One year ago, I gave a talk at ADP’s annual sales rally in Las Vegas. The talk was for about 600 sales professionals. There are a great bunch of people. They want to make a difference in the world, just like you and I do. I decided to adapt the following essay into the talk. Now, many of them think about themselves as “pain killers” that reduce the anxiety, waste and other forms of suffering that take place inside business operations. This thinking can apply to your business too — and help create a common mission worth getting up for every morning.
THE END OF SUFFERING
I believe that our mission in life is simple: Participate in the end of suffering. If we reduce suffering in the world, we enable the positive. We make a difference. You cannot make people happy and you cannot make them like you. You can, however, be a part of the solution instead of being part of the problem. Suffering is everywhere waiting to be addressed. It comes in physical and mental forms from hunger to uncertainty.
Happiness is like a ray of light that sits just beyond the dark clouds of suffering. When those clouds part our joy shines through. We only get glimpses of this light because there is so much suffering in our lives.
Think about it, your greatest energy comes from your innate desire to end suffering. If you are bored, you find great energy to deal with that. If someone you care about needs something, you find it in yourself to give her your very best. This mission I suggest, the end of suffering, comes from your true nature as a compassionate being.
It is truly possible to unify our intentions and to align with others based on the mission we select in life. Currently, we have so many varied (and often selfish) missions that it is no wonder we think we are not like “them” and find ourselves largely divided.
When you choose the right mission, it gives you advice at every turn of your life. At work, your mission should tell you the difference between right and wrong and where to spend your time (and energy). Trying to achieve a vague professional mission is like trying to operate a business without a plan. It is difficult for you to separate your mission between personal and professional. How you are successful during the day is who you become in the evening. Conversely, your personal mission should guide your behavior towards your family, friends and acquaintances. If you find one mission that successfully guides you throughout your whole life, you have a blueprint for success. If your mission is aligned with others, you have a blueprint for community and cooperation.
It is my informed opinion that the most effective leaders in the world focus efforts towards the end of suffering. They are first are foremost happy and proactive in defending that happiness. They are sensitive to others’ feelings and possess a connected form of emotional intelligence.
Think about this over the next few days. Ask yourself, “Do I have a unifying mission that guides me?” Then question, “Can I offer something towards the end of suffering or do I mostly create suffering?” You may decide to join me in my mission.
If you accept this mission, you must first address suffering in your own life. You need to make room for the needs of other people by dealing with your own. This is the road to self-reliance and peace. If you accept this mission, you will find yourself opting out of behaviors that could make others suffer, because you would “know better” as a result of your new focus on the end of suffering. If nothing else, just do an inventory in one week of how much suffering you created versus how much you addressed. The better you do, the more you are living on purpose.
Your friend, Tim Sanders
Please pass this on to your friends and colleagues as it can change their life.