Ownership is Bondage

Slavery - Ownership is BondageSlavery: Alive and Well in America

They say that slavery was abolished after the Civil War. But I say that slavery is alive and well in America today. Who are these slaves? What do they look like and where do they live? Most important of all, are you one of them?

Today I’m going to explore the idea that Ownership is Bondage. Many of us have become slaves – slaves to our stuff. We think we are wealthy and free when we own a lot of stuff. My contention is that just the opposite is true. Our stuff owns us! We become slaves to our stuff. Ownership is not freedom. Ownership is Bondage!

What is Slavery?

What is slavery anyway? Slavery is being under the control of another person or thing. It is having your liberty taken away. It is being in bondage. It is being dictated how you should spend your time and money. It is taking away your ability to make choices and the freedom to do the things you wish to do. It is the suppression of the human will. That’s what slavery is.

Many years ago the slave ships sailed to the coasts of Africa where the slave traders ran through the jungles capturing the natives, binding them in chains, and forcing them into servitude. Today we are pursued on TV, the radio, and in the newspapers. The slave traders come at us from every direction, luring us with their bait – stuff! And guess what, we willingly put our hands and feet in the shackles and count it a great privilege to do so.

You think I’m joking! “Surely this can’t be true,” you say. Let me illustrate:

Of Slavery and Bondage – Lake Powell

I have a neighbor who is very wealthy. We’re talking millions of dollars here. This person has a huge home. It is so big that when they built it I thought they were building an apartment complex. The family owns a lot of things; boats and snowmobiles and many other fun things.

One thing they own is a houseboat on Lake Powell. I had the opportunity several years ago to be invited with a group of young people to spend a few days at Lake Powell on their houseboat. This wasn’t just any houseboat, but a huge beautiful houseboat. Not only was there a houseboat but a water ski boat and several jet skis.

During the several days we were there I had the opportunity to observe this friend of mine, the one who owned it all. When we got to Lake Powell the houseboat wouldn’t start. The batteries were dead. So my friend had to make a number of phone calls to get the right people there to take care of the problem.

Finally he got the houseboat started and we got it out to the beach where we were to stay the few days we were there. He got everyone together and gave out a long list of rules about the usage of his things. Now it was very generous of him to let us all come on this trip and use his houseboat and ski boat and jet skis. But I noticed that he was stressed the whole time we were there, worrying about every little thing.

The teenagers would take these jet skis out on the lake and when they would come back they would come right up to shore and my friend would yell at them and tell them to get away from the sand, watch out for the rocks, don’t suck sand into the engine and on and on. He pretty much chewed them out for not taking proper care of his things. One of the jet skis quit working so he had to tow it in to the shop at the marina so it could be fixed.

Literally the whole time we were there he was dealing with one issue and problem after another. To watch this friend of mine and what he went through on that trip was very interesting to me. He seemed like he was stressed the whole time dealing with all the problems and issues related to his stuff. Honestly, he couldn’t have had any fun!

Of Slavery and Bondage – The Cabin

I have another friend whose family decided it would be a great thing to own a cabin. So they bought a cabin up in the mountains. It’s two or three hours away from where they live. I suppose it’s a great thing to have a cabin but what I’ve noticed is that he’s never around. Whenever I ask his wife where he is she always tells me he’s up at the cabin. Either he’s fixing the plumbing or painting or doing some other repairs. He’s constantly up there working on that cabin. I wouldn’t be surprised if he spends more time working on that cabin than he spends enjoying it! I think to myself, “For Pete’s sake, you can rent a cabin and then when you’re done you give the keys back and you don’t have to deal with it any more.”

Of Slavery and Bondage – The Swimming Pool

Well let’s not leave me out of the bad example section. I remember a few years ago when my kids were young and we were at the store. I saw one of those do-it-yourself swimming pools that you set up in your back yard. You’ve probably seen them, the kind that are three feet high and fifteen feet in diameter. My wife and I looked at the pool and thought, you know, for a $150 it would be great to have a swimming pool in the back yard. You could come home from work and go out there and take a dip in the pool. The kids could have so much fun. So we splurged and bought the $150 pool.

