Why do we need Noble Goals?

[June 9, 2022]  At first, it may be self-evident that we all need noble goals to achieve.  However, the fact that this is true doesn’t mean that we cannot leave it there.  We deserve an explanation for why we need noble goals.

“The nobler your aim, the better your life.” – Jordan Peterson

There is an old, very ancient idea that we derive meaning from our lives in proportion to the responsibility we adopt.  If we look close enough, we might be aware of this in legends, art, sport, and dramatic forms, ancient as well as modern.  Yet, that meaning is rarely formulated in our minds.  We know it when it happens – we can feel it – but our ability to articulate the idea is hard.  Stories of our heroes are where such concepts allow a bit of insight into that part of our primordial part of our mind.

We seek challenges.  We love the winner, the champion, someone who overcomes great odds to a victorious end.  It’s instinctual.  A challenge will compel us forward, it grips our interest, it serves our feelings (often in unpredictable ways), and it points us to those noble goals that await us.  This is the responsibility of being human in the most fulfilling manner.  Without the challenge and its associated responsibility, we cannot be authentic humans.

By undertaking the challenge, we wrestle with the world.  This is what makes us more than we are.  We become more of a man (or woman), a better family and community member, and valuable to those around us.  Pursuing a noble goal does not define us, per se, but shows us the way to be more than we are, the way we could be.  The old U.S. Army slogan, “be all you can be,” had it right.

What this idea is, this “feeling” is, is not happiness.  It’s something much more.  Living with a sense of responsibility is the vehicle that takes us into the future.  The highest good, therefore, demands that we act dependably, honorably, virtuously, and in support of that good.  We gain a series of positive emotions, feelings if you will, that are only obtained through the pursuit of a worthwhile goal.

Aim at that noble goal and go after it with all your might.  You will never be satisfied with yourself for not doing everything you should be doing.  We learn that the proper way to attain any such goal is to behave – an ethic.  The benefit is by not betraying your goal; you gain the most important idea we can possess … meaning in your life.

—————

Please read my new book, “Our Longest Year in Iraq,” on Amazon (link here).

Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article every day on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

25 thoughts on “Why do we need Noble Goals?

  1. osmodsann

    Wow, altho I am new here, I get what Gen. Doug Satterfield is telling us. Not only do we need noble goals (and be careful you are not misled on what a noble goal is) but we should also know why.

    Reply
  2. Eric Coda

    A much anticipated article. And, I do believe that Gen. Satterfield did answer the question, “Why do we need a noble goal?” I’d like to know more about this so I got a copy of Dr. Jordan Peterson’s book “Beyond Order.” It’s a recent book and talks to this very issue. Gen. Satterfield wrote a book review on it about a year ago.
    https://www.theleadermaker.com/reading-list-update-the-dangers-of-order/

    Reply
  3. 76 Wife

    A noble man compares and estimates himself by an idea which is higher than himself; and a mean man, by one lower than himself. The one produces aspiration; the other ambition, which is the way in which a vulgar man aspires.

    Reply
    1. 76 Wife

      I believe it was Marcus Aurelius who said that. Forgot to give him credit.

      Reply
    2. JT Patterson

      Indeed an appropriate quote. 76 Wife, well done on finding it. One of Gen. Satterfield’s points was that this idea of pursuing a noble goal is one that is very ancient. Your quote confirms it. Marcus Aurelius was a Roman emperor from 161 to 180 and a Stoic philosopher. Read more on him here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Aurelius

      Reply
      1. Laughing Monkey

        Thanks JT for the follow-up. We should know more about those who recognize the importance of understanding this idea that a noble goal (or aim) is what makes our lives worthwhile.

        Reply
  4. Dennis Mathes

    Another excellent article that made me think about myself and what I’m doing in the world.

    Reply
  5. Bernard

    He who walks in the eightfold noble path with unswerving determination is sure to reach Nirvana. So says Buddha. There needs to be a noble goal but Buddha says that the ‘path’ is also important and I think this is what Gen. Satterfield is also saying.

    Reply
  6. Harold M. Smith II

    The world is full of tragedy but it’s worth it, if we are willing to aim at something important – noble in Gen. Satterfield’s thinking – because that is how we can learn to live with ourselves. Noble means “for others.” Selfish goals don’t provide any lasting satisfaction.

    Reply
    1. Unwoke Dude

      Harold, you hit on something I think is important. Noble means for others. That is exactly right. That is the only way to have lasting appreciation of us. Not that self-serving actions are unimportant. For example, you have to take care of yourself properly or you cannot be ‘for others.’ ✔

      Reply
      1. Dead Pool Guy

        Yes, guys! I think you both nailed it. And, Gen. Satterfield has said the same thing elsewhere.

        Reply
      2. lydia truman

        Right Harold, living in the world is worth it. The nihilists would argue against it but they are just the naysayers, commie pinko nutbags that deserve to be sad all their lives. Get on the program.

        Reply
  7. Shawn C. Stolarz

    “Aim at that noble goal and go after it with all your might. You will never be satisfied with yourself for not doing everything you should be doing.” – Gen. Doug Satterfield
    WISDOM

    Reply
  8. Jonnie the Bart

    Nice ending to this two-part series. Honestly, I’d like to read more on this topic from Gen. Satterfield. I’m sure I could gain a bit more ‘feeling’ for what he is trying to communciate.

    Reply
  9. Max Foster

    Gen. Satterfield, you’ve written a great article here but just a couple of comments.
    1. You needed more space to make sure you get your main points across. Too short. Consider adding to the length to strengthen your arguments. Some people are just too mentally limited to get it.
    2. I’m not so sure you need more background material. Supply it and #1 about is more important.
    Thanks for answering the basic question, ‘Why do we need noble goals?’

    Reply
      1. North of Austin

        Not to worry Jerome. That is what pushing ourselves to THINK more, write more, and read more is all about. I too have difficulty with some of these articles and today’s is just another example. Hang in there.

        Reply
    1. catorenasci

      Good comment Max. I too, like many, would like to know more.

      Reply
    1. mainer22

      Yes, I agree Georgie. Wow, first to comment today, well done!

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.