人人都該問的問題:為甚麼我要做我在做的事?──‘WHY DO I DO WHAT I DO?’ A QUESTION ALL SHOULD ASK

我的高中田徑教練對我說:「你看起來不錯!」「但如果你不在同一處跑那麼久就好了。」這其實是他用不同的說法表達著,我並不是一個很快的跑者。我的跑步方式就像坐在搖椅上的人:有著很多的活動,但前進卻不太多。

在某些方面,這可能也是我們個人和職業生命的隱喻。我們可能總是在行動之中、看起來很忙,但我們成就了什麼呢?如果我們夠誠實的結論出我們其實成就很少,那麼為什麼我們還要繼續做我們在做的事情呢?我們也許「看起來」不錯,但其實進展不大啊。
 許多人懷抱著理想開始一些我們認為會給自己的生命帶來意義的事情,但有時幻想會破滅。作為一名美國海軍的資深飛行員,我觀察到一些本意良好而開始從軍的人也會經歷這樣的情況。特別是如果他們上戰場後,戰爭的現實會帶來幻滅,進而感到失去意義,甚至會導致眾所周知的 PTSD—創傷後壓力症候群(Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)。  

那些從事其他重要工作的人,例如政治界和職場領域,也會遭受同樣的幻滅。我們努力工作,盡力改變我們周圍的世界,當我們看起來好像很好,但發現實際上是在同一處跑太久時,你感覺會如何?

每個人都想要自己的生活重視些什麼,都渴望過著有意義的生活。我經常想起法國科學家布莱兹‧帕斯卡(Blaise Pascal)所說,那存在於每個人心中的一個只有上帝才能填補的空缺:稱為「上帝型塑的空缺(God-shaped vacuum)」。作家兼演說家約翰.麥斯威爾(John Maxwell)則談到了另一個「空缺」: 一個人心中如人生那麼長的空缺,只有明確定義的人生使命才能填補得了。  

在過去的幾年裡,我研究了所羅門王的生平,他被稱為有史以來最聰明的人。作為大衛的兒子和以色列第三任國王,他在公元前 10 世紀掌權。治理著以色列的黃金時代,他的成就絕對是驚人的。然而,儘管他取得了所有的成就,在他生命即將結束時,他卻多次表達並記錄在傳道書中,總結「一切都是虛空」。另一種翻譯說,「一切都毫無意義。」

審視所羅門的生平和他所成就的一切,我不禁要問:「怎麼可能一個開始就如此出色,並做了這麼多的人,到了他生命結束時,竟然會結論自己所做的一切都是毫無意義的呢?」所羅門的結論是我見日光之下所做的一切事,都是虛空,都是捕風。」(傳道書 1章14節) 日光之下涵蓋著工作的成果,基本上涵蓋了一切。如果在日光之下找不到有意義的人生,那就表示我們應該到別處尋找意義。多年前,我對自己的人生也得出類似的結論時,我就意識到我們必須看向天國。如果要在生命中找到真正的意義和目的,我們必須仰望上帝祂自己。

我長期的老朋友兼生命導師喬.科格斯霍爾( Joe Coggeshall) 多年來一直挑戰我寫一篇「人生使命宣言」。成功的公司都會有著意義或使命宣言,喬說,「你為什麼 不寫一個呢?」我終於把他的挑戰牢記在心。我發現撰寫人生意義的這件事,已經成為我的指南針,讓我放棄看起來好而去追求那真正最好的。   那你的人生意義是什麼,你為什麼要做現在在做的事?你有人生的意義或使命宣言嗎?如果沒有,為什麼沒有呢?  

威廉“弗里茨”克倫普曾是美國海軍的一名資深飛行員,也在越戰期間服役;曾任職於達美航空公司飛行員、房地產主管,也曾擔任過 CBMC的同工 。

備註:如果你手上有聖經,想閱讀更多相關的內容,請參考以下的經文:
傳道書 12章13-14節
12:13 這些事都已聽見了,總意就是:敬畏 神,謹守他的誡命,這是人所當盡的本分(或譯:這是眾人的本分)。
12:14 因為人所做的事,連一切隱藏的事,無論是善是惡, 神都必審問。
使徒行傳 17章28節
17:28 我們生活、動作、存留,都在乎他。就如你們作詩的,有人說:『我們也是他所生的。』
哥林多前書 3章9節
3:9因為我們是與神同工的;你們是神所耕種的田地,所建造的房屋。
腓立比書 3章10節
3:10 使我認識基督,曉得他復活的大能,並且曉得和他一同受苦,效法他的死,(新標點和合本) (擴大版聖經AMP)而這,使我可以認識祂 [在經驗上,更徹底地認識祂,更徹底地了解祂位格的非凡奇蹟] 並 [以同樣的方式體驗]祂復活的大能 [它滿溢並活躍在信徒],並[使我可以分享]他的苦難的團契,通過不斷地模成[內心甚至像他一樣]直到他的死[像他一樣死去]。

