what is the purpose of living? is it to have a beautiful death? is it to earn as much money as possible? is to celebrate our existence with a religious focus ? sure, some of these are valid choices for any individual.
but i am of the opinion that the purpose of living is to create stories; bounty upon bounty of elaborate adventures ; crafted from will and wit, laced with strife and success and always ending with some sort of segue into the next story.
let’s take a few steps back. back when i was a young child, around 14 years of age , i remember striving for the trophies to fill up my cabinet. i would feel happy only if i could see my smile reflected in cast gold. some people debate whether that was even happiness – i would argue it was. the joy i felt was real , but it was fleeting. almost as if it existed as a breath in the winter. beautiful and then gone.
it took me a huge fall when i was 15. you know that feeling when you feel the world collapsing on top of you, and yet everyone around don’t even know what’s happening inside. they’re oblivious to the fact that your world has probably catastrophically shifted. i had any opportunity for traditional definitions of success pulled away from me – i felt as if i was meant to have them ; as if i deserved them. leadership positions i had put myself up for were taken by others, awards i wanted were given to others, opportunities i thought i needed were awarded to others. and i hit rock bottom.
yet something else happened. when all that you thought was your world was deconstructed before your eyes, you realise what was never there before. there were other people, other communities and cultures, even other opinions. i was forced to start building, to start making my own story and definition of success.
and so i started rejecting traditional models and questioning the reasons behind everything. i started building, and that evolved to creating and that evolved to dreaming.
there a few key milestones in everyone’s life – milestones in which your world is completely shifted to ensure you are where you are now. i had a few – the experience as a 15 year old, the award of my scholarship, the phonecall to Leon about starting The Hidden Good. and i still keep these stories close to my heart. and then i became fascinated with others – what stories did others have? i was hungry – i wanted the world , but i was only human and so i could consume stories to satiate myself.
but as i went around asking others or their stories, i faced a dismal response. people weren’t making stories – sure they were existing, but what happened to the opportunities they had missed to truly realise what life has to offer.
“it’s up to the individual.” i’ve heard the response before. my answer is “do you know what you don’t have if you don’t know it exists?”
so i’m deciding here, right now, to make a personal mission to help people find their stories. to discover adventures in their lives that don’t have to leave their backyards. i don’t know how that’s going to evolve, but i’ll let it flow.i do have five pointers below though for people who are looking to find their stories – simple yet probably impactful if used well.
1) find something that makes you hurt and find out how to deal with it
the biggest story we can give ourself is that of redemption from our own pains. we love to feel happy but our sorrow is what makes us truly human. yet, as much as we can’t get rid of sorrow and the pain that it brings with it, we can definitely find ways to process it better. that’s a journey in itself
2) find something that makes you uncomfortable and encounter it.
we’re all scared of something – LGBT issues, foreign countries, a new skill – confront that fear. find out more about it. travel if you must, or pick up a hobby. enrich yourself.
3) indulge in others
the best investment that can be made in this day and age, is in the goodwill of others. in a world, where true friendships are scarce, the value of unconditional unmerited love will only be returned with it . discover more stories by living vicariously , and see things you probably won’t be able to see by yourself by seeing them through the eyes of your new friends.
4) think about thinking
metacognition is relatively new in the main populace. and yet, when you think about how you process information and feelings, you find some sort of peace in knowing yourself better. you are more in control of yourself and your surroundings , and can truly take on the world.
5) make beautiful things
everyone appreciates beauty , in whatever forms they’re presented in. and to discover what beauty means for you, and to find someway to bring it into your life and others is the most fulfilling process one can put his or herself through. the capacity for humankind to create beautiful things is probably one of the undervalued assets we posses.
there’s always more to be discovered, more to encounter.