Once in a training workshop we were given a target to draw a few random geometrical shapes; simple triangles, semicircles and circles. When the time was up to finish our task, trainer showed us a very simple clown we all used to draw as children and asked us how many of us could draw that shape. Obviously none of us were able to do so as we were never clearly told about the objective of the whole exercise. The lesson that I learned that day was; if you are not clear about the purpose of an exercise, no matter how intelligent you are or how capable, you will not be able to achieve the results.
It is very unfortunate that today we are very unclear about the purpose of our lives. We know the random achievements we want, like building a career, earning money, building a house, having a comfortable life, etc. This is just being able to draw those random shapes without connecting the dots and defining a clear purpose of life. We have been deceived into believing ourselves worthless and not more than just resources in the production process. Today we are prone to believe in many abnormal and unethical concepts that we never accepted in history. Karl Polanyi writes about this transformation from traditional social setup towards market society. In a market society, everything has to come through the market. That means everything is saleable. In almost all religious societies, Muslims, Hindus, Christians or Buddhists, etc., children were considered collective responsibility, which is why concepts similar to ‘WAQF’ in Islam existed. Where wealthy and affluent of the society pooled the funds for supporting education of willing students. Today, we are ok with the fact that if a poor person cannot afford to pay for the cure of his disease, he may die by the side of the road. This sort of selfish rationalism accelerated from the 20th century onwards. It has coIn order to become human beings again; we need to understand and accept two things.
In almost all religious societies, Muslims, Hindus, Christian or Buddhist etc. children were considered to be collective responsibility and that is why concepts similar to ‘WAQF’ in Islam existed. Where rich and affluent of the society pooled the funds for supporting education of willing students.
First and foremost, we need to reject the implicit, hidden poison being fed to us that we are saleable commodities and the sole purpose of our life is to do a job and earn money. This is a challenging first step that will need conscious effort on our parts. The second step will be the search for the true purpose of our lives which raises us above and beyond being a production resource only. When our beliefs are corrected, then and only then will we be able to take effective actions to achieve our purpose in life.
Since I first started going to school some three to four decades ago, never once this question about finding the purpose of my life has been discussed or taught to me in my academic life. Is it such a useless question to ask? I don’t think so. This question has been asked since the olden days. Philosophers like Aristotle and Plato have discussed it. Modern philosophers have explored it, and even existentialists have taken a stance. At least they are trying to answer this very important question. Today, especially in the business world, we see that a firm’s mission and vision are created and then coaxed into all the employees. That cannot be in real life. The vision and mission of life should come from within you. You and only you can decide your vision and mission of your life according to your potential and values. Unfortunately, we have been fed too many deceptions and false purposes of our lives. People who want to harness our energies and potential for their purposes bombard us with too many fake purposes of our lives. Therefore the most demanding target is to free ourselves from these random ideas and try and find our own purpose of life.