反省與問題討論

  1. 在你的生命或工作中,是否有那種時刻,有人形容你「看起來不錯,但在同一處跑得太久了呢?」或許這也是你現在的感受?碰到這種時刻你會如何回應?  
  2. 你覺得生命中什麼是有意義的?你是否確信自己在為正確的事情而努力也朝向正確的方向呢?或者你有時會覺得如同成就卓著的所羅門王,儘管完成了許多偉大的工作,擁有了物質財富,卻得出結論:一切都是毫無意義的,都是追風呢?請解釋你的答案。  
  3. 作者引用了布莱兹‧帕斯卡(Blaise Pascal)的名言:「每個人的心中都有一個只有上帝才能填補的那個上帝型塑的空缺」,你同意嗎?請解釋你的答案?  
  4. 本文作者提到個人人生意義或使命宣言,你聽說過類似的事情嗎?你認為一個人的人生使命宣言會是什麼樣的?你認為它如何才能發揮功用呢?


‘WHY DO I DO WHAT I DO?’ A QUESTION ALL SHOULD ASK

By William ‘Fritz’ Klumpp


“You look pretty good,” my high school track coach said to me. “If you just wouldn’t run so long in one place.” This was his way of saying that I was not a very fast runner. My running style was like the man sitting in a rocking chair: there was a whole lot of activity, but not much progress.  

In some ways this might be a metaphor for our personal and professional lives. We might be always on the go, very busy, but what have we accomplished? If we honestly conclude that we have achieved very little, why do we continue doing what we do? We might look good – but show little progress.

Many of us idealistically start out doing something we feel will give meaning to our lives, but sometimes we become disillusioned. Being a veteran pilot in the U.S. Navy, I observed well-intentioned people who began their careers in the military experienced this. Especially if they spent time on the battlefield. The realities of war can lead to disillusionment, and the resulting loss of purpose can even contribute to what has become known as PTSD – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. 

This same disillusionment can also be suffered by those who engage in other important pursuits, such as politics and the workplace. We work hard, striving to make a difference in the world around us, but what happens when we look good and then discover we have been running too long in one place?

Everyone wants his or her life to count for something, and we all desire to live a life of meaning. I often think of what French scientist Blaise Pascal referred to as the “God-shaped vacuum” that exists in the heart of every man – a vacuum that only the Lord can fill. Author and speaker John Maxwell talks about another “vacuum”: the life-sized vacuum inside one’s heart that only a clearly defined life mission can fill.

During the last few years I have studied the life of King Solomon, who has been known as the wisest man who ever lived. A son of David and Israel’s third king, he reigned during the 10th century BC. Ruling during Israel’s golden age, his achievements were absolutely amazing. Yet, despite all he accomplished, Solomon’s summation, expressed near the end of his life and recorded numerous times in his Book of Ecclesiastes, was “all is vanity.” Another translation states, “everything is meaningless.”

Examining the life of Solomon and all he accomplished, I cannot help but ask, “How could one who started so well and did so much, come to the end of his life and conclude that all the things that he did were meaningless?” Solomon’s conclusion that “all is vanity and grasping for the wind” (Ecclesiastes 1:14) pertains to works done “under the sun.” Basically, that includes everything. If meaningful purpose in life cannot be found “under the sun,” that suggests we must look elsewhere for meaning. Years ago, after reaching a similar conclusion about my life, I realized that we must look to the heavenlies. If we are to find real meaning and purpose in life, we must look to God Himself.

My longtime friend and mentor, Joe Coggeshall, challenged me for many years to write a “life purpose statement.” Successful companies have a purpose or mission statement, Joe would say, “so why don’t you?” I finally took his challenge to heart and have found my written life purpose has become a compass allowing me to forsake the good for the sake of seeking the best.

So, what is your purpose and why do you do what you do?  Do you have a purpose or mission statement for your life? If not, why not?

William “Fritz” Klumpp is a veteran pilot with the U.S. Navy, having served during the Vietnam War; a former Delta Air Lines pilot, real estate executive, and former Executive Director of CBMC.

Reflection/Discussion Questions

  1. Have you ever had any moments in your life – or work – when someone could have described you as “looking pretty good, but running too long in one place”? Perhaps this is how you are feeling right now. How do you respond at times like this?
  2. What do you find meaningful in your life? Are you confident that you are striving for, working toward, the right things? Or do you sometimes feel like the highly accomplished King Solomon, who despite the wondrous projects he had completed and all his material wealth, concluded, “all is meaningless, a chasing after the wind?” Explain your answer.
  3. The well-known paraphrase from Blaise Pascal is cited: “inside the heart of everyone is a God-shaped void that only God can fill”? Do you agree with that? Why or why not?
  4. Mr. Klumpp mentions having a personal purpose or mission statement. Have you ever heard of something like that? What do you think someone’s mission statement for life would look like? How do you think that could be useful?

NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:
Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Acts 17:28; 1 Corinthians 3:9; Philippians 3:10 (Amplified Version)


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