5 Rules for Life – from Steve Rosenbaum. No. 3. Don’t ask what you want from life. Ask what life wants from you.

3. I learned from the psychotherapist who survived Auschwitz, Viktor Frankl, whose Man’s Search for Meaning is one of the most widely read books of our time. Frankl used to say: Don’t ask what you want from life. Ask what life wants from you. The great lives are ones where people heard a call, had a sense of vocation. That is what set Abraham, grandfather of monotheism, on his journey and eventually it changed the world. Moses might have lived a life of affluence and ease as a prince of Egypt, but he heard the cry of his people as they suffered under slavery, and God’s call to him to lead them into freedom.

There is a well-known story about three men who spent their lives quarrying rocks. When asked what they were doing, one replied, “Breaking rocks.” The second said, “Earning a living.” The third said, “Building a cathedral.” We don’t need to ask which of the three had the most job satisfaction. The late Steve Jobs spent his life making technology people-friendly and a thing of beauty. The creators of Google sought to make the world of information available to all. An overarching sense of the Why preceded the How. Where what we want to do meets what is crying out to be done, that is where we should be.

From the Chief Rabbi in The Times

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