Crafting an concrete, inspiring, meaningful, and memorable purpose statement

Greg Mckeown on how to craft a good purpose statement in his book Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less:

That said, when it comes to achieving clarity of purpose, inspiration does matter. When we think of inspiration, we often think of lofty rhetoric. But while rhetoric can certainly inspire, we need to remember that concrete objectives have the power to elevate and inspire as well. A powerful essential intent inspires people partially because it is concrete enough to answer the question, “How will we know when we have succeeded?”

Some examples of mediocre and good purpose statements:

As the class reviewed more than one hundred examples, they noticed that some of the most grandiose were actually the least inspiring. For example, one had the mission to “eliminate hunger in the world,” but given that there were just five people in the organization, the mission felt like little more than empty words. Then out of the cluttered landscape of such loose idealism came a statement we all immediately understood and were inspired by. It was from a slightly unexpected place: the actor/ social entrepreneur Brad Pitt, who, appalled by the lack of progress in rebuilding New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina, had started an organization called “Make It Right” with the essential intent “to build 150 affordable, green, storm-resistant homes for families living in the Lower 9th Ward.” That statement took the air out of the room. The concreteness of the objective made it real. The realness made it inspiring. It answered the question: “How will we know when we have succeeded?”