A friend recently asked: “If a crystal ball could tell you the truth about you, your life, the future, or anything else, what would you want to know?”

There was a time not long ago, when I would have a host of questions for the said crystal ball. Questions around life, work, and such… You know the usual works.

But there’s something riveting about letting life unfold itself. Unlocking its hidden mysteries, twists, and turns. And then accepting for what comes your way.

You know, as a kid, I would play video games (Grand Theft Auto, Roller Coaster Tycoon, Delta Force — an endless list/if you know, you know :)); where you had to complete Level 1 before unlocking Level 2. In common parlance, get good with the current before moving on to the future.

Sure, there were cheat codes — video games speak for skipping certain levels — where you essentially ‘cheated the system’ and went to Level 2 without completing Level 1. Such cheat codes were fun, convenient, and nifty but they violated the norms of gaming (ask any serious gamer) and as such, never left you content and satisfied.

Such is with life.

The trials and tribulations, the joys and laughter, the tears and sweat of Level 1 simply prime you for unlocking Level 2 in life. It offers a rite of passage. Sure, you could deploy life’s cheat codes and go straight to Level 2. But would it even work? Would it proffer the same satisfaction that the grind of Level 1 would? And would you ever belong?

I think there’s something to be said for sticking it out; for embracing the new challenges that life throws every single day, and eventually doing so with a smile on your face. Distilled to its essence, aren’t these challenges what allow one to grow, and without growth wouldn’t life be bereft of meaning?

Victor Frankl, author of Man’s Search for Meaning mentions that, “Ultimately, man should not ask what the meaning of his life is, but rather must recognise that it is he who is asked.” Doing justice to Level 1 is ascribing meaning to our life today; looking at the crystal ball for answers is searching for meaning, that is at best flippant, and currently unavailable. Which one would you rather pick?

So, circling back to my friend’s question, what would I ask this crystal ball that wants to tell me about the future: Umm, would this said crystal ball fetch me a better price on eBay or Amazon?

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