[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.
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