The Secret to Life

A few of us stayed late last night at the radio station to interview John Wood who lives in Hong Kong. Skype helped us bridge sunrise and dusk from different parts of the world. John is the Founder and Co-Board Chair of Room to Read as well as a teacher, speaker and author. We were discussing his latest book Purpose Incorporated: Turning Cause into Your Competitive Advantage. It will air this Saturday at 1pm PST and be available in the Impact archives.

John Closed with a haunting comment and quote that has been on the edges of my consciousness for awhile; When talking about Jeff Balin, a Kellogg MBA who cut his teeth in the Starbucks management-training program and at the same time was studying Tibetan Buddhism, Judaism, and other spiritual sources.

When asked if he had ever pondered the secret to life, he paused thoughtfully and replied: “The secret to life? For that, you need to look to the teachings of the great spiritual traditions. Many of the teachings would suggest that we should do one simple thing. Just one. Figure out what you want to say on your deathbed, and work backwards from there. If what you want to say on your final day is in alignment with how you’re currently living your life, then just get back to living. But if you’re not in alignment, then you’d better start making some adjustments before much more of life passes you by.”

John’s final question to me at the end of our hour, and now you; Do you know what you want to say when you look back on your life? Is your current life in alignment with that? And can purpose play a role?

Andrew Hoffman (March 18, 2018)


Andrew Hoffman is a Professor of Sustainability Enterprise at the University of Michigan, he is a leader using organisational network and strategic analysis to assess the implications of environmental issues for business. He has published over 14 books, and over 100 articles and he sat down with Don Shafer for an interesting chat.