shogun’s bodyguards came to him one day asking to be trained in swordsmanship. “I have watched you carefully,” said Tajima no Kami, “and you seem to be a master in the art yourself.
Before taking you on as a pupil, I request you to tell me what master you studied under.” The bodyguard replied, “I have never studied the art under anyone.”
“You cannot fool me,” said the teacher. “I have a discerning eye and it never fails.”
“I do not mean to contradict your excellency,” said the guard, “but I really do not know a thing about
The teacher engaged the man in swordplay for a few minutes then stopped and said, “Since you say you have never learned the art, I take your word for it. But you are some kind of master. Tell me about yourself.”
“There is one thing,” said the guard. “When I was a child I was told by a samurai that a man should never fear death. I therefore faced the question of death till it ceased to cause me the slightest anxiety.”
“So that’s what it is,” said Tajima no Kami. “The ultimate secret of swordsmanship lies in being free from the fear of death. You need no training. You are a master in your own right.”

The details for Motivation Mondays are below. Join in! The themes for July and August are:
07/06 – FREEDOM
07/13 – WORRY
07/20 – WEALTH
07/27 – GRACE

08/03 – TIME
08/10 – CONTROL
08/17 – PURPOSE
08/24 – FAILURE
08/31 – HOPE

“What is the meaning of life?” – To have power, to be better
To strive for power[63] and superiority.[208]
To rule the world.[154]
To know and master the world.[196][210]
To know and master nature.[211]

“What is the meaning of life?” – To love, to feel, to enjoy the act of living
To love more.[145]
To love those who mean the most. Every life you touch will touch you back.[145]
To treasure every enjoyable sensation one has.[145]
To seek beauty in all its forms.[145]
To have fun or enjoy life.[153][185]
To seek pleasure[147] and avoid pain.[208]
To be compassionate.[147]
To be moved by the tears and pain of others, and try to help them out of love and compassion.[145]
To love others as best we possibly can.[145]
To eat, drink, and be merry.[209]


“When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.” Howard Schultz

Motivation Mondays: PURPOSE - What is the meaning of life?
Motivation Mondays: PURPOSE – What is the meaning of life?

“What is the meaning of life?” – Life has no meaning
Life or human existence has no real meaning or purpose because human existence occurred out of a random chance in nature, and anything that exists by chance has no intended purpose.[173]
Life has no meaning, but as humans we try to associate a meaning or purpose so we can justify our existence.[145]
There is no point in life, and that is exactly what makes it so special.[145]

“What is the meaning of life?” – One should not seek to know and understand the meaning of life
The answer to the meaning of life is too profound to be known and understood.[173]
You will never live if you are looking for the meaning of life.[145]
The meaning of life is to forget about the search for the meaning of life.[145]
Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognize that it is he who is asked. In a word, each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.[212]

“What is the meaning of life?” – Life is bad
Better never to have been.

What is YOUR Purpose? In the scheme of things, it can be anything that we discern for our lives. Some of us have very grand ideas about our purpose, while others have very conservative ideas or none whatsoever. Personally, I believe that our purpose in life is to be of service to humanity; by that I mean we are here to perform our actions with gratitude, focus, and a sense of responsibility to the rest of our community. I believe we are here to grow in spirit and overcome our fear of failure, death and even success. We are here to learn about life and its many gifts and limitations. How we go about it is entirely up to us. What are your thoughts? More responses on the subject below.

A Story: Slay The Dragon In Your Mind
There was once a huge dragon in China who went from village to village killing cattle and dogs and chicken and people indiscriminately. So the villagers called upon a wizard to help them in their distress. The wizard said, “I cannot slay the dragon myself, for magician though I am, I am too afraid. But I shall find you the one who will.”
With that he transformed himself into a dragon and took up position on a bridge so everyone who did not know it was the wizard was afraid to pass. One day, however, a traveler came up to the bridge, calmly climbed over the dragon, and walked on.
The wizard promptly took on human shape again and called to the person, “Come back, my friend – I have been standing here for weeks waiting for you!”

“What is the meaning of life?” – Meanings relating to religion
To worship God and enter heaven in afterlife.[189]
To reach the highest heaven and be at the heart of the Divine.[190]
To have a pure soul and experience God.[147]
To understand the mystery of God.[153]
To know or attain union with God.[191][192]
To know oneself, know others, and know the will of heaven.[193]
To love something bigger, greater, and beyond ourselves, something we did not create or have the power to create, something intangible and made holy by our very belief in it.[145]
To love God[191] and all of his creations.[194]
To glorify God by enjoying him forever.[98][195]
To go and make new disciples of Jesus Christ.[196]
To act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.[197]
To be fruitful and multiply.[198] (Genesis 1:28)
To obtain freedom. (Romans 8:20-21)
To fill the Earth and subdue it.[198] (Genesis 1:28)
To serve mankind,[199] to prepare to meet [200] and become more like God,[201][202][203][204] to choose good over evil,[205] and have joy

Positive Motivation Tip:  Our purpose in life is to serve humanity. How we go about it is up to us.

