The Purpose of Life: Ask Walt Disney?
By Shlomo Maital
Last month, I taught a one-week course on entrepreneurship and creativity to 43 dynamic Chinese students, mainly undergraduates studying at Shantou University, Shantou (Guangdong). The course was in English; the students worked on business plans in teams, and made elevator-speech presentations (in English), prepared 2-minute videos, and wrote business plans (in English). (The photo shows a Play-Do, or plasticene, model of one of the team’s ideas, for a novel restaurant – they stayed up all night to create it!).
I just received an email from one of my students. I pasted it below, without correcting the syntax… (Shantou University has a phenomenal English Learning Center, that provides each student with a tailored personal program for learning to read write and speak English)….
I want to ask you a personal question, this question had confuse me for a very long time, the question is that “what do we live for?”, what’s the point of live? create value? make money? love? i not sure. now i just in my 20s age, i always feel there’s no a direction in my life, i’m not sure what is going on in my rest of life. but you have a lot of experience about life, you have make a lot of achievements in your life, so want to ask your answer about the question, i hope you can give me some suggestion.
Dear readers: How would YOU answer my wonderful student?
My own answer was rather woeful – but, here it is. Congratulations for just asking the question. Most of us ask it, at the end of our lives, when it is nearly too late to actually change anything. I think the purpose of life is best defined by Walt Disney. He set the mantra for Disneyland (later, Disney World): “Make people happy”. Create value. Use your brains, your courage, your intellect, and above all, your CREATIVITY – to create value, by widening people’s range of choices, and thus, making them happy, or at least happier. When you make other people happy (those around you, family, children, spouses, relatives, friends, total strangers), you will make yourself happy as well. If you only try to make yourself happy, in the end, you will be very alone.