Work and Purpose

Work and Purpose

* Hope folks enjoy this little collection!

“To find our calling is to find the intersection between our own deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger.” – Frederick Buechner

“When you follow your bliss…doors will open where you would not have thought there would be doors & where there wouldn’t be a door for anyone else.”  Joseph Campbell, US folklorist & expert on mythology (1904 – 1987)

“This is the true joy in life – the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one. The being a force of nature, instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy. I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die. For the harder I work, the more I live. I rejoice in life for its own sake. Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch I’ve got to hold up for the moment and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it to future generations.”  George Bernard Shaw

In An Enemy of the People, Ibsen defined work as “the creation of good on earth.”

“Two centuries of philosophers stand in opposition to the modern American recipe for happiness and fulfillment. You can’t buy your way in. You can’t amuse yourself in. You can’t even expect falling in love to deliver you. The most promising way to happiness is, perhaps, through creativity, through literally creating a fulfilling life for yourself by identifying some unique talent or passion and devoting a good part of your energy to it, forever.” ~ Kalle Lasn/Bruce Grierson in Utne Reader

“The return from your work must be the satisfaction that work brings you and the world’s need of that work. With this, life is heaven, or as near heaven as you can get.” – W.E.B. DuBois

“In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame, even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear not change or accident.” Henry David Thoreau

“The secret of life is to have a task, something you devote your entire life to, something you bring everything to, every minute of the day for your whole life. And the most important thing is — it must be something you cannot possibly do.” – Henry Moore, sculptor

“There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open… [There is] no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a queer divine dissatisfaction, a blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.” – Martha Graham to Agnes de Mille, from Dance to the Piper - quoted in Blessed Unrest – How the Largest Movement in the World Came into Being & Why No One Saw it Coming, by Paul Hawken <Page 9 & in the Notes>

“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” ~ Harold Whitman

“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

“Success, like happiness, cannot be pursued. It must ensue. And it only does so as the unintended side effect of one’s personal dedication to a cause greater than oneself.” ~ Viktor Frankl  [more quotes on success]

“Everyone has the power of greatness; not for fame, but greatness. Because greatness is determined by service.” – Dr. Martin Luther King, 1929-1968 [more MLK quotes here ]

“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.”  – Albert Einstein (1879 – 1955), German-born American physicist [more Einstein quotes here ]

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” – poet Mary Oliver

"Let yourself be drawn by the stronger pull of what you really love." – Rumi, 13th-century Persian poet & Sufi mystic

“Be patient.

Respond to every call

that excites your spirit.

Ignore those that make you fearful

and sad, that degrade you

back toward disease and death.” – Rumi