Motivation Mondays is open to anyone who wishes to share a motivational quote, photo, personal challenge or a post that encourages others to start the week on an upbeat note.
Basic Instructions: Each week, I will have a motivation word to help us create a response. (See listed words for the months above/below)
Email address: You may email or share your post as a comment and I will add it to the round-up of related posts. email it to: contact(@)mirthandmotivation(.)com
Category tag: – Share your post using Motivation Mondays
Twitter hashtag: – Use this on Twitter #MotvnM
Dedicated Page: There is a dedicated page for Motivation Mondays. It has the same instructions and will include other helpful tools and a link to the round-up
Facebook Page: MotivationOnMondays Join our page and add your post and/or any motivational piece you think will be helpful to others.
Facebook Community: We have a Facebook community forum to compliment the page. It serves as another way to share uplifting posts and thoughts. Please join in and add your voice.

Badge: – I created a fun badge using PicMonkey’s free photo editing tools. You can create your own, use WordPress’ integrated tool on your blog or you are welcome to use mine. (see dedicated page)
Tag: – Motivation Mondays
Hashtag: – #MotvnM

Related Posts

PHOTO CREDITS/ATTRIBUTIONS: Zen Stories via Read.Goodweb,  All Photos Gauguin – Where do we come from?, Rembrandt, Hieronymous Bosch, Sanzio 01 Plato Aristotle, MARTIN John Great Day of His Wrath, The Scream, Humanism, Golden Aum, Dharma Wheel,Khanda, Yin Yang, Shinto torii, All Is Vanity, via Wikipedia and Others from my Personal Collection.

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank
Mirth and Motivation
Positive Kismet


#MotvnM, family, Happiness, inspiration, Meaning of Life, Motivation, Motivation Mondays, motivational stories, positive attitude, postaday, Purpose, value, Zen Stories

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  • Great post! In my opinion, many people (including myself) do not have a true purpose for living despite the fact that death is inevitable. Some might say their purpose is to be the CEO of this company or that company, be a great singer, or be a good parent but I don’t think these are the TRUE purposes. I think we all need to dig a bit deeper.

  • My purpose in life is to be a good mom to my boys. If I can pull that off, everything else is gravy.

  • I think many people are asking themselves what is the meaning. It is a hard question and I think changes daily.

  • Meaning of life. That is a great ponderance! Great post! I love reading your monday motivationals!

  • Thanks again for another great Motivational Monday inspirational post. We all have a purpose although sometimes I wonder what mine could possibly be.

  • That story of the Wooden Coffin is very disturbing. We do everything for our kids, even if they do not see the value of what we do for them. As parents, our kids are our purpose.

  • That coffin story is absolutely hilarious!!! I always like light-hearted fables like that which make me think 🙂

  • As the kids go back to school, my role is redefined once again. Finding the purpose behind the car pool lanes, lunch drop offs and such. Remember why I do it…for those little smiles 🙂

  • Great stuff, lots of information to process. Will have to read through a few more times. As to my purpose in life – it is to be what I define as serving my evolution as a human becoming and what Spirit calls me to do. Namaste.

  • I don’t quite know what my purpose is yet, but I think I’m getting closer! Being a mom and wife make me feel very complete!

  • omg, that wooden coffin story is so morbid! I would have thought that when we’re old and frail, our purpose in life is to simply enjoy the rest of our remaining days with our loved ones…. but filial piety is obviously not in the son’s dictionary.

  • life with purpose! Very important subject. we should know what we want to do and set up goals

  • Honestly, just like about a month ago when my children went to school and after I clean the house and do my work, I sat in a corner tweaking my mobile and read something like this: “I am singular in my calling in life. Only child to my parents and a single mother to my children. And I called it doubled WHAMMY!” …. it inculcate to my mind that…that’s me all about..that is my purpose in life to be alone and be with my parents and kids.

  • More than just living and going on about life, purpose is knowing what our specific role is, whether be in our family, community, friends, or even as a speck in the world. Realizing your purpose is actually very helpful to point your life in the right direction.

  • This post reminds me of a book that was given to me, the Purpose Driven life. Great article.

