“Irresolution on the schemes of life which offer themselves to our choice, and inconstancy in pursuing them, are the greatest and most universal causes of all our disquiet and unhappiness. When ambition pulls one way, interest another, inclination a third, and perhaps reason contrary to all, a man is likely to pass his time but ill who has so many different parties to please. When the mind hovers among such a variety of allurements, one had better settle on a way of life that is not the very best we might have chosen, than grow old without determining our choice, and go out of the world, as the greatest part of mankind do, before we have resolved how to live in it. There is but one method of setting ourselves at rest in this particular, and that is by adhering steadfastly to one great end as the chief and ultimate aim of all our pursuits. If we are firmly resolved to live up to the dictates of reason, without any regard to wealth, reputation, or the like considerations, any more than as they fall in with our principal design, we may go through life with steadiness and pleasure; but if we act by several broken views, and will not only be virtuous, but wealthy, popular, and everything that has a value set upon it by the world, we shall live and die in misery and repentance.” – Joseph Addison, Spectator, No. 162
One of the hardest things to come to terms with in life, it seems, is singleness of purpose. Mind, body and heart are easily distracted as each, in the absence of unifying reason, tends to seek its own level.
The question, you see, is not “What do I want to get?”, “What do I want to achieve?” or “How did I want to be remembered?” The question each one must ask, if he wishes to know inner quiet and happiness, is: “According to which central purpose, which one great end, shall I live my life?”
The rest is just details.