Did you ever notice that most of us live a life borrowed on someone else’s idea and we don’t even realize it? Say as a kid, your father is in a particular profession or you take a fancy to something. You want to be that without realizing what it’s all about. You grow up with that as your sub-conscious.
You adopt that idea and cling on to it for your dear life. After that your whole education and development revolves around that very idea. If your inner self tries to stray away from that path, you brutally stop it. You might think those who pass out of IITs and IIMs are the coolest people around and strive to be like them. Or you decide it’s just money or doing what society thinks is hot or right.
That way most of us succeed in doing what we set out to do without realizing that our inner self never wanted that in the first place. It’s like that small boy in the car ad who knows at what age he’s going to become vice president and what age he’ll be CEO and the car that goes along with it. That’s a pretty sad life. Growing up is all about knowing nothing and discovering who you are, what you want and your place in the world, one bit at a time, one layer at a time.
We usually realize pretty late in life that we are on the wrong path and then think nothing can be done. You’re already climbing up the career ladder. There are bills and EMIs to pay and at this age it’s too much of a risk. Then life becomes drudgery, everything is a routine and only “duty” that has to be done. Desires kept getting suppressed till they reach the bottom of the soul. On your deathbed you say, “If only I had done that…” and you die with unfulfilled wishes. Do those unfulfilled wishes lead to another life which leads to another death with unfulfilled wishes ad infinitum?
What stops you from doing what you really want deep down within right now?
That way America, which many Indians see as morally bankrupt, is really spiritually enriched. There people keep asking themselves what they really want and keep trying newer and newer things all the time. It’s common for people to have changed their careers 5-6 times in their lifetime. It’s common for people to just quit and backpack for 6 months. People do crazy things and become legends. That’s why America is the most successful nation on Earth. A nation that does what it really wants.
When I hear for the umpteenth time “I would do exactly what I wanted to do if I had more money…” I ask a question.
“What would you do with your life if you suddenly inherited Rs 10 crore?”
“Buy a swank house, buy a swank car…”
“That’s fine, all those are material things… what will you do with the way you lead your life?”
Then the answers I get are: Do social service… start a business… travel lots… take a sabbatical… teach… start fresh at the bottom of another career… write a book…
Nothing usually beyond that…
Then I ask them again, “So what stops you from doing that right now? You don’t need Rs 10 crore for any of that!”
That stumps them.
Sometimes I think we are more scared of success and fulfillment rather than failure and nonfulfillment.
© Sunil Rajguru