Many people spend oceans of time only to get to work. And at the end of the day as a reward they again get to spend some valuable hours in traffic jams. That’s no quality time at all. And if we must believe the dj on the radio, we only can be happy again if the weekend starts. Huh? Do we really have to struggle through the week with a little reluctance and as fast as we can? I too like weekends, but it seems sad to spend five out of seven days (more than 70%) in a kind of survival state. Shut your eyes and advance to the 2/7th part called ‘weekend’. And then, finally, do whatever you want for two days – besides all commitments – and, Sunday evening, lament and become aware that you can go back to work again tomorrow. That may be an exaggeration, but it contains elements of truth for many people.
At some point in my own working life I found myself at a dead end. It didn’t make me happy to stare at a screen most of the day to absorb and send digital information. Luckily, the contacts with my colleagues compensated a lot. But then, it’s not possible having a relaxing or deepening conversation for too long, of course. I don’t judge the average office work – on the contrary, in my youth I had a romantic view of it and wanted to achieve it – but it doesn’t satisfy me. Certainly not if the ultimate and main goal is to obtain more and more financial profits.
It is no secret that economy is focused on prosperity instead of wellbeing, while in the end most people are looking for the second one. And no, I am not that naïve, that I wouldn’t understand the fact that organizations need to be financially healthy and that employees are dependent on the turnover of companies. No money means no job. However, I am convinced that we shouldn’t see money as a goal, but as a consequence. A result of our efforts instead of the reason of our efforts. Yes, we do need resources to live, but that simple statement already implies that it’s not about the resources, but about life!
And then we come to the question that’s already a bit cliché: what is the purpose of life? For eventually, isn’t that the question to which everybody is looking for an answer? Of course, not everyone is equally aware of that or actively searching for that answer. Nevertheless, if you take a closer look at how people are living their lives, you can tell how they approach their lives; what they see as important.
And what is the purpose that we are looking for? Enjoying the 2/7th part and the holidays? Sometimes the purpose seems to be living in a wonderful house with a matching car, ‘doing fun things’ as much as you can and capture all of that with the newest smartphone. I have nothing against that and like enjoying life too, but every now and then I need some deepening – I enjoy that just as much.
We can ask ourselves if the answer to this ancient question really exists. I think everyone has a personal answer, although I can imagine that lots of answers are corresponding or overlapping. And sometimes you might have found an answer that turns out to be changed or developed as time goes by.
I read a lovely and impressive children’s book recently: The big question, about ‘Why am I here’? We should ask ourselves more often why we are here. What can I contribute to this world? In this book, all kinds of perspectives pass by (light-hearted and more seriously) and also a diversity of answers. At the end there is no unanimous answer, but it says: “If you grow up you will find many more answers to the question why you are here.” Food for thought for young and old…
Discovering the purpose of your life has everything to do with what you pursue, what you want to accomplish. If you are lucky enough that you can cover more than the bare necessities you try to invest in what you think is valuable. My view on the world we live in might be a bit turbid, but I’m not completely wrong if I state that a large part of humanity has become ‘collectors’. Collectors of possessions in its broadest sense: money, power, prestige, satisfying all needs and desires. And the more one possesses the more one counts. Unfortunately, the other way around works exactly the same; fewer possessions often mean that one counts less. But is that really true (blog about the value of people)? No doubt that it will have its consequences if we see collecting possessions as the highest purpose in life. It’s like a kitchen: when you start with certain ingredients you know approximately what the outcome will be. Same story in life.
The world is on fire in incredibly many places. These days reports about war are almost as common as the weather report. And whether modern communication tools – which keep us informed 24/7 – are the reason for that or not I’ve never seen so much misery, pain and sorrow in the world as in this time frame. And a lot of that misery, pain and sorrow is the result of a boundless desire to possession.
Globally, it sometimes looks like two sides are formed. On one side people who want to do good and want to take account of their environment. On the other side people who just want to achieve their own goals more and more.
Life and death
People who believe in life after death might have another answer to existential questions than people who don’t. We can see many extreme contradictions of that these days, but also without those fundamental differences interaction between human beings fails. If everyone – religious or not – would strive for ‘the good’, couldn’t that be a common meaning of life? Be yourself, share your gifts and talents (my blog about ‘being real’) and thus doing the good. But then, ‘what is the good’ could also be called the questions of all questions…
In any case, let us also focus on life before death. Life is worth living, isn’t it? It would be sad if we would look back on our death bed with regret about what we have done – or what we haven’t. Talking about death bed: the last moments preceding death can be exceptionally special. Because in those circumstances what no longer matters disappears and only essential things matter. At this moment in particular the purpose of life can be seen; what has someone meant in his environment, what kind of impression does one leave?
We probably will never find a joint answer to the question of all questions, but everybody can search for his or her personal answer. I think all we need to do is to pursue that consciously and sincerely. Because then you at least for yourself have a basic answer to live by and with that you do have an answer to the question of all questions after all.