I remember we bought the pool on a Saturday afternoon. We thought we would just go home and set up the pool and be swimming by that evening and it would be great. So we get home and take the pool out of the box and spread out all the parts. We start going through the instructions and begin to realize that, “Wow, this thing is going to be really difficult to put up!”

First of all you have to have an exactly level ground, fifteen feet in diameter. I also didn’t realize that you can’t just set it up on the lawn. You have to dig out the grass and create this huge hole that is perfectly level. It took me hours and hours to dig out the sod and dig the dirt out to make it level.

Then there were so many pieces to that pool! After hours of work I finally had the pool set up. It was 9:00 o’clock at night. Now I had to fill the pool with water. I had all my garden hoses going and it still took forever to fill it. Of course we didn’t get to swim in it that day.

So we get the pool set up and filled with water and finally we can swim in it. That lasts for about a day. Guess what, you don’t just fill it up and swim for the rest of the summer. No way! Now you have to maintain the thing. It takes about 10 minutes of kids swimming in it before the thing is filthy with grass and dirt and leaves.

Now we get to buy filters and chemicals for the constant battle to keep it clean! Now who do you think gets to take care of that pool? That’s right, me! I’m the one who had to test the chlorination and the PH balance every day. I was amazed at how fast that pool would turn green and the moss would begin growing. It was horrible to maintain. I had to buy a special pool vacuum that you hook to your garden hose to suck up all the leaves. We had to buy a pool cover to keep all the leaves from flying in. We had to buy a special solar blanket to heat the water. When the kids ripped the liner we had to buy a new one for $50.00. We had to constantly buy more chemicals and filters. Finally the pool would get so bad that you just couldn’t clean the water anymore. So I had to drain the whole thing, scrub it all out, refill it with water, and put more chemicals in.

Do you think that I ever got to swim in that thing? Hah, hardly ever! The kids swam in it all the time. My time was always spent taking care of the pool. It was a nightmare! It got to be where I hated that swimming pool. Yes, I swam in it a few times and it was fun, but boy, was it worth it? How cheap is it to get a season pass at the local swimming pool or the local water park and let someone else deal with all that?

Of Freedom and Independence – Simple Wealth

I have another friend I would like to tell you about. This other friend has an equally large amount of money as the first person I told you about. But this friend has chosen a different lifestyle. To look at his house, his car and the way he lives, you would never know that he was wealthy. He has a nice, beautiful home, but it’s a normal size. It’s a regular home just like everyone else along his street. He drives a seven-year-old car. He could literally drive any car in existence and pay cash and yet he chooses to drive this vehicle because he’s content. He doesn’t need anything more. He’s not out to show anybody anything.

What he has is freedom. He doesn’t own tons of things such as the boats and toys that other people have to deal with. He lives a simple life. Yet he has the freedom to go and do what he pleases. I also know, and am one of the few people who know, that he has helped numerous people and family members by doing simple little charity acts like paying off the mortgage on their homes. He gets great satisfaction by doing these kinds of things. He also gets great satisfaction out of living a simple life because what it gives him is freedom.

Of Freedom and Independence – The Simple Life

Now I’m not an enormously wealthy person. I don’t have millions of dollars in the bank. But I also have chosen to live a simple lifestyle and have chosen to live well below my means. I’ve been able to get to the point of being completely out of debt. My home is paid off. I own nothing on my vehicles. In fact I don’t owe anybody anything. Everything I have I own free and clear. There is a very satisfying feeling to that. It’s a feeling of freedom. If I were to lose my source of income tomorrow I could live for a long time because I don’t have many expenses. I don’t have the latest and greatest of everything and I don’t need it. The cars I have are a number of years old but they are great. They are nice looking. They start up and take me where I want to go in comfort. They have power windows. They have air conditioning. They have CD players. Really, what more do you need?

Living simply has given me the freedom to take my wife and family many places and experience many things.

