The Good Life: Lessons from Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life

The Purpose-Driven Life
The Purpose-Driven Life

Too lazy, don’t want to read: download my 3-page PDF guide to Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life.

I’m trying something new, so bear with me :)

I’ve had to work hard for good grades and good jobs, endure pain to become and stay healthy, and experience heartbreak and disappointment in the search for love and loyal friends.

But none of these struggles comes close to the challenge of finding a deep-rooted sense of purpose and meaning in my life.

In particular, each time I make more money or hit a new career milestone, I feel more emptiness, not less.

If these things don’t give me a sense of purpose, meaning, and fulfillment, then what the hell is it all for?

I admire people that continue to fight the good fight day in and day out, who invest sweat, tears, and risk their own reputations to make a big dent on the world.

People like Mother Teresa or MLK Jr. or Mahatma Gandhi. And millions who are unknown and unappreciated. Those who have gone FAR BEYOND the pursuit of simple, material goals into the realm of legacy. Those who are true believers, working on true problems, investing their entire lives to do so. I would love to join their ranks.

That’s what I plan to explore in 2013. As a first step, I will read a TON of great books, from religious texts (like The Bible) to major philosophical works (like Nietzsche’s The Will to Power) to canonical Western literature (like Paradise Lost).

From these books, I’ll share insights, conclusions, and questions from history’s greatest thinkers and doers on finding purpose, meaning, and fulfillment. My goal is to provide some answers, and probably more questions, to living what Aristotle calls “eudemonia”, or simply, “the good life”.

Here is my first “Good Life” guide, from Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life, one of the greatest spiritual self-help books of all time (30mm copies sold since 2007!). Please note, I am not Christian, but I believe there is an ENORMOUS amount that we can learn from religious texts and thinkers.

It’s a 3-page PDF, free to download and share. Here’s the link to view it as a read-only Google Doc (for some reason, “Download as PDF” did not preserve the images’ quality). In it, I cover the following topics:

  • Why I chose this book
  • The book’s main themes and takeaways
  • Important life lessons that can be pulled from it
  • How I plan to apply these lessons to my life
  • Questions for you to ponder
  • Random related and unrelated (but inspirational) readings

As this is my first “Good Life” guide, I humbly ask for any and all feedback, advice, thoughts. I plan to write a LOT of these – I need your help to make them the best resources they can be.

Thanks and enjoy!

PS. Here are some great quotes from the book (as I mentioned before, I’m a huge fan of quotes):

Right now you may be driven by a problem, a pressure, or a deadline. You may be driven by a painful memory, a haunting fear, or an unconscious belief. There are hundreds of circumstances, values, and emotions that can drive your life.

Possessions only provide temporary happiness. Because things do not change, we eventually become bored with them and then want a newer, bigger, better version.

The most common myth about money is that having more will make me more secure. It won’t. Wealth can be lost instantly through a variety of uncontrollable factors.

Hope is as essential to your life as air and water. You need hope to cope. Dr. Bernie Siegel found he could predict which of his cancer patients would go into remission by asking, “Do you want to live to be one hundred?” Those with a deep sense of life purpose answered yes and were the ones most likely to survive. Hope comes from having a purpose.

Henry David Thoreau observed that people live lives of “quiet desperation,” but today a better description is aimless distraction.

Stop trying to do it all. Do less. Prune away even good activities and do only what matters most.

When you live in light of eternity, your values change. You use your time and money more wisely. You place a higher premium on relationships and character instead of fame or wealth or achievements or even fun.

The most damaging aspect of contemporary living is short-term thinking. To make the most of your life, you must keep the vision of eternity continually in your mind and the value of it in your heart.

When you understand that life is a test, you realize that nothing is insignificant in your life. Even the smallest incident has significance for your character development. Every day is an important day, and every second is a growth opportunity to deepen your character, to develop your love, or to depend on God.

First, compared with eternity, life is extremely brief. Second, earth is only a temporary residence. You won’t be here long, so don’t get too attached.

Where is the glory of God? Just look around. Everything created by God reflects his glory in some way. We see it everywhere, from the most microscopic form of life to the vast Milky Way, from sunsets and stars to storms and seasons. Creation reveals our Creator’s glory. You can learn a lot about God’s character just by looking around. Through nature we learn that God is powerful, that he enjoys variety, loves beauty, is organized, and is wise and creative.

Hi! I write about habits and spirituality and random whatevers. Click here to see the daily habits that I track. Find me on Twitter @kgao.