“If they made a movie about you achieving your goals, would it be meaningful? If not, choose different goals.”
I have thought recently that I am on the path to choosing my goals based on their meaningfulness. My ideas are fairly altruistic – I believe the “social gospel” really IS a major part of being a Christian. God’s heart is for justice, mercy, humility, and love. Part of being a Christian is translating these ideals into more prevalent realities in the world at large.
But this tweet from Donald Miller caught me off guard. One of my “bigger” personal goals in life is to become a professor (probably of theology).
|Me, explaining my theory of relativity (you may have heard of it?). |
Yes, I need a shave, but some things are just more important, ya know?
But believe it or not, I’ve never really stopped to consider why I want to be a professor – I just always liked the idea and believed I would enjoy the day-to-day working aspect of it. And there is meaning in that. I know people sometimes “gotta do what they gotta do”; but normally, I don’t think people should slave their whole lives away at a job they truly dislike. We only get one go ‘round; we might as well spend it doing as many things as possible that make the journey more pleasant.
There is meaning in that.
But I think there is more meaning in things that enrich not only my life, but others’ lives as well.
I believe in education. As people broaden their horizons and meet more people and experience new cultures, they realize we are all related. Education (with as little militaristic agenda as possible) should spark some sort of solidarity between all people (and, in fact, all life), therefore engendering benevolence and promoting communication and understanding. Human relations, individually and corporately, benefit from education. So that is another reason there is meaning in my professorial goal. In fact, I think it forms the basis of even greater meaning in what I plan to do.
You see, a professor has the advantage of being a lot further along in the educational process than his or her students. I will have already been reshaped by it in some ways, and open to being reshaped even more. I will come from the perspective of understanding probably just a little better than many of my students how humanity in all its diversity functions more beautifully as a whole.
The older I get, and the more I pay attention to differing viewpoints from my own, the more my own values grow in definition. Even though I never thought through and articulated it before, my goal of becoming a professor has meaning. It has meaning because my students will inevitably be influenced by my own experiences. The things I teach them will come from my personal growth in understanding. If I can promote through education the qualities of humanity I value…the qualities I believe God values…then I will indeed be doing something meaningful (note: by this I do not mean to advocate for indoctrination through education; just to state that I believe the qualities generally looked on as “good” are the same qualities God thinks are good).
And what an added bonus if I happen to enjoy it, too!
Do you think it is wise to stop every now and then and consider the meaningfulness of your goals?