In a book called Drive, Daniel Pink tells a story about Clare Luce. Luce, one of the first women to serve in US Congress, gave some advice to President John F. Kennedy back in 1962. “A great man is,” she said, “one sentence.”
She went on to say that Abraham Lincoln had “preserved the union and freed the slaves.” FDR “helped bring the country out of depression and win the war.”
Daniel Pink continues, “Luce feared that Kennedy’s attention was so splintered among different priorities that his sentence risked becoming a muddled paragraph.”
We don’t have to hold the office of US President to learn from this example. One great tool for discovering your purpose is to think about your sentence.
As we are contemplating our purpose and what that sentence may be, there’s a good chance, in our modern times, that our attention is splintered. Any well rounded, faithful, conscientious and committed citizen could literally choose from 1,000 different things on which to focus their attention.
For the two examples above, it was as if the occasion rose to them. It seems that all of life is preparation for what is next in life. We must be ready to take on what God places before us and work with what we’ve been given. What will your sentence be?
There are three main elements that lead to motivation in life: Autonomy, Mastery and Purpose. When these elements are combined together, a person’s life and work not only have a natural flow, there is an amazing outcome.
Of these three components, purpose seems to be the icing that takes it over the top. Purpose is what creates the desire for self discipline, which is needed for mastery. which is needed in order to accomplish what we’re called to do.
So, what is your sentence? It might be, “He didn’t just grow the church he pastored, he was a pillar in the community.” Or “She helped raise three healthy and happy adults.” Or “He helped change the course of hundreds of young inner city students.” Or “She built a legacy of caring for the poor in the war torn country she served as a missionary.”
This simplicity and clarity is motivating to me as I live life. What about you?