Sunday Snippet: Mitch Albom (Tuesdays with Morrie)

“The way you get meaning into your life is to devote yourself to loving others, devote yourself to your community around you, and devote yourself to creating something that gives you purpose and meaning.”

The Sunday Snippet on Beyond the Rhetoric, in case you haven’t been playing along at home, is a new weekly feature where I take a memorable, insightful, or otherwise thought-provoking quote and discuss some of its ramifications on our modern lives. In the first Sunday Snippet, we took at look at how we sabotage our own success. The following weekend, we discussed the importance of imagination. For today’s snippet, we look toward how to lead a meaningful life.

The name Mitch Albom may not ring a bell, but you may be familiar with his best-selling book Tuesdays with Morrie. In it, Albom recounts the many life lessons he learned while visiting sociology professor Morrie Schwartz (who is suffering from Lou Gehrig’s disease). Among these lessons is how we can lead a purposeful and rewarding life.

It may be true that happiness must be derived from within, but true meaning in life can only be achieved when you look beyond yourself and devote yourself to others. This can come from volunteering for charitable organizations, devoting yourself to an important cause, or developing something that can be useful for many generations to come. Contrary to popular belief, you can do well by doing good. But you absolutely must do good first.

Winston Churchill echoes this sentiment: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” The more you give, honestly and fully, the more meaning you’ll be able to derive from your life.