What You Own, Owns You

When you start to think about the stuff you own, ask yourself this question, “Do you own it or does it own YOU?” You’ve perhaps heard of the term “golden handcuffs.” I think it might apply here.

Let’s use the example of owning a boat. First of all, once you own a boat you feel obligated to use it. You paid all that money for it and now you have to get your money’s worth out of it. So every vacation now has to be a boating vacation.

Then you have to store the boat. You either have to park it right in front of your house in the driveway or pour a big cement pad on the side of your house to park it or you keep it in a storage unit somewhere.

Then you have to register it every year and you also have to insure it. Whenever you use the boat you have to pay the marina fees to launch it at the lake. Then is consumes a huge amount of fuel. Then when you’re done you have to obsessively wash the boat. Haven’t you noticed that with boat owners? Every boat owner I know seems to be obsessed with wiping every water spot off their boat and shining it up.

It’s often been said that the two happiest days of a person’s life are the day they bought their boat and the day they sold it.

Of Human Bondage

I have a very wealthy aunt and uncle who have an abundance of possessions. They have homes and condos all over the place. They own a number of businesses. They have very nice cars and motor homes. Lots of stuff! One day my uncle took me aside and said to me, “You know Gary, I would love to just sell everything I have and live in a small home and not have to deal with it all.” What an interesting and telling comment from a very wealthy person. I remember when he told me that I was thinking, “Is this what being wealthy is all about?” What a pain!

Can We Still Have Fun?

So what does this all mean? Can we still have fun? Can we still go boating or are we supposed to live a frugal, meager life? Let’s address these questions.

Yes, you can still have fun. You can still go boating. You can still go to Lake Powell. You can still go water skiing. You can still enjoy the fun things of life. You just don’t have to own them! Here’s an example of what you can do:

For my wife’s 40th birthday we decided we were going to go to the lake and go boating. So for about $150.00 I rented two jet skies. We went and picked them up. I signed some papers and off we went to the lake. We had a day of fun. We rode them all day. When we were done we filled them up with gas, wiped them down a bit, took them back to the rental place and handed them the keys and we were done! Maybe $150.00 sounds like a lot of money for one day but I don’t have to store those things. I don’t have to insure them. I don’t have to maintain them. And I don’t have to feel obligated to go boating all the time to justify the enormous cost of buying the dumb things! I return them and I’m done with it. Somebody else can store them and maintain them.

So for my next outing I may want to rent a water-ski boat, or 4-wheelers or snowmobiles or a motor home or a cabin. You can rent all these things! And when you are done you just hand over the keys and someone else has to deal with it. So, yes, you can still have fun but without all the hassle.

Imagine a Life…

Imagine a life where you live simply, where you don’t owe anything to anyone, where you don’t have huge amounts of stuff to take care of. Imagine a life where you can come and go as you please. Imagine having the freedom to pay cash for things. Imagine the freedom from storing, fixing, insuring, registering and keeping track of loads of stuff. Imagine leaving a smaller footprint on this precious planet of ours.

Treasures on Earth, Treasures in Heaven

Let us be mindful about what we have set our hearts on. Let us be careful of how closely we get tied to the things we own. Are they so important? It’s nice to have a home and I really love the home I’m in, but we have to be careful that we don’t get so tied to things that they become a part of us. We aren’t our things. They are just things.

Someday we are going to die and somebody else is going to be living in that house and somebody else is going to be driving that car and it’s not going to matter. What matters is what kind of legacy you have left in this life. What have you done to make this world a better place? The purpose of this life is not to amass great amounts of stuff.

There is a story in the Bible that tells it best. It is found in Luke, chapter 12:

15 And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.
16 And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully:
17 And he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits?
18 And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods.
19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.
20 But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?
21 So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

So what is the meaning of this life? Is it to amass possessions? I don’t think so. I think about Hurricane Katrina and other disasters that have occurred over the last few years. Invariably they will interview someone on the news who has lost everything, and yet they will say, “I’m so blessed because I’ve got my family. My family was safe and everyone was accounted for. We can build another house, we can buy another car, but all that matters is that I’ve got my family.”

