My life’s epigram: ‘Stay driven yet grounded’

By Herman M. Lagon

“Stay driven yet grounded.” Such is a simple phrase, but it has given me direction and comfort amid life’s chaos, when dreams fly and reality bites. This personally crafted epigram has been my compass for the past decades; it is the product of my years spent reflecting as a lay collaborator in an Ignatian institution, working for the government, and my overall life experience. From virtual birthday greetings to official paperwork, I have spread this “quip” far and wide, hoping to leave an impression on everyone I have worked with, whether they were students, friends, or coworkers. It is a way of life, not just words.

The spirit of “staying driven” keeps us going; the will to stay alive and succeed comes from wanting to do good deeds not for personal gain but for the sake of something bigger than ourselves. Fighting for social justice, equality, and transformative change that helps the oppressed and the excluded is what it is all about. This motivation is not based on selfish or rooted ambition but on a faith that demands that we serve others with all that we have, strive for social justice, and prioritize our communities’ well-being.

Meanwhile, striving to be  “grounded” is a gentle reminder of humility and the importance of being connected through divine grace. Amid desires and the transience of life, it stresses the significance of staying loyal to one’s principles and spirituality. This is about seeing how we fit into the grand scheme of things, seeing that no matter how high we climb, we must always maintain our core, journey with the excluded, care for our common home, and honor the inherent dignity of every person.

Genuineness and self-awareness are also critical components of maintaining a grounded position. It requires us to regularly reflect on our lives and acknowledge all living things’ interdependence. With grace, this includes remaining steadfast in one’s beliefs and practices and controlling one’s emotions and behavior amid adversities.

A life lived passionately, purposefully, and flourishingly—with a compass powered by gratuitous generosity that points toward serving the greater good—is summed up by this equilibrium between being pushed and staying grounded. This is a call to action for everyone to stop daydreaming and start working for the world we imagine. For all of us, this can be a humbling reminder to put our egos aside, see the world through multiple lenses, and begin to change it from within to without. Hence, this shows how to live a life that palpably makes a difference with and for others.

Moreover, central to this worldview is the idea that one can achieve one’s goals while working to improve one’s community. What matters is that we work tirelessly toward these ends while firmly establishing ourselves on ideals that promote equity and fairness. Adopting this approach necessitates a constant balancing act—keeping one’s aspirations in check while remaining humble enough to serve and dream big while keeping one’s feet firmly planted in reality. But this road offers more than just material prosperity; it also guarantees a deep feeling of meaning and satisfaction.

And so, a life that is “driven yet grounded” balances and effectively combines professional aspirations with personal integrity and social duty. It is about deciding in a way that reflects our hopes and dreams for ourselves and the community. That is why believing and living out this epigram is an arduous journey that requires unwavering resolve, clarity of purpose, and moral fortitude. But it is worthwhile because it lays the groundwork for a life that matters and is genuinely satisfying.

Ultimately, I am sharing this epigram to strike a chord with everyone and inspire us to live in harmony with what is good, right, and just. It humbly encourages us to keep our feet firmly planted on the earth even while we aim for the stars. Our relentless quest for greatness may serve as a constant reminder that we must never compromise our integrity. Therefore, let us all work toward being ambitious yet realistic people committed to improving the world via our actions, one step at a time.


Doc H fondly describes himself as a ‘student of and for life’ who, like many others, aspires to a life-giving and why-driven world that is grounded in social justice and the pursuit of happiness. His views herewith do not necessarily reflect those of the institutions he is employed or connected with.


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