How to Live a Meaningful Life

My life had turned into a series of checklists.

  • Nice car – check.
  • Masters degree – check.
  • Impressive Resume – check.

But there was a problem. As the tears fell from my cheeks, I noticed I was missing a few.

  • Purpose –
  • Meaning –
  • Fulfillment –

…Does my life even matter?

A Life Without Meaning

It was a hard thing to admit – that I’d done everything I was told to do… and felt empty.

Western culture tells us “Get a degree, get a job, get a home, make a lot of money, and happiness is yours.”

I’ve tested the theory… It doesn’t work.

Does Your Life Even Matter?

I used to be a teacher in the inner city. Every morning I would wake up at 530 am to go teach in the poverty stricken neighborhoods of Los Angeles, California.

On some level it felt good. On paper, it looked great. Here I was – in my mid 20’s giving my heart and soul to educate america’s underserved youth.

But if I’m honest, with you, with myself – I did it for the wrong reasons.

I loved the students, but really – it was more about “my image” than actually changing lives.

In my 4th year it all came falling down. I realized – I hate my life and the direction it’s moving.

Not exactly a pleasant feeling…

This Moment is All We Have

So, 2 years ago I made a commitment, a decision that has lead to things I never could have imagined.

I decided to do what I “want to do” – not what my culture told me I “should do”.

I decided to pursue my dream: to become a ninja. Probably sounds a little crazy, right?

Doesn’t really matter what it sounds like, it’s the truth.

I now live in Kyoto, the historical capital of Japan. I train in martial arts as much as my body can handle. I teach English part-time, just enough to cover my expenses.

It’s an irony I still do not yet understand. In being completely selfish, in following my dream – I’ve been able to inspire people from countries all around the world.

Back in November I gave a TEDx talk about the pursuit of a dream. My website was voted the 3rd best Personal Development blog of 2012. People request to interview me. I was quoted on Oprah’s website.

My life now has meaning, purpose, and a sense of fulfillment I never could have imagined.

Now each day, each moment, I step forward with my dream as evidence to you, to the world, that it is possible.

The purpose of this post is straightforward: I want you to understand that your life can only have meaning, if you commit right now – to this very moment…

A Commitment to Live a Meaningful Life

I could give you a step by step formula to “follow your dream”. In fact, you would probably even think it’s good. But this post isn’t about that. It’s about you, your life, and your commitment.

Yes, without a doubt the “how” is very important. But if you are not committed, the steps don’t mean a darn thing.

When I left my professional career in America I had no idea what I was doing.

I didn’t know about the language barriers, visa issues, tears and cultural struggles I would face. My plan was small – move to a foreign country, train in martial arts.

All I had was my commitment: My commitment to live a meaningful, fulfilling life.

Commitment means stopping at nothing.

Commitment is a choice not fate.

Commitment is a decision backed by action.

Today is your chance. You’re either committed to a fulfilling meaningful life, or you’re not.

The First Step

If you are truly ready – then you must ask this question:

What is my first step?

Don’t worry about step 2, step 8, or step 100. Just focus on step 1.

Right now, this moment – you either prove that you are committed… or you prove that you aren’t.

So, which one are you?

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