[November 22, 2019] There is an ancient question that continues to haunt humans. That question is, “What should we aim at in life?”1 Many philosophers have dedicated their lives to answering the question, and a mountain of sage advice has been forthcoming. I guess that we will continue exploring answers. But here is one thing I do know, you can’t hit what you don’t aim at.
Humans have a proclivity to better themselves and their families. That is a good thing too. If we recognize that we would like to move from Point A (where we are now) to Point B (to a better point later), we can take particular actions to make that destination a better point. Those actions, as I’ve written about earlier, require some level of sacrifice of what we value.
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.” – Zig Ziglar, American motivational speaker
If we are to make improvements in our lives or to give our lives meaning, then the place to start is locally. We begin with our selves because, by making us better, we will not be an unnecessary strain on others. Professor Jordan Peterson comments that we “should straighten ourselves out and do so humbly.”2
Why, then, do we say that the place to begin this journey is with our selves? Well, I think the answer is not easy, but it is simple once we realize that within us is both good and evil. To win the battle over our evil will be the most important battle we will ever fight. Many individuals will lose that battle. We can only hope they do not come across the resources to carry out their malevolence on others.
Just look at the 20th Century, and the horrors brought on by Fascism and Communism. More than100 million died as a result. This detail is no small fact. Evil can, however, manifest itself in other ways that it is not only difficult to recognize, but when we do recognize it, it is also difficult to untie ourselves from its influence.
Our first aim in life should be to get our act together. If we can manage it and do a good job, then we can maybe branch out and help make our family better. Most of us, after much struggle, can do this, but few rarely get beyond that point. A small number will and afford some success in helping make our community or nation a better place.
To answer the question, what should we be aiming at in life, must be to improve upon our selves. And, no, I’m no philosopher like some seem to think. To be a good person does, nonetheless, mean we must make our person a better person.
- Or, put another way, “What gives life meaning?”
- See YouTube video at about the 3:30 mark – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NI_tyAduoJo