The earth is incredibly large, and it has served as the home of billions of people since time immemorial. This wonderful planet has been in existence for millennia, yet, it is just like an atom or particle in the entire universe; like a speck of sand in the entire earth. If the earth is just like a particle in the great universe, then man is like a Nano-particle in it. Like plants and animals, man comes into being and dies; he is fundamentally mortal.
A philosopher may argue that mortality renders human existence purposeless, but in actuality, the contrary is the case. Death is quite important to human existence, because immortality is a greater punishment to the soul. The wonderful things in life can only stay beautiful as long as they don’t get to last forever. The fact that we will die someday makes life particularly meaningful. Living a monotonous, immortal life in an iniquitous world is in fact the real definition of ‘Meaninglessness’.
Since death is inevitable to all mankind, then whatever we strive to achieve in this world should bring fulfilment to us. We all want to achieve various goals, as we don’t all share the same dreams. Some of us want to be very successful in our businesses, while there are those of us who want to meet the needs of the poor. There are those of us who want to make a big difference in the world, and there are others who want to achieve celebrity fame and renown. There is nothing wrong in any of these goals. As long as we are aware of the fact that we don’t get to live forever.
All is vanity, therefore whatever you strive to accomplish, even if it is good, noble, and ethical, is still vanity. Saving thousands of lives, feeding millions of people, creating technology, finding cure to deadly diseases, or devising new ways to increase the standard of living of the third world are all noble and humanistic goals. But inevitably, you and everybody else (the starving children, friends and family, and the overwhelming population of humans in the world) will meet their inevitable demise. Anything you do in life, whether noble or ordinary, can’t make your life any more meaningful than it already is.
What matters in life is focusing on your dreams and striving to achieve them, with the knowledge that such quest is a way to fill-in the vast time you have in this world. We live to use up time, but also to use it up in our preferred way. Do what you value and value what you do. If you enjoy changing lives, get on with it. And if you enjoy playing sport, enjoy this short life you have. The mere fact that we derive great joy from the things we do is enough to show that we are living successfully. However, living to please people we don’t like in order to get what we don’t need is one definition of living miserably.
Whatever you do, as long as it is harmless to others and satiating to your soul, is a meaningful endeavor. It is, in itself, a definition of success. You don’t have to strive to be a wealthy entrepreneur or a famous celebrity to be successful. Doing what you love for a lifetime is what it means to be truly successful. All is vanity, but we can live doing what we love. At the end of it all, we all go back to being dust and particles deep down the earth.