When all is said and done it’s your family and the people you love that matter, not the things you own. Don’t become a slave to your stuff. Remember, ownership is not freedom. Ownership is Bondage.

The Price Tags of Life

PriceTags of Life

Price tags

Everything in this life has a price tag. It’s up to you to read it correctly and decide whether you want to invest in it or not. You are the one who does the buying and selling. There are no special bargains or half-off sales. You reap all the profit or loss. Nature never fails. It always has and always will reward you for your right choices and punish you for your wrong choices.

What I’m talking about are The Price Tags of Life. What this means is that everything we do, every habit that we have, every action we perform, has a price tag attached to it. If you think about it and examine your actions and habits closely you will discover what their price tags are. We need to examine the price tags of life and see what it really costs us to do the things that we do. After we count what it costs and add up what we gain and then strike a balance, we can see if we are coming out ahead or not.

Smoking Example

There are many different examples. Let’s look at smoking. Let’s suppose you smoke. To determine whether you should or shouldn’t you need to determine what it is costing you. You take a piece of paper and draw a line down the middle from top to bottom. In the left column write down all the benefits that you gain by performing this habit. Then in the right column write down what doing this habit is costing you.

You could do this with any number of habits or behaviors. One would be getting up every day and running. One could be the improper use of drugs such as painkillers. It could be an addiction to pornography. You can take any of these things and examine them closely and write the benefits and the costs and strike a balance. It helps you see clearly the price you are paying for that particular action or habit. Then you can determine whether or not it’s worth it. Some may be obvious but it’s still good to look at it because we may not realize what it’s actually costing us.

Drug Abuse Example

For example, let’s suppose you were a person who uses painkillers improperly. So you would write on the left-hand side of the page the benefits of using the painkillers. The benefits may be that whenever you use painkillers it gives you a sense of wellbeing. It just makes you feel good all over. You feel calm inside. It takes away the pain, not only physically but emotionally. That’s what a painkiller does – it removes pain. Other benefits perhaps are when you don’t feel good or are tired or don’t feel like doing something you could take a painkiller and after a while you feel pretty good. I can’t think of any other benefits of taking painkillers but if there were more you could list them.

Now on the right side of the page you start writing down what it cost to use painkillers. First of all you jeopardize your health, knowing that the painkillers are not good for your body. They’re not good for your heart. Every time you indulge in this habit it is damaging your body. Of course there are the actual costs. Somehow or another you are either buying these painkillers or are obtaining them in some other illegal way. So you have the actual costs in money. Another cost would be the risk that you take because what you’re doing is illegal. So you’re taking a legal risk every time that you take these painkillers. Another cost is that it impairs your judgment. When you think you are thinking clearly and you think you are acting rationally you may not be because the painkillers are affecting your mental state. They are impairing your ability to reason. Another cost is that you’re putting yourself in danger when you drive a car or operate any equipment because your reaction time is impaired. Another cost is that after a while you need more of the painkillers to get the same effect. So you need something more or harder to get the same effect. It becomes an addiction and you need to increase the dosage. Another cost is that usually this kind of a habit is done in secret. Your children, your spouse and the other people around you don’t know because you go to great lengths to hide it and conceal it from them and you always have the worry of being found out. This costs you two things: one is the constant worry of being found out and two is the real cost of being found out and losing the trust and respect of those who are close to you – your loved ones, your children, your spouse, your friends.

As you go through this and add up the benefits and add up the costs and then strike a balance you can see if what you’re doing is really worth what it’s costing you. You may want to put a value or weight on each of the costs and benefits such as a scale from one to ten. Some costs may be small and some may be great. Same with the benefits, some are small in value and some are large. So put a value on it so you can more accurately see what your habit or behavior is costing you in relation to its benefits.

Exercise Example

You could do this same thing with exercising each day. The benefits would be increased health, more energy and stamina, living longer and so on. The costs would be that you have to get up early in the morning. It requires effort. It’s not enjoyable. It takes time. You list the costs and benefits and determine if it’s worth it.

