What drives Meaning?

A client recently gave me a fabulous summary of Bill Moyer’s remarks from a conference at which he was speaking in Washington DC. I have always admired Bill Moyer and his work, especially his series of interviews with Joseph Campbell, the legendary mythologist.

There was one section from his talk which is particularly worthy of thoughtful consideration. He was sharing his recollection of John Gardner, his friend and mentor, and founder of Common Cause, the organization Bill was addressing for their 40th Anniversary celebration. He shared that John built meaning into his life, as a deliberate choice. He went onto say:

“Meaning does not come from genes. You compose it out of your own past, your own affections, out of the experience of human beings as it is passed on to you, out of the things you believe in, out of the values for which you are willing to sacrifice something. The ingredients are there. You are the only person who can put them together in the unique pattern that will be your life.”

Wow. Food for thought.