If we were to think about giving money to a charitable organization, we would expect that organization to have a mission statement - a concise description of its goals and the methods it uses to achieve those goals. Likewise, if we were to decide to join a corporation, we would expect that company to have a clear sense of purpose, a direction and a way to get there.
Yet we fail to meet for ourselves the same reasonable expectations that we would have for a company or a charity. Why is it that we do not make a mission statement for ourselves? It is perhaps because to do so seems like a very complex task. It is easy for a company to know what it must do: Make money in a legal and (hopefully) ethical fashion. It is a little more complex for a charity, because the leaders of the charity must decide what worthy cause they will make their own. But once they have decided on the specific area of society that they wish to improve the goal is, again, relatively simple and clear.
But for a life to be meaningful and productive it must also have a goal. This does not mean that each person - each life - must have a single goal. We are each blessed with the ability to accomplish a great deal with our lives, and a mission statement for a life must reflect the capacity that each person has. One of the most effective ways in which to construct for ourselves a life goal or set of goals is to consider the events in our lives that have most profoundly affected us.
For myself, the most important experiences have been moving from Nigeria, which is where I was born and grew up, to the United Kingdom, where I played soccer for four years, and then my return to my native country to pursue my degree in accounting.
The experience of immigration is, of course, a widespread one, something that thousands and thousands of people have done. Yet the power of this experience to change the life of each individual who undergoes it is not diminished by the fact...