Relationship Example

Another example would be a relationship that you’re in and what it’s costing you. I’ve worked with people who are in relationships that are very damaging to them, to their whole wellbeing, to their future, and yet they stay in that relationship. They give reasons like, “he’s such a good friend, he’s always there for me, he’s so understanding.” Yet this supposed good friend, this understanding friend, is using them and taking advantage of them and in some ways abusing them and yet they don’t see it. They see the small benefit they gain and yet they fail to see what it’s really costing them such as their future opportunities in life or their future happiness.

Pornography Example

Another example is when I work with individuals who have a problem with pornography. On the left side of the paper you list the benefits such as the ecstasy, the pleasure, the release of stress they get when they view pornography. Then you start adding up the costs on the right side such as the warping their sense of what a true, loving relationship should be. They risk their job. They risk going to jail if they are into child pornography. They risk losing the love and respect of their spouse, their children, their community or their church. They risk losing the things they hold dear as far as the spiritual aspects of their life such as their relationship with God, knowing that they are offending God and distancing themselves from Him. They risk affecting their ability to commune with their creator by indulging in these things that are clearly offensive to God. Other prices they pay are stealing time from work if they indulge at work. There is the cost of simply wasting hours and hours of time looking at pornography and wasting what you cold have accomplished with that time. Those are the prices you are pay.

Review the Price Tags Every Day

Once you have done this little exercise then read these two lists every night. Don’t just read it over but review and think about each item on the list. See what it’s costing you and determine in your mind if it’s worth it. Do this on a daily basis. I am aware of people who have done this and within three weeks have made startling changes. They experienced no more desire to indulge in their habit. By bringing to their mind every day what it was costing them they were able to make that mental adjustment. They gradually gained self-mastery over their habit.

So my message today is to examine your life and look at the things that you may be struggling with and examine the price tags attached to them. Count the costs and determine if the benefits are really worth it. You may be surprised what you find out. Resolutions seldom work. Promises to never do it again are rarely kept. But reading The Price Tags of Life can help you gain intelligent self –mastery and thus change the course of your life.

Thank you.

Master Yourself, Master Your Life

Copyright © 2013 Gary N. Larson

An Overpowering Mission in Life

One of the greatest tragedies in this world are those who fail to find and achieve their purpose or mission in life. This article will help you discover what your mission in life is. 

A number of years ago I took my family to ride an old-time train powered by a massive steam engine. Before that train could move, the water temperature in the boiler had to reach two hundred and twelve degrees. Water will not generate steam at two hundred degrees. Even two hundred and ten degrees will not create the steam to move a train. For water to boil and steam to be generated it must reach the temperature of two hundred and twelve degrees. Lukewarm water will not move anything.

I believe the vast majority of people in life are like the train trying to move with lukewarm water – almost boiling but never quite there. They wonder why their life is stalled, why they never seem to be able to move forward. They work hard but success seems to elude them.

The temperature difference between water that is boiling and water that is not is only a degree or two but the difference in results can be dramatic. In the same sense the difference between a person with an overpowering mission in life and someone who is merely living life can seem small but the results are without comparison.

Achievers have an overpowering mission

One of the greatest tragedies in this world are those who fail to find and achieve their purpose or mission in life. The world is full of those whose daily existence is simply working for the weekend, plugging along until retirement or simply wondering whether they are in the right place doing the right thing. They know deep down inside that something is missing, that they are not doing what they do best. We each have only one life to live. How terrible it would be to come to the end of your life and realize you did not live to your fullest God-given potential.

The greatest achievements in this world have all been made by people with an overpowering mission. Like the steam that drives a locomotive, an overpowering mission drives every life of achievement. Think about every person of great accomplishment that you know of. Is it not true that each one had an overpowering mission?

Can you imagine Michael Jordan, Steven Spielberg, Mother Teresa, Christopher Columbus, Thomas Edison, Orville and Wilbur Wright, Mozart, or Henry Ford simply working for retirement, checking off the days on their calendars for when they can sit back and relax and watch TV? Ludicrous to even think about! No, these people were driven like a screaming locomotive. They each had an overpowering mission and there was no stopping them.

