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A Meaningful Life Requires Conflict


for the curious about life and leading others

A Meaningful Life Requires Conflict

Jared Kirkwood

What do Simba, Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen have in common? Their story is a meaningful pursuit filled with challenge, for the purpose of others. To live a meaningful life is a worthy pursuit, and all worthy pursuits will require certain things of us. 

All movies we watch have four basic elements: protagonist, ambition, conflict, and resolution. There’s a main character who wants something and overcomes conflict to accomplish it. Have you ever considered that the vast majority of every story is conflict? Why is that? Because conflict is what develops the character into who they need to become and why we are so happy to root for them at the end. Another way to say it is conflict is what makes the story worth telling. 

We face an extreme challenge at this point. Our culture is designed to eliminate challenge, reduce the amount of time spent on tasks, and to remove barriers. Our society is potentially robbing people of the character development necessary to accomplish anything that matters. Could it possible that life is intended to have challenging experiences that just might serve a purpose in our development? To take it one step further - the greater the ambition we have for others, the greater the conflict in our story that produces our character.

Take a moment and think about the experiences in your life that have shaped you the most. Were they absent of challenge? Of course not. So why would life be any different for teenagers today? A meaningful life will come at a cost. To live a life of purpose is expensive, not in money but in choices. And a meaningful life demands challenge, it requires conflict, and it produces the best character when adversity it present. 

What would it look like for us to choose the hard stuff in life? To understand that a meaningful pursuit will be matched with purposeful conflict. How can you encourage someone today to shift their perspective about the conflict they face?