If you have seen the movie Gladiator, you may recognize this above quote. General Maximus is addressing his troops as they prepare to do battle. He is suggesting that though they may perish in battle their accomplishments for the greater good will justify their loss. I imagine many times we feel our lives are a bit of a battle. What does it all mean? What is it all for? Approaching the subject of the purpose of life is a bit tricky. I don’t profess to be an expert in the afterlife, religion or any derivation thereof. What I do know is that our perspective drives our reality.
People say that hindsight is 20/20, meaning things become clear once a given situation has played out. I don’t know about you, but I do not plan to live with intentions of looking back on my life. Who knows if that is even possible? Regardless of your personal beliefs about the afterlife, there is an important message in this movie quote. For me, it is all about perspective. Will we live mired in the muck of daily existence, with no real purpose? Or will we find ways to make life meaningful, even in the minutia?
I can hear someone out there saying, “Dr. Scott, you don’t understand how unbelievably hectic and full of minutia my life is! I don’t have time to…” It is true, our lives are inevitably full. But full of what? I would argue most of us would admit our lives are full of stuff, clutter and things. The vast majority of these things have little to do with our purpose. These things do not echo with importance in eternity.
I remember moving from New York to Pennsylvania. I spent a solid week preparing to move, most of which revolved around simply unearthing my possessions. There were boxes and piles of things in every closet, nook and cranny in my house. Multiple times, I looked around in utter disbelief. How could I have this much stuff? Where did it all come from and most importantly WHY had I accumulated so much?
I did some donating, selling and disposing but I still ended up with a 16 foot moving truck full of things. “The things you own, end up owning you.” Can we agree that our things have no eternal value? They leave no legacy, nor do they enhance the lives of our loved ones. They simply add clutter to an already busy life.
Possessions aren’t the only things that hinder our inner gladiator. We allow the actions of others to seriously effect our time here on earth. Remember, if something out of your control occupies your mental or physical energy, that energy is wasted. Can you control the weather? Than stop worrying about it. Can you change the evening news? Than don’t let it upset you (or even better – don’t watch). Can you make the guy ahead of you drive more like a human and less like a buffoon? Than slow down and take a deep breath.
Someone will argue that “I can’t help it, I’m just a worrier.” I will admit that some folks are naturally more likely to be hindered by things out of their control.
I will suggest a radical concept. Change.
It takes time, in some cases a lot of time. But it is worth the growing pains. We really underestimate our own potential and power. If you truly want a more purposeful life, it is something that requires work. It takes some discipline, but it is possible. And the results are a clearly defined purpose. This clarifies our perspective and shapes the beliefs we have about life.
What I ask of you is to seek out and define your purpose and perspective. Why? So you can leave a legacy and help make your current community and world a little better. I want you to find something the world will echo about. How? Simplify. De-clutter. Donate. Have a yard sale. With less obstruction in your life, your purpose will have room to grow and develop in your mind. You’ll begin to realize that just because the TV has convinced a lot of people they need the latest gadget, you do not. In fact, it’s a waste of your resources.
A final note on what this month’s topic has to do with health. Why does a wellness chiropractor care about the meaning of life? It is my wholehearted belief that part of my job is to help individuals and families in this community reach their full potential. I know that if they are healthier, they can collectively be more effective in fulfilling their purpose and improving the world. How effective can you be if you or your loved ones are chronically sick and tired or in debilitating pain? That is why I am so passionate about what I do. No matter what we believe happens after we pass, I believe it is our obligation to use our time here in a meaningful way. And I am here to help.
Yours in Health,