What do you want most out of your life? What do you want to accomplish? What do you feel is your purpose?
If you're like me, sometimes you don't know the answers to these questions. However, the answer to these questions very well may be the same for me as they are for you and the answer is profoundly simple. So simple that it can seem almost stupid. For me, I want to be happy. I believe that happiness is what we all seek and is the end all motivator. Happiness just comes in different forms for all of us.
To understand this let's take a small detour here and discuss one of my interests, theology. Within theology there exist proofs for the existence of God, one of which is the Cosmological argument. Many times in life we may ask, what caused a certain event to occur. The answer may very well be followed by the succeeding question, "what caused that to cause that?" The regression of causality can be quite lengthy but is it infinite? The Cosmological argument holds that there is not an infinite regression of causality but there is eventually an uncaused cause, which is God. God caused the universe to be created and subsequentially everything else. While I may not fully like this argument for the existence of God, it did provide the framework for the following line of thought.
Could the Cosmological argument for the existence of God provide the same framework for motivation? If there is an end all causer, is there also an end all motivator? While talking to a friend the other day I asked her what her goals were in life. One of her responses was to get a job. I asked her why she wanted to get a job to which she responded so she could make money. Well why did she want money? So she could travel with her family. Why does she want to travel with her family? Because she enjoys that activity. That was as far as I went with the questioning but within those few questions we arrived at a sufficient enough answer for the time being.
The girl who I was talking to had other goals in life and if I had taken the same line of questioning for those goals, I would have eventually ended up at a similar point. It would have been something to the note of "I enjoy it", "I like it", "It's fun.", "it makes me feel good", and etc. All of these basically boil down to being happy and maximizing such happiness.
The other day at church we were talking about our purpose in life. Many spoke of how their goal in life was to be obedient, become like Christ, get married and start a family, stay on the straight and narrow, and etc. All very good answers but yet I felt they all missed the point. While these are all noble purposes, none of these would be our goals if it didn't provide us with an instrinsic sense of worth and happiness. If becoming like Christ made us miserable, would we really want to be like Christ? Probably not. Now that I feel sufficiently blasphemous let me attempt to back this up with some scriptures and quotes.
In the topical guide under the topic Happiness it says:
"Heavenly Father desires that we find true, lasting happiness. Our happiness is the design of all the blessings He gives us—gospel teachings, commandments, priesthood ordinances, family relationships, prophets, temples, the beauties of creation, and even the opportunity to experience adversity. His plan for our salvation is often called “the great plan of happiness” (Alma 42:8). He sent His Beloved Son to carry out the Atonement so we can be happy in this life and receive a fulness of joy in the eternities."
Also in the Book of Mormon it states, "...men are that they might have joy" -2 Ne 2:25
This answer to the purpose of life is not very satisfying. It leaves us with almost a sense of disappointment that it is not something greater. But what greater thing could we ask for?
Now the question is what makes you happy and how will you find and maximize happiness? I hope to address this in a later blog post but as I am finding out the path to happiness is not quite as simple as deriving our purpose.