“The world always steps aside for people who know where they’re going.”
– Miriam Viola Larsen

What is an overpowering mission in life?

Call it a quest, a calling, a passion, a grand purpose, or a reason for being. A mission in life isn’t something you force on yourself. It is something you discover within. You are born with it. It is coded in your DNA. It flows in your blood and is written in your heart. It is not something that is separate from you. It is as much a part of you as stripes are a part of a zebra. You cannot get away from it. It eats with you, sleeps with you, and goes wherever you are because it is a part of you.

“Many persons have a wrong idea of what constitutes true happiness. It is not attained through self-gratification but through fidelity to a worthy purpose.”
– Helen Keller

Once you find your mission your imagination is engaged and you have purpose. You have a reason for getting up in the morning. It fuses your values, beliefs, thoughts and actions into one unified force. It gives you a definition of who you are. Your mission is something that excites you, that drives you. When you are living your mission you look forward to every day. You live life with passion!

“We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about.”
– Albert Einstein

Where does an overpowering mission come from?

I believe the creation of this world was not a mistake or some grand fluke of nature. It was created for a divine purpose. It was created as a place for God to send His children to learn and to grow and to develop their gifts and talents to their fullest. Each of us were sent here with certain things to learn and certain missions to perform. I believe in a Grand Design for everything.

“I cannot believe that God would choose to play dice with the universe.”
– Albert Einstein

It is my belief that each of us has been sent to this earth with a divine mission from God and it is one of the main purposes of life to discover it and pursue it.

Do you have an overpowering mission?

When I was in my late teens I had a good friend named Paul. In fact we roomed together for a while. I liked Paul a lot but there was one thing that really bugged me about him – he knew and had always known that when he grew up he would be a doctor. It never was a question in his mind. The reason it bugged me was the fact that I had no idea at that time what I wanted to do with my life and he did. It just didn’t seem fair.

Looking back I can see I had many clues and signs back then. But I didn’t see them!

Some of us come forth from our mother’s womb knowing our mission and purpose in life. Others of us, like myself, have a long struggle before the light finally turns on and we see clearly what our overpowering mission in life is.

One of the problems many of us face is that we have suppressed and denied for so long the feelings and yearnings inside us that they no longer come with the power and force they once did.

It’s like the puppy that follows the little boy home. The boy wants the puppy in a terrible way but knows his mother will never let him have it. So he tells the puppy to go away but of course it doesn’t. He yells at it but the puppy just keeps happily following him, wagging its little tail. It’s a persistent little puppy that won’t go away no matter what the boy tries. Finally, out of frustration the little boy picks up a rock and throws it at the puppy and with a yelp it runs off. It will be a long time before that puppy tries to follow the boy home again.

Too many of us have chased off our dreams and desires for so long that they rarely come back and if they do, they are timid and weak. That doesn’t mean they aren’t real and they aren’t important. They are still there. It just may take some coaxing to get them to come out again.

How do you discover your overpowering mission?

“Know thyself, and to thine own self be true, then thou canst not be false with any man.”

There are many books and articles written on this subject. One particular book I own devotes over 150 pages with endless exercises and quizzes to help you discover your mission in life. I believe this type of introspection can be helpful but if it takes 150 pages to get you to find your mission in life, is it really an overpowering mission? I think it is much less complicated than that. There should be some rather large clues in your life and that is where you should look.

My own personal experience may be of some help to you. After I got married I began a career in the computer field. How was that chosen? My wife and my mother-in-law sat me down one day and succeeded in persuading me to go in that direction because there was good money to be made in computers. So for nineteen years of my life and over a million lines of computer code later I realized I didn’t want to spend the rest of my life doing that. But what then did I really want to do?