  • Lately I have also been pondering on the meaning of life since I have started to be bored at work. This post serves as a great reminder. To love more and to treasure every moment are things I should work on.

  • What is the meaning of life? Knowledge and wisdom. Friendship, peace and most importantly, love.

  • I really love your post great motivation of life, this is was caught my attention and i feel it , the meaning of life (“What is the meaning of life?” – To do good, to do the right thing
    To leave the world as a better place than you found it.)

  • I totally agree with you that our purpose is to serve humanity. I also believe that I was born into this life to raise three beautiful children and guide them to be responsible adults worthy to become parents too in their own time.

  • Ahhhhhhi was just with afew friends the other night talking about meaning and purpose!!! This subject really makes you think!

  • I love the quote on the header of this post. Purpose makes everyone strive for a better tomorrow. Thanks for sharing!

  • The stories you cited were very motivational, especially about the wooden coffin. I had a good time reading it and wondered what my purpose in life is too.

  • Wow, what a profound thing to think about on a Monday. You make a lot of great points here about purpose.

  • Wow. This is a really deep post. I’m still questioning this myself. Thank you for sharing all the differing opinions.

  • I used to not be afraid of death until I started my own family. I can’t afford that they lose me so year, I started seeing the value of life.

  • I have never heard of that coffin story before. Slightly depressing but it teaches a great lesson. There is so much to learn from our elders, isn’t there?

  • Great article! You raised a lot of good points, and I agree on how life is often geared towards the fact that you gain the most fulfillment and happiness when you are in service for others. 🙂

  • I don’t focus so much on the purpose of life because there’s one inevitable result for everyone living in this world. I’m a firm believer that life is all about the journey and the lessons and relationships you form along the the way.

  • My journey to my purpose have taken me along many different roads to gain the experience needed to fulfill it – I think i am doing that now. Thanks for this great post!

  • Mark Twain said “The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why”. We should know our purpose so we know how live a productive life.

  • I love this tip: “Our purpose in life is to serve humanity. How we go about it is up to us.” It is really up to us how we execute our purpose in life.

  • These are some good examples of what life could mean for some. My reason for living, my purpose, is to glorify God and share His great love to others who haven’t yet experienced it. It breaks my heart to see so many people lost and hurting, not knowing this great love that is theirs.

  • The story of the ‘Wooden Coffin’ is poignant and it just moved me. I remember my old father who just passed away a couple of months ago. I’m just glad that unlike the son in the story, my other siblings and I were able to serve our father until his last breath and somehow we were able to let him know that we loved him deeply.

  • Our purpose in life is indeed to serve, just like when Jesus came, He came to serve. I live my life that hoping that I’m serving God and and those He sent my way with the best that I can. I just hope others realize that too.

  • Discovering your own purpose definitely seems to give life some direction. It seems like a purpose can be either a goal or a general guide to how one makes decisions.

  • Everyone has their own thought on why they live. The purpose help to keep them survive.

  • Great food for thought. Knowing our purpose in life definitely has power. Thanks for sharing!

  • i need to be positive and set up new goals.. trust my instinct and be kind

  • That wooden coffin story kinda gave me the shivers. I would hate to think that I had outlived my usefulness to the point that my kid would want to throw me off a cliff.

  • I love this line “Our purpose in life is to serve humanity. How we go about it is up to us.” Having a purpose is important because this is what motivates us to achieve our goals.

  • I love this line “Our purpose in life is to serve humanity. How we go about it is up to us.” Having a purpose is important because this is what motivates us to achieve our goals.

  • I have yet to be immortal:
    1. Plant a Tree – ____
    2. Write a book – ____
    3. Have children – DONE!!!

    Catch my drift?=)

  • Purpose is what makes life so fulfilling! Without it, I think we’d just be zombies walking around aimlessly 🙁

  • The purpose of life is something to give great thougth to, but I do believe that we are here to serve the greater good and spread compassion.

  • I love reading the short stories you included. Very insightful and meaningful. We all need this kind of reminder that we all matter!

  • This is such a thoughtful post when i looked at the photos first my eyes were stuck at “Om” because i have been following it since my childhood. It gives such a motivation in life to go ahead. While scrolling down i was literally thinking the purpose of life and are we following it too.

  • Having a purpose in life is certainly very important as it helps to keep one motivated.

    • I agree. I think we all feel much better and more needed when we find motivation in life.

  • Sometimes, we don’t need to find purpose into our life as it would come out naturally. It’s from the things we see and the things where we can make a difference.

  • Having a purposeful life is very important for one’s spiritual and mental growth. Nice post Liz.

  • The one on the wooden coffin. It’s a little eerie and odd. Haha… But yes, everything has its own purpose and meaning!

