The Key to a Life that Matters

There’s a secret to filling the pages of your life.

It’s not hard to decipher, but sometimes it takes a little practice.

Take me, for example. Back in 1976, I received a gift from Eileen Beavers, who was my assistant at that time. As I unwrapped it, I saw it was a book with the intriguing title, The Greatest Story Ever Told. I couldn’t wait to read it.

But when I opened it, I was shocked: The pages were blank.

Inside was a note from Eileen that said, “John, your life is before you. Fill these pages with kind acts, good thoughts and matters of your heart. Write a great story with your life.”

I still remember the excitement and anticipation that surged through me when I read her words. For the first time it made me think about how I was the author of my life, and I could fill every “page” with whatever I wanted. It made me want to be significant. It inspired me to do whatever I could to make my life matter.

So what’s the secret to filling the pages of your life? What’s the key to a life that matters?

The Key to a life that matters is living each day with intentionality.

When you live each day with intentionality, there’s almost no limit to what you can do. You can transform yourself, your family, your community and your nation. When enough people do that, they can change the world. When you intentionally use your everyday life to bring about positive change in the lives of others, you begin to live a life that matters.

This post is for anyone who has ever dared to ask themselves, “Do I matter?” This post is for you, if you’ve ever needed a systematic approach to creating meaning in your life, so that you can bridge the gap between the life you’re living now and a life of significance that leaves no doubt in your mind: You’re making a difference.

Most people want to hear or tell a good story. But they don’t realize they themselves can and should be the good story. That requires intentional living. It is the bridge that crosses the gap to a life that matters.

When unintentional people see the wrongs of the world they say, “Something should be done about that.” They see or hear a story and they react to it emotionally, and intellectually. But they go no further.

People who live intentionally jump in and live the story themselves. The words of physicist Albert Einstein motivate them: “The world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

Why do so many people do nothing? I think it’s because most of us look at the evils and injustice around us and we become overwhelmed. The problems look too big for us to tackle. We say to ourselves, “What can I do? I’m just one person.”

The thing is, one person is a big start. One person can act and make a change by helping another. One person can inspire a second person to be intentional, and then another. Those people can work together. They can become a movement. They can make an impact. We should never let what we cannot do keep us from doing what we can do. A passive life does not become a meaningful life.

Are you ready to discover the meaning in your life?

If your story isn’t as meaningful or significant or compelling as you want it to be, you can change it. You can begin writing a new story, beginning today. Don’t settle for merely being a teller of stories about significance. Decide to be the story of significance. Become the central character in your story of making a difference!

This week, my new book Intentional Living has been released. I’m excited because it’s my most personal book yet; in it, I share my own story of significance and teach you how to make your own life matter. 

In today’s comments, why don’t you tell me about one way that you would like to change the story that you’ve been living up until now? I believe you can change your story, and I hope I can help you do so over the next month.

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