Most good novel and movie plots are based on the main character fighting overwhelming obstacles, nearly to his death, to accomplish some great, overriding purpose. We love to see the hero achieve the goal to which they have so fully committed themselves. We're happy when they save their child from the evil stepfather, or save the world from tyrants, meteors, or alien beings. We thrill to see the underdog defeat his arch rival for the championship, or the girl find the man of her dreams even though she hated him at the beginning.
Each hero has a main overriding purpose that drives her past every obstacle, no matter how difficult, to achieve her desired end. Contrast that vision with one where lines of beaten down 9 to 5 workers march with slumped shoulders, arms hanging limply to their sides. Each expressionless automaton waits in line to drop their card into the time clock and plop glumly into their chair in an endless row of cubicles. With which figure do you most relate to - the movie hero or the blank 9 to 5 worker?
I suspect that your life falls somewhere between these two exaggerations. The main difference between these two scenarios is that the movie heroes let nothing stop them because they believe that their purpose is so important that they MUST achieve it—a sense of mission. The 9-to-5'ers just need to show up, do their small, unimportant tasks, and go home. They live to leave their work.
Those who MUST accomplish their end know that their task is so important that they can't let anything stop them! They have a higher purpose–significance. The key to great achievement is finding that higher purpose–the sense that what we are doing is so important it MUST be done.
For those of us with families, our greatest significance comes from our work in our families. As we raise our children, we are making our greatest contribution to society. Fathers and mothers teach, nurture and mold our society one child at a time.
That said, we can also find wonderful significance through our work and our contributions to our communities. Say you work as an insurance agent. How do you view your purpose? Do you sell insurance, or do you serve others by protecting their property and helping them feel secure that their loved ones will be cared for after they're gone.
Do you work in order to pay your bills, or to build wealth? For each of your goals and tasks, find the higher purpose. Why are you really after them? Make a list. Who is counting on you to accomplish them? Are your reasons strong enough to make you move past any obstacles in your path? Do you feel you MUST achieve?
In your work, think often about your consumer. How will their lives improve because of your work? Do you believe in your product or service? If you cannot see significance in your work you can either change your career or find your higher purpose in activities outside of work. Discover ways to find your significance through volunteer service opportunities. Your community needs you.
What will make you act with the same passion as your favorite movie hero? What higher purpose will drive you to your goals?