Life in New York is faster than Andy Roddick’s fastest serve. You get up in the morning, get your cup of coffee (after which is when you really wake up), take a shower and off to work. You work hard all the day and by the time you come back home, it’s dark. You watch some TV, think about dinner, eat it and in a bit, sleep. Daybreak, you wake up again and for what happens thereafter, you should restart reading from the beginning of this article. Life goes on like this and year after year, you start doing this when you were barely 20, and soon a decade has gone by. As decades go by, you will one day be 50 when you will feel you are moving swiftly towards old age. Life had started and for the most part, is over. Maybe that’s when some start thinking, what have I achieved, what did I want, is what I thought I wanted really what I wanted and if so, am I sure that I wanted the right thing? Of course, as long as a single breath remains in the body, it is still possible to make a change, but the time that has been lost is not coming back.
The questions about what one really wants and what is the purpose of ones life, must come a lot earlier than 50. And when they come, a sincere attempt must be made to answer these questions. Ignoring them or procrastinating is a big mistake for which the object (the person questioning) would pay dearly. How many of us actually ask these questions and out of those who do, how many make attempts to answer them, on a regular basis. And of those that do try to answer them, how many evaluate how much they have been deviating from working towards what they really want. My guess is, very few. I am pretty sure many of us, rather most of us, ask these questions, at least once in a while, but a far less number actually take them seriously. This is because the activities of daily life are time consuming and need instant attention, while these questions, one assumes, can be left for tomorrow. This is a mistake. These questions deserve a way higher priority than what they usually get. They must be the shaping elements of our lives.
The answers to questions such as ‘What do I want in life?’ cannot be material. These questions are higher than material things or accomplishments, Of course, material achievements may be a subset of the answer. The few things I can think of as essential to achieve in this life are, to attempt to achieve ones potential to the fullest, to be sincere and honest in ones attempts and to oneself and those around. To try to recognize ones true self and to know where one stands. To attempt to conquer ones bad qualities, for e.g. to try to avoid herd-instinct and have a conviction of ones own. There could be more and I am sure there are. But thinking of these answers doesn’t do much on its own, unless a sincere attempt is made to apply them in daily life, and finally absorb them and make them a part of life. To base all ones actions on these principles. Then these principles may enevelope the achievement of a material goal, such as becoming a CEO of a company. Success obtained without the application of these principles is not success and the realization of this will come, sooner or later.
My hope is that it will be sooner, rather than later.
- Siddhartha Azad. (7/31/2004)