We all have things that motivate us. It may be money, fame or a sense of adventure. What may be the greatest motivator, however, is determining a cause for one’s life.
Success can mean different things to people. Some measure it by how much money they have, but success is not determined by how many millions you have. It is indicated by how you succeed in achieving the desired outcome. The question to ask is, “Do you have a powerful cause?”
We admire people who commit to a cause beyond themselves and who take extraordinary measures to fulfil their mission. When we perceive that something is missing – whether real or imagined – we are more likely to be self-motivated to achieve great things.
While some individuals have the physical capabilities to perform at a very high level, most of us are not super athletic. However, we can still achieve great things; we just need the impetus to move forward.
Last year, I had the privilege of meeting Gary Wilmot and not long after we shared the stage in a speakers’ program. Gary’s story is very interesting. In 2011, he was fat and unhealthy, weighing in at 143 kilograms and was certain that he wouldn’t see his fiftieth birthday. Gary decided he had to make a change if he wanted to live, so he changed his lifestyle; he started to run.
By 2013, he completed his first marathon and had run several since then. He decided to start inspiring others to make changes in their life the way he had. But what is remarkable is that he set a goal – and challenge – to run across Australia from Perth to Brisbane. His motivation was to raise funds for the Heart Foundation, which aligned with his lifestyle values.
Gary set out in May 2015 and successfully reached Brisbane in September. It was a tremendous achievement and performance that most of us would only dream of doing. It just shows that when the “why” is big enough, the “how” follows.
Rosie Batty is a woman who probably didn’t foresee that she would come into the national limelight in Australia. In 2014, her 11-year-old son was murdered by her husband. The event gave her the impetus to campaign against domestic violence – long overdue. In honour of her work, she received the highest distinction, the Australian of the Year award for 2015. Rosie’s loss of her son left a void, but it led her to pursue a cause for which she had strong feelings.
Would you ever consider swimming the length of one of the world’s longest rivers? Probably not, but an ex-navy SEAL, Chris Ring is doing just that along the 4000-kilometre length of the Mississippi River. He started in July 2015 and was scheduled to complete his mission before Christmas 2015.
Chris is doing this for one reason; it’s for the soldiers who were killed in combat and particularly to support the families left behind. He is part of the Legacies Alive Project which helps those families, and his swim is raising funds to support the military alumni. It takes some passion for taking on such a feat.
The commonality among these individuals is that their cause is not about making money or getting rich; it is about attracting people to their movement and raising funds to support it.
Find your cause
Without a cause, life can be devoid of meaning. People are so focused on earning a living and accumulating wealth that they lose sight of something beyond themselves. Many people of wealth have learned that their life means more when they contribute to some worthwhile cause. People like Warren Buffet and Mark Zuckerberg contribute vast sums of money to a worthy cause.
The secret for you is to find what it is that inspires you. What worthwhile endeavour would you love to join?
Here are some examples:
- A charity with which you feel connected
- A support group that you can relate to because of your health
- An environmental movement
- A social issue that you feel very strongly about
- If you are comfortable financially, you may want to set up a scholarship
- Assisting children in Third World countries
- Getting involved in a political movement
- Leading the way to change in societal attitudes or mindset
Find out what is important to you. What do you value highly in life? Think beyond yourself as if you are leaving a legacy to your children, grandchildren and perhaps to the world. Remember that while you are giving of yourself, you will feel fulfilled from the realisation that your contribution has made a difference. Involvement in something that truly inspires you is the greatest form of achieving success in your life.
Tell us, will you give this a go? What is your cause in life?