What is success? Working at a multinational corp that pays in buckets of gold? Starting your own company and calling yourself a “founder” of something that has a hip new name? Or getting married in your early twenties, and starting a family?
Your answers might differ, depending on your social circle, the norms of your community, the career trends being followed in your country or simply by the profession of your parents. But is there an answer that isn’t influenced by these hidden forces? Can we find an answer that is ‘absolutely correct’ as opposed to ‘relatively correct’? What I mean by the word ‘absolutely’ here is not the right answer, but an answer that doesn’t sway with the changing winds of contrasting opinions you hear, an answer that has its roots deep in ground so that it won’t be affected by anything around it. And maybe, just maybe, if we can find an answer so unbendable, we might just find what your life really means. Dare I say that our unbendable answer might break in case of unexpected thunderstorms, but it will hold true for as long as it stands.
Religion says that people were created to serve their God, but then religion also tells you the minute details of right and wrong that apply in your daily dealings, when you are living your life and not praying. So its okay to do things other than just praying? Which means praying isn’t the only goal of life. But then what else? We have been told by ‘religion’ to try to gain knowledge. Not of what or how or when but just knowledge, and we are supposed to overcome any odds that stop us from learning. This means we can learn anything we want, and we should keep on learning, whats in the universe, what makes up our bodies, and possibly the meaning of life too?
We have two options so far, to make the goal ‘gaining knowledge’ or to define the goal individually after you gain knowledge about the world, its people, the life after death, etc. But then what about the people who ARE defining it themselves? The people who are using the information from people around them, that influence makes them choose their goal. How do we differentiate following other sheep in a flock from actually thinking about what life is and using the experiences of the people around you to forge your our own path, a path which might well be exactly the same as that of your flock?
One solution seems obvious, don’t just take inputs from the people that surround you, but also take the same proportion of input from the whole world. It might include an opinion from someone on the other side of the globe, the careers trends being followed by the world, not just your community, and the wisdom of incorruptible minds from all of time. Minds that were able to see things the way that other people couldn’t see. Minds that had the strength to question power, and religion, and human psyche.
Da Vinci, Allama Iqbal, Rumi, Khalil Gibran, James Allen, and more that I don’t know of yet…
Now I can’t mention their names and not share, even if only a sliver, of their wisdom. So here goes:
The law of harvest is to reap more than you sow. Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.
Circumstances do not make the man, they reveal him.
For true success ask yourself these four questions: Why? Why not? Why not me? Why not now?
It doesn’t work for me because it’s not motivating me to do anything. I can ask myself these questions but it is fairly easy to slip back into the eternal procrastination state after I’ve done that.
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
A tranquil thought for people on the edge of life, deliberating death. Reminds one of the things that long them apart from anything human.
Work is love made visible.
This one is actually related to finding your purpose in life. When deciding a path, narrow down your options by asking yourself this: Would I love doing this?
Khalil Gibran is also famous for his poems, they are like philosophical short stories. Here’s one for the people whose life means starting a family and raising kids.
And a woman who held a babe against her bosom said, “Speak to us of Children.”
And he said:
Your children are not your children.
They are the sons and daughters of Life’s longing for itself.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to you.
You may give them your love but not your thoughts.
For they have their own thoughts.
You may house their bodies but not their souls,
For their souls dwell in the house of tomorrow, which you cannot visit, not even in your dreams.
You may strive to be like them, but seek not to make them like you.
For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday.
You are the bows from which your children as living arrows are sent forth.
The archer sees the mark upon the path of the infinite, and He bends you with His might that His arrows may go swift and far.
Let your bending in the archer’s hand be for gladness;
For even as he loves the arrow that flies, so He loves also the bow that is stable.
The only association I have with Rumi’s work stems from the book by Elif Shafaq, The forty rules of love. And even that wasn’t really about Rumi, it was about his friend Shams of Tabrez. So I don’t directly know what his work is about. But lets find out…
If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?
A lot of us are looking for a comfortable life, a life where you have no worries. But that comfort comes on the price of letting go true happiness. Sure you can find a place where you will be safe but you won’t experience the highs of life either if you want to avoid the lows. I suppose a life full of highs and lows is like a polished mirror.
What we finally know is, we can’t depend on the people of our present to determine our path in life, we have to look at the wisdom of those before us, and the vision of those who can see into the future no matter where they are on earth. But most importantly, we gotta find our own voice in the storm.