On Tuesday I was visiting a home and saw an interesting piece of art hanging on the wall. It said, ‘The purpose of life is to discover your gift. The meaning of life is to give your gift away.’ The quote was attributed to William Shakespeare. Although that didn’t really seem like the type of thing he doth writeth or sayeth.
I was tempted to take a pic of the artwork because I liked the quote so much. But I refrained. That night when I got home I looked the quote up on the Googler. I found that the quote is often attributed to Shakespeare or Pablo Picasso. Although there is no evidence linking either of them to those words. Other than a couple of enterprising Etsy shops.
There is much concrete evidence that these words came from David Viscott. Viscott was a psychiatrist and professor at UCLA who had his own radio and tv shows in the 1980s and 90s. You know, like Frasier. Perhaps Picasso liked to tune in.
Here is the full quote:
“The purpose of life is to discover your gift; the work of life is to develop it; and the meaning of life is to give your gift away.” — David Viscott.
That’s a pretty great idea, David. No wonder Shakespeare and Picasso wanted to take credit for it.
Discover your gift. Develop your gift. Share it with others. And if you discover you have more than one gift, develop and share them all. The world becomes a better place with more of your magic. And remember, gifts come in all shapes and sizes. You don’t need to be a singer to be a rockstar. You simply need to find what you are really good at, make yourself great at it, and gift it to the world.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.
My sophomore year in high school I had a teacher named Mr. Bohi. He was a large, bear of a man who spoke with booming confidence and authority. Originally from Iowa, his life path lead him to the Ivy League town of Hanover, New Hampshire. In Hanover he taught high school students lessons about humans, through the lens of history. He also smiled at you when he was mad at you, which I found quite challenging to process.
Mr. Bohi was a great teacher who taught me a lot. But on the first day of class he said something that I strongly disagreed with. As he launched into his initial lesson, he pulled out a dollar bill, and made a stump speech about the power of money, and its enormous influence over world history.
He orated about the fallacy of money, saying that currency wasn’t real. That money is an illusion in our heads. And that a plain piece of paper was actually more valuable than a dollar bill. One of the things he said that day has bothered me for 30 years. So today I am putting this note in the mailbox and sending it to Mr. Bohi.
I love doing what other people say can’t be done. I love solving problems that others think can’t be solved. As an entrepreneur and Founder of the advertising and idea agency The Weaponry, I appreciate a good challenge. And I realize it is my will to do things that makes them happen. Even if it takes 30 years.
*In case you couldn’t read my handwriting, this is what the note says:
Dear Mr. Bohi,
In 1988, in my first class with you, you said that money wasn’t that valuable. Specifically, you told us we couldn’t write a Shakespearean sonnet on a dollar bill. I want you to know: