The Connection between Evolution and Purpose

Posted on September 18, 2015 by Robert Ringer


My last article about the origin of the universe raised a lot of interesting questions from readers. One, in particular, caught my attention. A reader who goes by the name of Joseph wrote, among other things:

“The meaning and purpose of life comes from you … I do believe that if life or existence is about anything, it is about … evolvement. Whatever meaning or purpose you give to your life, as long as it allows you to evolve as a human being, then I believe you are in harmony with life.”

Joseph finished by asking my thoughts about what he had written. The short answer is that I believe his comments were very insightful. People have been asking about the meaning of life from time immemorial, but since we know very little about our origins (i.e., if you set aside theories — big bang, evolution, etc. — and focus on fact). More important, from a first-cause point of view, we know absolutely nothing about why we’re here.

That being the case, instead of constantly reaching for the stars (again, the closest star is more than 25 trillion miles away!), we would be much better off focusing on what’s inside our own heads. If there’s one thing I’ve learned about life, it’s that thoughts really are things.

Thoughts are, in fact, the forerunners of our actions. Depending upon the nature of your thoughts, they lead you to either good or bad decisions … good or bad actions … good or bad people … and good or bad situations.

Who determines whether a decision is good or bad? You.

Who determines whether an action is good or bad? You.

Who determines whether a person is good or bad? You.

Who determines whether a situation is good or bad? You.

That’s right — you are the sole judge and jury when it comes to determining whether something is good or bad as it pertains to your own life. Obviously, this is not a popular position to take, but manmade laws and institutionalized mores regarding what is right … or fair … or just … or moral have proven to be very poor guidelines for exemplary behavior. In fact, freedom-loving people could make a strong case that many, if not most, of such laws and mores are in direct contrast to their code of ethics.

I should add that when I say you should determine your own code of behavior, it goes without saying that that does not give you a license to impinge on the rights of your fellow man. But other than this natural-law caveat, in a world saturated with what one is tempted to describe as “evil,” it’s up to you to be the guardian of your most sacred asset — your mind.

So, yes, I agree with Joseph’s observation. Perhaps the most meaningful life you can live — a life in which purity and self-satisfaction prevail — is to focus on your own evolution. I began doing this many years ago when I decided that what I wanted more than anything else was to constantly strive to be a better husband, a better father, a better son, and a better friend.

For many years now, I’ve tried not to worry too much about what others think. What is far more important to me is how I feel about myself. Overall, I believe that I’ve done pretty well in the above areas, but I admit that I have still fallen far short of where I would like to be.

So I constantly question myself about my shortcomings, and I’ve come to the conclusion that one of the most important things you can do to maximize your personal evolution is to not allow the bad actions of others to distract you — and, in extreme actions, dominate your thoughts.

When it comes to human interaction, I’ve been more fortunate than most, because over the past four decades I have, on the whole, been treated extremely well — not only by the thousands of readers who have sent me letters and emails thanking me for making valuable contributions to their lives, but by an untold number of people who have said similar things to me in person.

Even so, there are a handful of people who have succeeded in getting under my skin over the years, people whom I believe have had bad intentions. As just one example, I once had some unpleasant business dealings with an attorney (“Marty”) who got a great deal of media attention as a result of his wheeling and dealing in the public-company arena.

I hadn’t seen or heard anything about him in years, when one day I happened to be getting a haircut at the Beverly Hills Hotel and, from out of the blue, my barber said to me, “Did you read what (“Marty”) had to say about you in his new book?” I told him that I didn’t even know he had written a book, and that I had no interest in hearing what he had to say about me or anyone else.

Subsequently, a mutual acquaintance mentioned that Marty had been spreading an outrageous lie about me. Though it annoyed me a great deal at the time, I made a conscious, rationally selfish decision to ignore it. Whether his bad-mouthing of me was based on jealousy, an attempt to piggyback onto my fame, or just plain, old-fashioned malevolence, I have no idea. In any event, I struck Marty completely out of my mind after that.

But a few months ago, a friend happened to mention his name to me in a conversation, and guess what? He told me that Marty had died nearly twenty-five years ago of a very rare, very painful disease.

Let me assure you that I did not feel a sense of happiness when I found out that Marty had long ago come to such an unpleasant ending. Nor did I assume it was a result of bad karma, because that kind of thing is way beyond my moral jurisdiction. However, what did cross my mind was how glad I was that I hadn’t wasted any time thinking about him all these years, because, as it turned out, the guy wasn’t even alive!

The moral for me is that it’s a waste of time to obsess over negative people, negative circumstances, or negative events. It makes much more sense to focus on evolving as a human being. Not evolving as others might want you to evolve — or as some of our institutions might want you to evolve — but evolving in ways that make you feel good about yourself.

Forget about the bad guys (bad guys by your standards) and focus on the kind of healthy thoughts and actions that attract good people into your life. If you make a conscious effort to be the best spouse you can be, the best parent you can be, the best son or daughter you can be, and the best friend you can be, everything else will pretty much fall into place.

As I said in my last article, just throw the bad stuff to the universe. It’s quite capable of handling everything you can send its way. By making this a habit, it will allow you to use your time to nourish the good stuff and strive to perfect those qualities that make you feel good about yourself and thus evolve as a person.

Given that we don’t know why we’re here, the case for personal evolution as a worthwhile purpose in life would seem to have a great deal of merit. Thanks for reminding me, Joseph.

Robert Ringer

Robert Ringer is an American icon whose unique insights into life have helped millions of readers worldwide. He is also the author of two New York Times #1 bestselling books, both of which have been listed by The New York Times among the 15 best-selling motivational books of all time.

18 responses to “The Connection between Evolution and Purpose”

  1. Chotaharti says:

    I'm a follower and fan Robert. Here's my take on the subject:

    From the perspective of Reality, you don't need any human criteria to achieve the purpose of your life.

    Those who have experienced Reality are no longer bound by faith, hope, or belief, morality or ethics, or any other second hand human notion of their individual purpose. To those who have experienced Reality these are all automatic "givens", the personal fruits, attributes you are granted individually by knowing Reality.

    Reality is enough, in my experience, though it seems to be a spontaneous event in human lives and comes unbidden and apparently even undeserved by human standards.

    "The Cloud of Unknowing" suggests the only thing Seekers can do is to meditate, contemplate, pray and read … Christians are told to "wait and watch". Others say you can be given the experience by teachers but I think the jury is still definitely out on that.

    Maybe the physicists will eventually come up with an understanding of the phenomena from studies currently being made in universities around the world. Of all the scientists, academics and serious students of the phenomena of Reality, the physicists seem to be the nearest to a primary definition of Reality but even then they are only uncovering what Reality -experiencers and others have been reporting for thousands of years BC.

    In the meantime, as those who have experienced Reality might agree: All is Well.

    Best wishes, Keith Hancock, publisher,

  2. larajf says:

    I agree. If we truly want to evolve, we have to live our lives such that we can look ourselves in the mirror & feel we did the right thing. If not, we can learn and make a different choice when it comes up again. And I loved the bit about Marty. It's true. We give so many other people and situations power over our brains. It's time to evict them and only focus on the thoughts that help us.

  3. Larry Mullins says:

    In my judgment, Viktor Frankl had the best answer to the question, "What is the meaning of life?" Certainly not in opposition to any of the ideas above, but an excellent concept to ponder. He wrote: "This is a question we must not ask, but rather seek to answer."

  4. Philip Pizzurro says:

    What is the meaning of life?" … to prepare the way for the next generation.

  5. ClaudeA says:

    If we are reality-based, then our perspective is from the point that we are creatures, not self-existent, as evolution attempts to fantasize. Ever meet anyone who determined before their conception that they would exist? Ever figure out how to guarantee your next heart beat? Ever wonder what the next five minutes has in store for you?

    Then by definition you are created, not self-existing. Now that you know an external being made you, planned for you to exist, and keeps you alive to this moment, relax, the rest of your existence matter to Creator, not you, not anyone else. Now, simply accept the reality of your Being, and do what Creator plainly does for you for everyone Creator leads you to meet.

    Wah La! End of war! Abundance abounds everywhere! Religion is DEAD! Let's Repeat – "Religion Is DEAD"!

    So too is speculation about why and what and how we exist – it simply does not matter to us! It only matter sto Creator, so that being so, all frustration and speculation about self is moot. Live fully in this moment – not the last one – nor try to live in the next one – then Life is simple, easy, and awesome!

    Try to find a better Life!

    Well, no, enjoy the one Creator gives you with each heart beat. Be thankful for each one, too!:-)


    I do not trust social logins, so respond here and I'll be listening.

  6. Stogie says:

    The purpose of life is joy. It's best not to overthink it. Trust the Universe to know what it's doing.

  7. Paul Herring says:

    If you believe in the Creator (which I do) it's abundantly clear from the Bible what is the meaning/purpose of life. God, whose name in the Bible is Jehovah, gave Adam & Eve the mandate to procreate and in time fill the earth with perfect offspring as they were when given that assignment. Also they were to have in subjection the animals and to cultivate the Earth and take care of it. What we have now is a far cry from all of that because of Adam & Eve's decision to disobey one of God's specific commands.

    Even so, that mandate hasn't changed, and in time God will ensure that it will come to fruition. Where does this fit in with the meaning of life now? Again, the Bible provides clear direction for those who want to do things God's way: Jehovah wants these to 'preach the good news' to all who will listen and once done to God's satisfaction, Mark 13:10 tells us that 'the end will come'. The end of what? The system man has built on the earth which hasn't truly worked from Day 1. It's now worse than ever and with respect to readers here, it isn't rocket science to discern hat our system is coming to an end – with or without God's help.

    The purpose or meaning of life then? Look into the Bible, discern what God wants of us and then do it. There is no more noble cause.

  8. Scuffy Rubric says:

    As I stated in Roberts last article, no one has yet to my satisfaction explained "why" we are here. Not the Bible, not any book, or anyone. If someone can post the answer: Congratulations, you are the wisest person who has ever lived. Even Jeshua never told us. He told us what to do, but not why – unless you count it's just good to be nice, and it will help you in eternity. But it still doesn't answer the question.

    So with that in mind, and as Robert always gets to have cool theories, I will repeat my Theory: The "Penal Colony Theory". This to me seems like a "prison" of some sort – we are held here by the Matrix, an invisible "fence" around the earth, which separates us from other dimensions. Your skull is the prison for your mind, yet you think you are free? Your life essence floats around this dimension just over 5 feet above the ground, locked into this atmosphere. So whether you like it or not, you are locked into this earth plane – a prison for your soul. If you want to leave, just check out.

    But where will your soul go upon the check out? That is why, no matter how bad things may seem here, how do you know they won't be worse on the other side? That's why anyone who is thinking of checking out early, should definitely reexamine that decision. Just being alive, relatively healthy and breathing air, should be enough for one to want to fight for every breath while you are trying to figure this out – and in the meantime, remember – don't let the bastards grind you down…

  9. Thank you so very much, Mr. Ringer, for underscoring a basc problem of mine, and of my father before me. He was and I am a "brooder"! I obssess over negattives, even though I try to let them go. How many years I may have wasted, cumulatively, now that I am old! Probably years spend "brooding" over negatives. Don't do as I do, do as I say: don't be a brooder like me!
    I'm better now, but still not cured. Thanks again, Mr. Ringer!

  10. Great article and thoughts, as usual, Robert. For me, the Bible explains the Universe and all of existence, including ourselves, exquisitely. I have always thought that your thinking reflects a Biblical perspective. I've thought that since I read WTI in 1979. You always seemd on the verge.

  11. ◄Dave► says:

    Why should I care what others think?
    Most clueless sheeple don’t.
    Emoters choose instead to feel,
    Dogmatic faithful won’t. ◄Dave►

  12. JOSEPH says:

    Robert, it was my pleasure! I have read all of your books and they have helped me enormously. Regarding this article I'm glad you told the story of someone that you didn't see eye to eye with and what that reminds me of is that we can ALLOW other people to take away from our peace of mind or not. I know that in my own life I have been guilty of making the mistake of allowing people to get to me but I made a conscious to decision a long time ago not to allow people to bother me inside. -and I know that this is an issue for all of us. So, I'm glad you mentioned that with respect to what we can do for our own evolution and happiness as human beings because our peace of mind is obviously very important in the life that we live.

  13. Albert says:

    Great read Robert…if only everyone would focus on "evolving" themselves as opposed to forcefully trying to change others via laws, decrees, peer pressure, and other intstruments of coercion that so-called "do-gooders" like to put over others, the world would be a much better place. As the saying goes, "The road to hell is paved with good intentions." Please, enough already…no more good intentions…

  14. Jim says:

    Robert, you always make me think deeper, Thank You!

  15. Tom says:

    This is one to be read again and again.

  16. Hal Shaffer says:

    Excellent blog post . I absolutely like this site . Keep writing!