This is a blog post by Floh member, Prashant. Learn more at www.floh.in (a network that connects singles in real life)
If this sounds like the beginnings of a self improvement book, it isn’t! Not that I have anything against them. In fact, some of our ancient literary works are profoundly instructive in this regard which is probably why they’ve stood the test of time. For me personally, work has always been important and finding purpose here has been an elusive quest. I have often found it amazing how some people are able to discover their true calling almost by accident. Few others are truly gifted to be practically born with it.
This quest for purpose might not be a unique problem to have although the inability to find a neat solution makes each of us unhappy in our own different ways. Frankly, I had little reason to be in such a predicament. I’ve had access to great education, a supportive family who backed my choices, and everything that one could expect to set oneself up for a satisfying career. And yet, here I was, not a recent college graduate but someone who had worked for over a decade, struggling to figure out what I can do that can give me joy and love hence purpose (this sequence would be ideal).
Seeking a solution, I tried many of the usual hacks – books, advise from family and friends, even remote acquaintances, and seeking out mentors who I thought might be well placed to provide good advice. What I learnt most through this period, however, was the need to give and meet new people oneself time for reflection. Change, after all, can be disruptive and disorienting and requires careful planning. I discovered that reconnecting with the things I enjoyed most was very helpful as a process. High on this list had been trekking in the Himalayas. I recall telling a close friend about how the tranquility and scenic vistas might help resolve those inner demons. He, ever helpful, very kindly advised me that I was more likely to find my answer during a cold morning shower (there’s some good history to back that theory if you know about Archimedes but that’s another story).
Eventually, and many cold showers later, my quest led me to pursue a long standing desire to strike out and explore the world of entrepreneurship. Not a path breaking decision given the times we live in but a radical one nonetheless given my own background. This does not mean that purpose has been found. Merely that an important step has been taken in that direction. The quest remains, very much, a work in progress.
I can say, however, that the journey was illuminating in learning more about one’s willingness and capacity to accept and adapt to drastic change. I gained a valuable lesson along the way – that while skills and technique can help us excel in our initial years, it is temperament that helps us brave the decades that follow and find satisfaction in what we do. I suppose some of these lessons are just as relevant to our personal lives and our relationships. Its just that, for some of us, this journey with your partner has been longer and more convoluted than we might have expected. We all learn… perhaps slowly, but surely.
As a parting thought, I can’t think of a more interesting message than this one by Ralph Waldo Emerson – “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honourable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”