Dear students,

Thank you for your interest in the Laws of Life Scholarship Contest sponsored by Templeton Press. We will not run our contest for the 2013–14 calendar school year. Please note, however, that Laws of Life contests hosted by other organizations may be taking place this year. You can see if any such contests will be held in your state or region by checking local newspapers, community bulletin boards, Facebook, with the youth pastor at your church, or with your school counselor.

We wish you the best of luck with all of your future endeavors.

Warmest regards,

The Templeton Press

2012–13 Winners

Dear students,

We want to thank you for submitting such inspiring and heartfelt essays and videos for our laws of life purpose contest.  We received over 3,500 entries, and given the caliber of the essays and videos, it was very, very difficult to choose the winners.

Many of you wrote in to thank us for holding the contest because you felt it helped you to think concretely about your unique qualities and how you can use them to live a purposeful life.

Sir John Templeton, our founder, would be very gratified to read that you found this writing exercise on purpose useful. He introduced the laws of life essay contest over 25 years ago because he believed there are a set of rules, ideals and principles which he called “the laws of life”  that should guide one in living a full and joyous existence. He felt that an essay contest was a good way to encourage young people to reflect on these principles.

We hope that writing this essay has helped all of you to reflect a bit on your purpose in life. As you get older, you may well find that your path to purpose changes. At this stage of your life, you may express a desire to be a teacher but later find that your calling has shifted and you want to be a minister. While the jobs may change, your search for purpose is a life- long enterprise.

As you move on to the next stage, you might want to look back on the passage we cited on the contest page, and that we include below, since it provides a set of strategies that will help you to keep your purpose in mind.

Once again, thank you for submitting your essays, and we wish you all the best as you move on to the next phase of your purpose filled life.

Warmest regards,
The Templeton Press

For both the written format contest and the video contest format, we’ll be awarding first, second, and third place scholarship prizes worth $5,000, $3,000, and $1,000, respectively. We were honored to receive to many inspiring and thought-provoking entries and it was a very difficult decision to select these winners.

Written entries

Video entries

  • 1st Place: Brenna Weaver
  • 2nd Place: Hannah Lackey
  • 3rd Place: Jasmine Llave

Final Thoughts

As you move forward with your life and your college career, we hope you’ll keep your purpose in mind. It may change, it may evolve, but so long as you have a purpose toward which you are constantly striving, you will have a sound foundation upon which a successful and fulfilling life can be built. To that end, we’ll offer you a final reminder of Sir John Templeton’s thoughts on purpose:

There is a simple way you can discover your special purpose in life. Draw up a list of all the qualities you value in yourself and that other people admire in you. If you’re a humorous person, you have the ability to uplift and entertain. If clear thinking is your strong suit and you’re skilled at developing ideas, accept this as a gift that can benefit those around you in many ways. Since we sometime think of ourselves as lacking in good qualities, it is important to dig a little to unearth those skills and talents that may lie hidden.

Next, examine the ways in which you interact with other people and make a list of those ways that work the best. Does it excite you to teach someone a skill that will help him? Do you enjoy simply listening while someone shares a problem with you? Are you happiest when organizing a group for a project, or perhaps when encouraging someone who feels hopeless about herself and her life?

Finally, imagine what your world would be like under the best of all possible circumstances. Would it be clean, peaceful, and productive? Form a mental picture of the world that you’d like you and your loved ones to live in, and write down that vision in as much specific detail as possible.

Your mission in life is to have a “why” to live for, to use your best qualities in the service of the kind of world in which you would like to live. That is your purpose. This is what life expects of you. And when you live according to your purpose, setting goals that support that purpose, you may find the pieces of your life drawn together into a strong internal whole. Then, no matter how difficult life’s experiences may prove to be, you will be able to endure and even prevail.