  • The meaning of Life is to have faith in God. He who gave us life has the ability to take it away also.

  • That wooden coffin story is well um.. I don’t even know. I guess as a child you don’t really see all the love and effort your parent puts into the relationship and can become clouded. I know everything that I do is for my children, so I hope one day they see that and do the same for their children.

  • Okay the coffin story got me. Very thought provoking. I do know my true purpose here on Earth and am glad to live it each day!

  • We all have purpose in life, that’s why we are sent here to do it, just so hard that sometimes there are people who truly don’t know and end up using it in a different and wrong path.

  • very inspiring and thoughtful purpose. My purpose in life is to worship the Lord.

  • You know, this is something i have completely not figured out yet. Certainly, some things get done in stages – learning and growing up, raising the kids, caring for the ones who came before you etc etc. Yet, is this all? What is the greater purpose? Still working on it! 🙂

  • Life without a purpose is meaningless. I’m glad I was given the chance to become a mom because now I know what my life’s purpose is, and this makes every waking day special.

  • I revisited your blog and I found another purpose in life – It is to be a good example not only to my kids but to the women out there who have been abandoned by their husbands. It is not easy to be a single mom, but do not lose hope that someday, someone will come along. I did wait, and my prince did come to rescue this damsel in distress.

  • Purpose… It’s something that some people look all throughout their lives. Some have known it all along! ^_^

  • To become the best version of yourself – I believe this is the core of everything. Everything else follows when you become the best version of yourself. 🙂

  • Purpose in life, it’s something we need to search for at the soonest possible time. Once you’ve found it, life will be a breeze!

  • Revisiting your site. I feel I am being taken for granted by my sons. They would rather spend time with their girlfriends rather than with me, even if I am sick, they still leave. Now I ask myself… what is my purpose?

    • So sorry that I am just finally catching up on posts moderation here. Your purpose is to let them know how you feel and then love them anyway. Our kids are our toughest teachers and a true test on the meaning of unconditional love!

  • It seems the older I get the more purpose I have in life. God and family are most important on my list.

  • My purpose in life is something that I ponder often!! I love what you said about being the best version of you!!

  • So I was thinking now, what’s God’s purpose of giving us problems regarding our wedding. When everything was planned and set, the housing problem came so we had to call the wedding off. I know there’s a bigger purpose for this.

  • Interesting thoughts on a lot of interesting topics for sure. I tend to base my theories on life and how I live it on the teaching of my faith but it can be good to find inspiration and motivation around us as well.

  • I am questioning myself now what my purpose in life is. I have to sit down and think about it.

  • The story of the wooden coffin is very sad. :/
    But it shows us how big our parents’ love is for us… Despite knowing what his son will do to him, he actually thought of his son’s kids.

  • There are times when we just live life without a distinct purpose. Some even find our the purpose in the later part of life. But when we try to distinguish why we live or who we live for, it automatically becomes a purpose which reflects our priorities.

  • Sometimes I wonder what is the real purpose of my life. But as I look at my son and my mother who needs me so much, I know my purpose is them. They need me more than anyone.

  • Everything has a purpose sometimes it’s not easy to understand but eventually we can see the purpose

  • It’s very important that we know our life’s purpose. This reminds me of the purpose driven life by Rick Warren . 🙂

  • We have different purposes when we walk this earth. Being a blessing to others is one which I hope I can be 🙂

  • I think my purpose in life is to be of service to my family, to love them unconditionally. Also to be able to inspire others. 🙂

  • Just as what the bible says, the greatest commandment is “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.” And the second is ‘”Love your neighbor as yourself.” These has been the purpose of why I am living.

  • As usual, you made another brilliant post. A lot of us people go through life without really knowing or understanding our purpose. We just exist. And perhaps that makes life quite empty, if you come to think of it.

  • a great read to start my day! Thanks so much for this very inspirational post!

  • Before, I was reading the Purpose Driven Life. Some said, after reading the book, you will be able to determine your purpose in life. Until now I haven’t finished reading the book.

  • Thank you for another inspiring post, Eliz! Everyone have a purpose in life and its all up to them to achieved that purpose and be guided in right path. Have great day, Eliz

  • I always find myself thinking this- I would not want to die because what will happen to my children. Seems like when I got them, they were my purpose 🙂

  • I really love reading your posts, you always have such unique view points and such awesome quotes to inspire me… Thank you for being you.

  • I thought the purpose of life was the one with the most skittles WINS? BWAH HA HA HA HA HA! I just had to be cheeky I can’t help it!

  • Wow! Life is really meaningful, Remember, You only live once. 🙂

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