I am an achiever. I go after results. Over the years, I’ve seen that this mindset of being driven by a purpose puts a strain – physically and mentally. That is when I started to study the lives of accomplished seers and learned a fundamental truth.
At the highest level of self-actualization, you have everything, you live in a world of abundance: everything in you and surrounding you is complete in itself. You have to be aware and welcome the opportunities.You are a master chef, you can make the best meal from the ingredients you have with you.
This learning of seers had me riveted. It made me go into ions of self-reflection. Everything we chase in life – goals, objectives, and prosperity do not matter at the end. Now that this concept has stuck with me, I see examples of it all around. Just recently, came across two new ones:
A movie star after achieving initial success focused on making the next movie a bigger hit than the previous one. After a string of successes, he asked a question – Is this life? There has to be something beyond.
An entrepreneur launched several successful companies. Success followed him. Then he came to a similar conclusion, is this life?
Some like the Buddha went through this phase of self-reflection and recentered life.
Many others became dejected.
But, here is a secret…
To lead a purposeful life, you do not have to go to the extreme of giving up everything, give up goals or become a hermit. Instead, all you need to do is ride the pleasure-purpose roller coaster. Let me explain.
- In our daily lives, we execute activities which are pleasure oriented. Watching a movie, seeing your favorite team play, indulging in that bowl of ice cream fall under this definition of pleasure-oriented activities.
- Then, there are activities which are purpose-oriented: going to work, attending a parent-teacher meeting, shuttling your kids for their coaching sessions.
- There is a third type which has both pleasure and purpose in them – performing community service, helping someone in need, spending time with your loved ones.
Life becomes purposeful when you have a mix of both. Watching movies back to back for 24 hours or continuously eating ice cream will not catapult your pleasure.
Working non-stop, while purposeful will not quadruple your joy.
Start oscillating pleasure and purpose in your daily life. After a hard day at work, why not turn on your favorite show on TV? Why not spend time over the weekend engaging in an hour or so of community service or help?
Do not over analyze purposeful or pleasure activities. Just execute them. Options Paralysis can creep in. This is when you have too many things on your to-do list or to-be accomplished list. They leave you with an inner feeling of lack or craving.
Back to my own example, Have I given up being a results-oriented person? Of course not. Never. The difference though is I do not over analyze them anymore. I’m focused on execution, I like to be and live in the space and not worry about the outcome.
In closing, don’t fall into the thought process that a spiritual life means giving up pleasures.
You feel like having some ice-cream? Go for it. Pleasure and Purpose in the correct doses increase joy and there is no limit to it. Another positive attribute – it strengthens your ability to achieve whatever you aspire for.
Do you have any comments or thoughts about this article? Please do share in the comments below.