In continuation of my last post, allow me to share with you my thoughts on the single most crucial trait, happy and successful people possess. It’s the lowest common denominator. If you examine the lives of the greatest inventors or the wealthiest people, the most charismatic leaders, or the finest artists, they all had or have it. As I write this article, not one but two such traits come to mind. I’ll cover the more important one today.
Every single happy person, and every successful person, without fail, has a sense of individual purpose, almost a sort of passion. Look around, and you’ll know what I mean. Often, it’s not even a grand plan or a gigantic goal; it is merely something they love doing. Whether that’s feeding the poor or following the stars, ice hockey or scuba diving, coding software or writing books, dancing or doodling, soccer or stitching, it doesn’t matter. They are passionate about something.
Their passion in life keeps them busy, keeps them engaged. This passion and their aspirations make them feel wanted; make them feel worthwhile, meaningful and fulfilled. And when you feel complete within, the external environment matters much less. Your inner peace and joy flow unimpeded; not because you think you’ll accomplish your goal, but because you have something to look forward to.
It leads me to an essential point about human nature:
Everyone wants to look forward to something. In happy relationships, two partners look forward to meeting each other, and a happy employee looks forward to a promotion, an author looks forward to getting published, an athlete looks forward to competing, and so forth. When one has nothing to look forward to, life feels dull, worthless, and boring.
That’s why people who have been betrayed in a relationship, for example, often start searching for another person soon after they have only partially recovered because they want to look forward to someone again. That’s why many people, especially the ones with no pastime or purpose, feel restless and nugatory after retirement because they don’t have a routine to look forward to. When you find your passion and purpose, this empty feeling stops haunting you. It’s almost like gaining boundless personal freedom.
Often when I ask depressed or sad people if they have a passion in life, they tell me they have none. No matter what suggestions I come up with, they keep shaking their heads. I can’t help such people because they haven’t given any meaning to their own existence. No one is born with a definitive purpose or a passion. Those who are committed to living happily, make a conscious attempt to discover it, cultivate it, and protect it.
Many join cooking classes, while some learn salsa; many get into meditation while some go rock climbing.
Once you undertake an activity, you may discover that it’s not what you wanted, and that’s fine; you won’t know until you do it. Once you discover your purpose and you stick at it long enough, eventually, the most miraculous thing happens — it stops being an activity and becomes a state of mind; instead, a blissful emotional and mental state.
To the average viewer and non-player, for instance, two people playing chess appear stressed and deep in thought. They are not smiling; they are not laughing, why, they are not even moving. But, the truth is, they are immensely enjoying this war of the minds; they are almost in an orgasmic state of ecstasy. They wouldn’t trade it in for anything else in the world. An artist, a basketball player, a yogi, a musician — they all feel differently, in the same manner.
You may seek out suggestions from others, but ultimately, you will have to make some effort to discover your niche — your passion. If you are serious about finding out what you stand for, you have to work at it. Others can’t give it to you; they can’t do it for you. They can only tell you — often incorrectly.
The whole village was against Mulla Nasrudin’s unconventional ways. Finally, he was brought before a bench of five wise people who were regarded as the heads of moral authority. They insisted that the scriptures had the final word and that Mulla should not preach his own interpretations, but follow the teachings of the sages before him.
“Your Excellency, I’ll gladly accept their judgment if the five wise ones can answer a simple question for me.”
The king nodded.
“What is bread?” Mulla asked. “If each of the five can answer, I’ll be most obliged.”
“It’s a type of food,” said one.
“It’s a mixture of flour, water and yeast,” said another.
“Bread is a blessing from God.”
“It is the fundamental necessity of human life.”
“It can mean many things,” said the fifth one. “There’s no one clear definition.”
“Your Majesty,” said Mulla. “If the five wisest savants can’t agree on something as simple as bread, how are they to tell me the meaning of the scriptures?”
You can’t hope to have your life’s answers from others. If you discuss it with six people, they’ll tell you seven different things.
I’m not saying they don’t mean to help you or that they will misguide you. You can take their suggestions on board, but ultimately, an individual passion is what you need to discover on your own. It’s a private matter, an intimate affair. It’s your business alone.
If I ask you what you stand for, what will you say? What do you really stand for?
