I came across a book lying on my Dad’s table. The titled read “what should I do with my life” by Po Bronson. As I been on a break for close to a year and its one question has come across my mind often. I decided to grab and see what special gyan this book was going to help me with. I initially thought it would one of those 10 steps to be a millionaire books :-). Surprisingly I felt it was worth the read! Po Bronson has written this book in a way that appealed to me. The author has collected around 60 stories after interacting deeply with people who tried answering the question or atleast had the will to go looking got it rather being stuck with existential view of life. Check out the link for some sample stories.
I really loved his final summary. Very appropriate one. It goes as (verbatim from the book):
Some of the important things I have learned:
A calling is not something you know, it’s something you grow into through trials and mistakes. Work shouldn’t just be fun. Work should be like life – sometimes fun, sometimes moving, and defined by meaningful events. Attack your fears, rather than shy away from them. Bring what you do in alignment with who you are. Freedom is the confidence that you can live within the means of something you ‘re passionate about. Failure’s hard but success at the wrong thing can lock you in forever. Don’t be seduced by artificial love. Be open to defining experiences. Don’t mistake intensity for passion. You don’t find your purpose about you neck, you find it below the neck, when you are transformed by what you have witnessed. You can get good at what you need to serve what you believe in . Get your mind 80 per cent of the way there, then go looking for the catalyst. Look backward as much as forward, inward as much as outward. Nothing helps like knowing you are not alone. There’s a powerful transformative effect when you surround yourself with like-minded people. Create an environment where the truth is invited into your life. If you develop the character, the odds are pretty good you can succeed. Success is defined as when you’re no longer held back by your heart, and your character blossoms, and the gifts you have to offer to the world are apparent. Don’t cling to a single scenario, allow yourself many paths to the same destination. Give it a lifetime to pay off. Things you work hardest for are the things you will most treasure.
I used to think life presented a five-page menu of choices. Now I think choice is in whether to be honest, to ourselves, and others, and the rest is more of an uncovering, a peeling away of layers, discovering talents we assumed we didn’t have. I used to treasure the innocence of first love. Now I treasure the hard-fought. I used to want to change the world. Now, I’m open to letting it change me.
I think lot of people in my generation have started thinking about this in India. As the Indian economy has grown and the world has shrunk due to increased connectivity (transport and communication technology) has given way to increased opportunities. Unlike my parent’s generation who were really not able to question traditions and take risks in their work life. Bunch of stories spoke to me personally. The way I look at life now tells me that I need not regret that I feel I will keep doing things in my life (instead of having one specific calling). Keep exploring and solving tough, meaningful problems in life and move on to newer things. Its the journey and not the goal. Till now I have followed my heart and have always given my best in all the work I have done. Luckily I have been only held back by my health. Have a great family that has supported me always and good set of friends I can lean on. I will always cherish the role of serendipity and look at opportunity in every challenge thrown at me 🙂 And yeah, its never too late!