In last week’s blog, I shared that I’d be kicking off 2022 with an experiment by answering your questions. Thank you so much to everyone who responded so positively. Please keep the questions coming. Here we go with the first question.
In a recent conversation with my young adult kids (22 and 19), I was heartbroken to hear them sum up their view of life in this way – “you go to school, then you go to Uni, then you get a job, then you work, and then you die, that’s pretty much it. So, what’s the point?”. How can I help them feel more hopeful and inspired about their future? – Angela, businesswoman and concerned mother, Sydney
Thank you for your honest and vulnerable question. Like you, I was heartbroken to hear about your kids sentiments. They are not alone. Our young people are seriously struggling right now. Many are asking that same existential question; what’s the point?
Firstly I must declare that I am no psychologist, however I have twice had direct personal experience with this very question myself. The first was in the year 2001, the second in 2010. Both times I was sad and stuck questioning the point of life and wondering if this was all there was to it. For a while I was left feeling quite helpless and hopeless.
Being a curious soul, I didn’t remain in this state for too long. The question eventually sparked a more hopeful question “What do I need to change in my life so there does become a point?” Then before I knew it, I was jumping off the precipice into uncharted territory. In 2001, it came as a divorce, a new home and a new business. In 2010, it came as a 6-month writing sabbatical in France with my son Billy who was 12 at the time. While, I don’t always recommend such radical responses to such a question, sometimes it’s essential for real growth.
Which brings me to the answer to your kids question. I suspect the point of life might just be ‘adventure’.
Even if we must do monotonous work every day to pay the bills, we must also simultaneously seek a big adventure outside of work. This adventure becomes your purpose project – a personal one or a family affair. It’s one that makes the most of your talents and passions that will have a positive impact on your community and our most precious Mother Earth. That last one ‘Mother Earth’, is most definitely another answer to that most poignant question “What’s the point?”
One day, we might find this adventure has become our work. We might discover that we’ve found our calling and that we’re happy and fulfilled in a way we never dreamed possible.
Angela, your kids are mighty smart. The very fact they’ve asked this question means they’re destined for a fine future. I know they’ll make a positive impact in the world, that they’ll have a worthy life and one that is full of adventure.
With love and purpose
PS: If you have a friend who might love this blog, please forward it to them and suggest they subscribe.
PPS: I’m currently taking bookings for keynote speaking on The Power of Purpose and my Talk on Purpose course. If you’re intrigued book a chat.