What is the fundamental purpose of life? Two things: first, to love and worship God who created us with all our hearts; and second, to be useful to fellow human beings. Even God exists primarily to add value to mankind: bless, prosper, protect, multiply, heal, provide, increase, help, strengthen, and prolong life. God always does good to those who love him.

He also created man in his own image to do the same thing: to continuously add value to life. Man is to discover, invent, manufacture goods, create ideas, innovate, write books, share knowledge, educate the young, train skills, help the needy, treat the sick, plant trees, grow farms, rear animals, render services, grow wealth, and so on. These are various ways and dimensions of adding value.

Adding significant value is what will make you matter to many generations. A wise man says that “If you want to touch the past, touch a rock. If you want to touch the present, touch a flower. If you want to touch the future, touch a life.” Benjamin Franklin puts a similar thought this way, “If you would not be forgotten as soon as you are dead, either write something worth reading or do something worth writing.”

You don’t need to come from a rich or highly educated background before you can create a generational impact. Common or ordinary people who do noticeable things that really improve life abound. Though Lou XiaoyingLou Xiaoying and her husband were living in relative poverty, yet they rescued 30 abandoned babies in China. Blaise Pascal was a Frenchman initially unknown, but at 19 he invented the first mechanical calculator. Without him, perhaps the world wouldn’t have got the calculator. Mark Zuckerberg, who revolutionized the social media through Facebook, was not the president of the United States or the most brilliant professor of electrical/electronics engineering, when he did it. He was a university student when he did it. Today, the whole world, including you and me, benefit from it.

You too can matter to generations. This is how you can do it.

Principles of Mattering to Generations:

(1) Identify a unique human problem: Know this very important fact about human beings. Anybody who comes to your office, your house, your shop, your website or blog, the seminar you organize, your church, or anywhere else to meet or interact with you, is seeking some sort of value or help from you. People come to you because they feel that you can help them solve some problem or add some value to their lives. Locate an essential human problem you are packaged for and solve it.

(2) Learn the basic skills for solving that problem: Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “If a man writes a better book, preaches a better sermon, or makes a better mouse trap than his neighbour, though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door.” Skill is what enables you provide the solution or answer the question people are looking for, in a way others are not able to do.

(3) Dedicate to a cause: William Jennings Bryan, a U.S politician and lawyer said, “The humblest citizen of all the land, when clad in the armor of a righteous cause, is stronger than all the hosts of error.” A cause is what gives rise to a committed action taken to provide a larger solution to a larger problem.

(4) Be strong to face and overcome challenges: As you’re on course to help humanity, obstacles will certainly arise to deter, discourage, or even derail you. Sanballat and Tobiah were there to deter Nehemiah, the re-builder of the Temple; Mother Teresa, who devoted her life to giving the poor charity, faced many challenges. Listen to her here: “When I taught the teachings of Christ many people laughed at me and spat at my face. Some even threw stones at my fragile, five foot body…Yet, if I didn’t teach these children of God about Christ, then who would? …I didn’t let my fears get in my way.”

(5) Make contributions that stand the test of time: The best ideas are the ideas that help people and the best contributions are the solutions that are useful to the people for a long time, may be many years, or many generations.

(6) Raise those who would sustain the cause: Gabrey Means writes that “… people join social movements to be a part of a community, connected to something larger than themselves.” When you drive sufficient awareness of a particular solution to a certain identifiable problem people have, letting them know what exactly is in there for them and others if they take the necessary action, you’ll not only compel followership but loyalists who will sustain the vision.

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