What is that one thing you live for, something which, without, even life isn’t worth it? And, what you stand for can’t be another person because if your passion is just another person when he or she changes or withdraws, your entire life will come crumbling down like a house of cards. Your purpose should be bigger than a person. Ideally, it should even be bigger than you. You’ll feel free, worthwhile, and meaningful then.
You’ll feel full of life.
So, what do you stand for? Go on, discover it.
What should I do with my life? Is there any meaning to my existence?
Most of our regrets/unhappiness in life stem from feeling unmotivated, directionless, not having a passion or a purpose.
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You may find some insight here if you are on the quest of discovering what you stand for:
What should do with my life, how do I discover my purpose?
One tiny act of kindness here, one gesture of affection there, a word uttered out of compassion; some help you extended someone. Assisting an old person or a disabled person cross the road, or just letting the lady with a child behind you to check-in before you at the airport, all these make up the purpose of our lives.
Don’t wait for your purpose to approach you. Purpose is not a debt-collector or a credit card offer to come to you uninvited. It’s more like a Nobel prize. You have to earn your purpose. Work for it, be ready for it.
Read more here.
What should I do with my life to be happy?
In all human endeavors, in everything that we do, often, our real goal is to eventually experience happiness. Ever wondered what the secret of happy people is? While there’s no secret of happiness, there are some guidelines. Discover the 5 Principles of happiness. Read more here.
How do I give direction to my life, what should I do with my life?
The answer is rather simple, here: Care about something.
“A person’s life can be meaningful only if he or she cares fairly deeply about some things, only if he or she is gripped, excited, interested, engaged.” Whatever we care deeply about becomes our life’s purpose, its meaning and gives one a sense of direction. It’s really that simple. Read more here.
No matter what I do, my past haunts me. What should I do with my life to shed my past and move forward?
We must journey towards light with hope and compassion for ourselves and others. This is the only way to leave our shadow behind us. Forgive yourself for the mistakes of the past. Go easy. This will do you much good and will help you do good for others, which in the long run can only ever be a good thing. Read more here.
I am just tired of everything in life, what should I do with my life to make it more liveable?
Many among us feel that the current life is not the best kind, that we are working towards something else, some moment after which we won’t have to do things we don’t like.
If you wish to live your ideal life, first devote every ounce of energy and enthusiasm to your present one. Before long, you’ll know your purpose in life, which in turn will lead to a deep sense of fulfillment. When you put your heart, mind, and soul into whatever you undertake, it liberates you. A liberated soul alone walks through the journey of life effortlessly and gracefully. Read more here.
Everyone around me seems happy, I, on the other hand, feel sad most of the time. What should I do with my life to feel happy?
The key difference between happy and unhappy people: happy people don’t let excuses come in the way of life, and unhappy people do the opposite. Winners transform their obstacles into challenges, and they seek a sense of fulfillment in tackling them. The defeated ones turn their challenges into excuses and present them as reasons. Read more here.
What should I do with my life, so that I can sail through it with less day to day struggle?
The moment we start seeing life as something we flow with as opposed to something we have to make, our perspective changes naturally. The unnecessary struggle takes a back seat, and you become increasingly aware of where you need to surrender versus when you ought to take charge. Read more here.
I have everything I could almost ask for and yet I am not happy. There is a constant void and I am unable to enjoy life. What should I do with my life to enjoy all the gifts that life has bestowed upon me?
To stay motivated, we have to have something we care about. No matter where you are on the journey of life, there’s always room for exploration, for excitement. Don’t try to solve the puzzle. Instead, piece together the picture of your beautiful life, and the rest will fall into place effortlessly. The moment you find something that inspires you, life immediately changes from a boring, ever-elusive puzzle to an exciting picture. Read more here.
Life seems like one long question paper, what should I do with my life to find answers to the unending questions that life keeps throwing at me?
The vast majority do not sit down and ask themselves what it is that they want from their life; they ignore their calling, their inner voice.
Life is not about sitting in an examination hall. God is not testing you. I am confident he has better things to do. You can keep answering questions, or you can take a moment to reflect, to inquire, to know, to ascertain, to understand, to be what matters to you, to do what gives you joy. Read more here.