Life Tip #138

Your life’s purpose may sound insane to most people.

One man’s insanity is another man’s dream, after all. But in the end, if you fulfill that dream, that purpose, you just might inspire others to pursue and find their own.

Center of the World, Felicity, CA

My son and I experienced two examples of this when we took a road trip from Tampa to San Diego a few summers ago. The first example occurred about as far southeast in California as you can go, in the tiny community of Felicity. The place calls itself the “Center of the World,” but it is also known for being the home of the Museum of History in Granite. This is one man’s seemingly crazy scheme to document the history of the world on outdoor granite panels (over 900 panels so far, each one 100 feet in length). There is a pyramid at the site, which the founder dubs as the official center of the universe. There is a bizarre church on a hill, a piece of the original stairwell of the Eiffel Tower, and more. It is Jacques-Andre Istel’s dream to document the history of the world permanently in granite. (Perhaps he envisions a day when all cyber and paper documents are lost, and he will have it all documented in granite carvings for the future of mankind…or perhaps for visitors to our planet.) It is far and away the most bizarre place my son and I have ever visited.

Leonard Knight, Creator of Salvation Mountain

Equally eccentric yet inspirational was our next stop, Salvation Mountain, in Niland, California (you may know it as the “God Is Love” mountain. This was one man’s dream of building his own unique monument to God. Leonard Knight was the creator of this 50-foot high by 150-foot wide manmade mountain. An amazing piece of gigantic art made of adobe clay and colorful paints, it is Knight’s way of sharing with the world his love for God, and to remind us of God’s love for us. It is one of the most unique works of art I have ever seen, and even more unique is the fact that it sits in the middle of one of the most desolate areas of the country.

Please check out both of these insane places online, and then in person if you ever get the chance. Just don’t visit them in the summer like we did, however; it was 115 degrees Fahrenheit the day we visited.

While your purpose in life may not be as mainstream, or as conventional, as the purposes of Gandhi, Martin Luther King, or even Steve Jobs, your purpose—no matter how unconventional—can still impact a lot of lives. In fact, maybe the more outlandish your ideas and methods, the more attention it will garner. Leonard Knight’s Salvation Mountain has been depicted in at least one popular movie, Into the Wild.

The next time you catch yourself pooh-poohing your grand ideas, just remember that even the most bizarre ideas—like those of Jacques-Andre Istel and Leonard Knight—can inspire, educate, and entertain many thousands of people.

Salvation Mountain, Niland, CA

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