I began an earnest undertaking of finding out what I really should be doing with my life. A huge advantage I had was that I have kept a personal journal and have written in it nearly every day for the last 26 years of my life. So I began the rather large task of reviewing my journals from the first to the last. Frankly, I was amazed at what I found. I found over forty-three journal entries where I had expressed a deep desire to teach personal achievement, personal improvement, or personal change. My, how many times did that little dog come after me and I shooed him away or ignored him? Let me share one example from my journal, dated many years ago:

I wish I had the time each night to write down all the feelings that I have, but I never seem to have the time. I’ve been wanting to write about some ideas and aspirations I’ve been having lately, so here I go.

I like my job and it pays me very well. But sometimes I get the feeling that I have more to contribute in life besides computer programs. I sit at work each day and look at a little saying in front of my desk. It says, ‘Find out what you do best, then do it.’ I feel like I’m a good programmer and I do a good job at it. But I don’t feel that that is the thing I do best. I truly feel that I have an inborn ability to speak to people, to teach, to motivate, to give presentations to other people. The times when I have had opportunities to do this I have done very well, and most important, I have enjoyed it very much.

But how does one change from being a programmer to someone who teaches, speaks to, and motivates people? And also isn’t there a little vanity involved here? I mean, who am I to come out and say I can do these things and why do I want to do them? For the glory or recognition? I don’t want to be like that but how do you avoid it?

Plus what about my poor wife and her feelings and concerns – especially about family security? Here she thought I was all set and content in a nice career and now I’m thinking about changing. Is she going to think now that I’ll never be content at doing anything?

So, I shooed the puppy away then and every other time he came romping back into my thoughts. But he always came back. Finally I couldn’t deny it any longer. I had to pursue this powerful, overmastering desire; this mission in life.

“While goals are chosen, a purpose is discovered. Our purpose is something we have been doing all along, and will continue to do, regardless of circumstances, until the day we die.”
– Peter McWilliams

I don’t have a magic formula to give you in finding your life’s mission. I will say that it may take some deep thought, some making of lists and some review of your life thus far. For some this will be easy. For others it may take some coaxing to get the puppy to come back. Just be patient. You have the rest of your life ahead of you. You want to get it right!

“The secret of man’s being is not only to live but to have something to live for. Without a stable conception of the object of life, man would not consent to go on living.”
-The Grand Inquisitor in Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov

It’s never too late

I have run a number of marathons. Each time I do I am amazed at the number of people who are older than me who not only run marathons but beat me to the finish! I will be running along, thinking I’m doing well and then a short, stubby, seventy-year old woman passes me up! It’s incredible! Life does not end when you turn forty, or sixty or even eighty. The history books are filled with people who have accomplished great things in the latter years of their lives.

I have always liked the saying that goes:

“Did you stop doing the things you did when you were young because you are old or are you old because you stopped doing the things you did when you were young?”

Read that again if you have to. I feel there is much to be learned from that statement. I once listened to a tape by the author Dr. Wayne W. Dyer. On the tape he asked a series questions to get you to think about yourself. One of my favorite questions he asked was this, “If you didn’t know how old you were, if there was no record of your birth, how old would you be?” His point was that the idea of how old you are has more to do with your thinking than with your birth certificate.

Many adults have the impression that once they pass a certain age they can never achieve or accomplish much. They feel their opportunities are lost. I say baloney! Every day that you wake up above ground is a day of opportunity!

The person who discovers or resurrects their overpowering mission late in life should not let age or time or circumstances get in their way. No matter how long they may have been delayed from it by mistakes or missteps, they should make a solemn resolve that they will not leave this life without pursuing and accomplishing their dream.

Clues from God

Our passions, longings and desires that arise from our heart are not just vain imaginations or hopeless dreams. They are the pointers, the clues, the guides to our possibilities. They are the prophecies, predictions, and blueprints of what we may become.

The honeybee doesn’t have an instinct to gather nectar without a real flower to match it; nor has the Creator planted within us yearnings and desires and dreams for a better, fuller, life without the possibility of achieving it. There is a divine reason and purpose behind our genuine desires.

I don’t believe there is anybody anywhere in this world that can be truly happy until they have found their true passion, their true heart’s desire, their overpowering mission in life and then followed and pursued it to the ends of the earth.

Copyright © 2013 Gary N. Larson