Imagine that you were lost in some wilderness area with no idea of where you are. How would you determine which way you would go? An effective strategy would be to try to get a view of the land so that you can make a mental map of the terrain. That way you aren’t just making direction decisions based on the limited view in front of you each moment. By getting a bird’s eye view you would be able to identify important terrain features that you want to follow, such as rivers and valleys, as well as terrain that you would like to avoid, such as dangerous cliffs, impassable vegetation, or disorienting forests. You must look at your surroundings, decide where you want to go, and then make a plan to get there which properly utilizes the terrain. Marines understand the importance of these land navigation skills and are trained to use maps and plan detailed routes through difficult terrain in order to arrive at objectives efficiently.
The same navigational principles apply to life. Many people just wander through life without any particular destination. They make daily choices based on what they see in front of them at that moment. The result in life is often much like it would be if they were lost in the wilderness…they end up going in circles, running into dead ends, or taking much longer to get anywhere than they need to. In order to avoid this, identifying life’s meaning and values is important. Meaning addresses questions such as “What is the purpose of life?” and “How do I live a good life, even in the face of hardship?” Meaning provides a bird’s eye view of life…a “life map” that identifies terrain (values) and objectives (goals). Having personal meaning and values mapped out provides motivation to pursue goals and strength to endure hardship.