One of my favorite writers penned those words above. If I want to know if I am a successful husband, I must have a definite aim as a husband. If I want to be a successful father, I must have a definite aim as father. If I want to be a successful man, I must have a definite aim as a man. I can choose any line of work or life and my success, true success, demands a definite aim.
Think about it.
How can I say I'm a successful businessman, father, husband, writer, or singer? I can only say this on the basis of an aim. I'm a successful businessman b/c my business is profitable. I'm a successful father b/c my children are positive influences in society. I'm a successful husband b/c my wife is still in love with me after 40 years. I'm a successful writer b/c I have not only written several books but they have been profitable and thought-provoking. I think we get the point.
If young men describe the number 2 reason why they are not motivated as a "lack of goal setting," then we know it's because they do not have a definite aim. As a man, it is critical that I sit down and ask myself, "What is the aim of my life?" "Do I have a definite aim?" If I have no answer to these questions, then I will surely not feel successful, in fact I'll feel as a failure. Most of my activities will seem routine and meaningless; painfully meaningless. Too often as young men, our lives are filled with all kinds of knowledge regarding what to do and how to do it, but are scarce in why to do it. Frederick Nietzsche, a famed atheistic philosopher, once said, "If you know why, then you can bear any how." Life is hard to bear when I do not have a reason to bear it.
But how do I honestly decide upon a life work? How do I figure out a life aim? A life aim must satisfy 2 criteria: 1) It must be grand enough to encompass my entire life and 2) It must be attainable only with the help of others. There is no doubt that Mahatma Gandhi eventually decided to dedicate his life to the liberation and edification of his beloved country, India. Yet, he did not seek to do this of his own strength and ability. He combined his efforts with various political leaders, the vast citizenry, and even diverse religious groups. It infused every act of his life with meaning, even his death.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. surely dedicated his life to the abolition of segregation and the uplifting of black American lives , but again, we find the need for others. Dr. King was able bear several instances of imprisonment, harsh criticism from friends, and continued abuse of those who joined him in the civil rights movement because he knew why. William Wilberforce dedicated his life to the abolition of the slave trade and reformation of manners in the United Kingdom. Yet, Wilberforce considered his aims impossible without the support of political friends and former slaves. Even when Wilberforce's initial attempts failed, he eventually took it back up for he felt as if his life would have been a failure otherwise.
Now these are quite lofty and were probably shared by others at the time. However, this does not mean that I must choose a globally shifting aim, but it serves as a compelling illustration of the kind of aims that fulfill the criteria. Lastly, perhaps I may have a definite aim, but some where along the way I lost sight of it. Today is a great day to re-focus. Our author who started us on this journey continues, "He who would achieve true success in life must keep the aim worthy of his endeavor steadily in view." Our daily activities must serve as daily reminders of our ultimate aim. This gives each activity meaning. Even more so, it makes goal setting easy. I set my goals as markers along the way to my central aim.
In order to be motivated men, something must motivate us, and that something must be a definite aim. An aim that causes us to look in the mirror and say, "Either I will accomplish this task or die trying." An aim so moving that I rejoice at every inch of advancement towards its completion. An aim so consuming that our mantra in life is, If I can't fly, then I'll run. If I can't run, then I'll walk. I f I can't walk, then I'll crawl, but whatever I do, I have to keep moving forward. The mantra of motivated men.