When [what you are deeply passionate about, what you can be best in the world at and what drives your economic engine] come together, not only does your work move toward greatness, but so does your life. For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work. Perhaps, then, you might gain that rare tranquility that comes from knowing that you've had a hand in creating something of intrinsic excellence that makes a contribution. Indeed, you might even gain that deepest of all satisfactions: knowing that your short time here on this earth has been well spent, and that it mattered.
James C. Collins
What would you love to achieve and accomplish? What would you feel great about doing in your life? What meaningful goals would you wish to reach? Imagine achieving and accomplishing everything that you would wish [dream] for. Picture yourself reaching your highest aspirations and your most meaningful goals. Visualize yourself speaking and acting the way you would wish with the highest and best character traits.
Everybody knows how awful the world is and each person distorts it in a certain way that enables him to get through. Some people distort it with religious things, others with sports, money, love, art, and they all have their own nonsense about what makes it meaningful, and all but nothing makes it meaningful. These things definitely serve a certain function, but in the end they all fail to give life meaning and everyone goes to his grave in a meaningless way.
On an individual and corporate level the church is learning to love and accept people where they are at on their journey along with providing opportunities and experiences for them to engage relationally with other Christians along with exploring the implications of Christ's teachings. I am a big proponent of the concept that Christianity is more 'caught that taught' and that a person's meaningful involvement in the process is critical to them experiencing the power of the gospel in their lives. This meaningful involvement takes time and persevering love.
So if this were a normal book about a girl with leukemia, I would probably talk a shitload about all the meaningful things Rachel had to say as she got sicker and sicker, and also probably we would fall in love and have some incredibly fulfilling romantic thing and she would die in my arms. But I don't feel like lying to you. She didn't have meaningful things to say, and we definitely didn't fall in love. She seemed less pissed with me after my stupid outburst, but she basically just went from irritable to quiet.
I'm not really putting this very well. My point is this: This book contains precisely zero Important Life Lessons, or Little-Known Facts About Love, or sappy tear-jerking Moments When We Knew We Had Left Our Childhood Behind for Good, or whatever. And, unlike most books in which a girl gets cancer, there are definitely no sugary paradoxical single-sentence-paragraphs that you're supposed to think are deep because they're in italics. Do you know what I'm talking about? I'm talking about sentences like this: The cancer had taken her eyeballs, yet she saw the world with more clarity than ever before. Barf. Forget it. For me personally, things are in no way more meaningful because I got to know Rachel before she died. If anything, things are less meaningful. All right?
When does a job feel meaningful? Whenever it allows us to generate delight or reduce suffering in others. Though we are often taught to think of ourselves as inherently selfish, the longing to act meaningfully in our work seems just as stubborn a part of our make-up as our appetite for status or money. It is because we are meaning-focused animals rather than simply materialistic ones that we can reasonably contemplate surrendering security for a career helping to bring drinking water to rural Malawi or might quit a job in consumer goods for one in cardiac nursing, aware that when it comes to improving the human condition a well-controlled defibrillator has the edge over even the finest biscuit. But we should be wary of restricting the idea of meaningful work too tightly, of focusing only on the doctors, the nuns of Kolkata or the Old Masters. There can be less exalted ways to contribute to the furtherance of the collective good... An endeavor endowed with meaning may appear meaningful only when it proceeds briskly in the hands of a restricted number of actors and therefore where particular workers can make an imaginative connection between what they have done with their working days and their impact upon others.
Alain de Botton