If we take the time to think about why we are here, why were we born, what is the meaning of life, or other similar thought-provoking questions, what answer(s) do we come up with? Is it based on our religion or personal beliefs? Have we yet to arrive at a satisfying or meaningful conclusion? Do people care about why they are alive at this time on this planet? This is an age-old question that philosophers have spent entire lifetimes attempting to answer. In The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Deep Thought’s response to “the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything” is a mere “42.” While Douglas Adams’ computer generated answer to an eternal question is meant to be humorous, few people seldom discover this answer for themselves and live their lives in pursuit of nothing more than an ephemeral dream.
I found the following quote intriguing in this regard as it emphatically states that we do have a unique role or mission in life that no other person can fulfill. I believe this about myself, and I believe this is true for every person alive. The key is for each person to discover for themselves what their own unique mission is in life.
Everyone born in this world has a unique role that only he or she can fulfill. Were this not the case, we would not be here. The universe never acts without cause; everything invariably has a reason for being. Even the weeds people love to loathe serve a purpose.
– Daisaku Ikeda from “Wisdom for Modern Life: November 21, 2013“
“Mission” or “role” in this sense does not mean a person’s job or career, although many people fulfill their mission in life through their work. The mission of a doctor or teacher might seem obvious. A doctor is meant to heal people, while a teacher’s role is to educate others. But what about those whose mission in life might seem less clear or even nonexistent? It is not only up to the individual to discover what his/her unique role in life might be, but also the individual’s family, community and support system.
Everything invariably has a reason for being. This is true in nature as well. Every plant and animal has its role in the ecosystem in which it belongs. As people, we too have a reason for being. Sometimes it isn’t so obvious and we need to work at discovering our mission in life – whatever it may be. Ultimately, we all have a mission to become happy in this lifetime, but we must also help others become happy as well.