This quote is attributed to Socrates by Plato (according to Wikipedia). Socrates made this point as part of a wider discourse on the need to “converse about virtue” daily. In essence, to think, reflect and discuss life in the context of purpose and meaning.
There are many other similar quotes that illuminate the need for purpose and direction to make life relevant to oneself and those around you. “Where there is no vision, the people perish” (Proverbs 29:18).
And this from Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland:
“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.
“I don’t much care where–” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.
“–so long as I get SOMEWHERE,”Alice added as an explanation.
“Oh, you’re sure to do that,” said the Cat, “if you only walk long enough.”
We find this state of mind is prevalent in many of the people we meet who decide not to take up coaching or mentoring support. Not all; some people have a very clear flight plan and stick to it, never blown off course by the buffeting storms that inhabit the business world today.
For many though, they are tossed like a cork in the sea. Blown where the wind blows them, a hostage to events that are actually controllable if they had a direction to head in.
Our view is that every person, and every organisation should have a guiding vision, a sense of direction, a place to aim for. To achieve this they need to examine themselves thoroughly. To be ruthless and kind, harsh yet gentle, external and internal. To look through the cockpit window and say to themselves – this is where I am heading, no matter what.
I will end with another quote attributed to Socrates, as he seems to be able to sum it up better than I ever could:
“In every one of us there are two ruling and directing principles, whose guidance we follow wherever they may lead; the one being an innate desire of pleasure; the other, an acquired judgment which aspires after excellence.”
In business, we suggest you aspire to excellence through purpose. You might even find some pleasure in it.