My Vlog today invites you to pause and reflect on what matters most and why! Viewing time: 3:21 minutes
My Vlog today invites you to pause and reflect on what matters most and why! Viewing time: 3:21 minutes
Today’s blogpost appears as a Podcast. Listen here: 4:08 minutes
In this Podcast, I share why I feel we must detach ourselves from the problems we go through. As long as we are clear that we are not the problem we are faced with, we will not suffer. This is the key to inner peace and happiness.
My conversation with Jayendra Panchapakesan, 59, filmmaker and co-Founder, Real Image Media Technologies for my ‘The Happiness Road’ Series that appears in DT Next every Sunday. Read the conversation on the DT Next page here. ‘The Happiness Road’ is also my next Book. Photo Credit: Vinodh Velayudhan
To Jayendra, clarity about Life, its Purpose and happiness came very early. In 1978, as a 20-year-old chemistry graduate, he pounded the pavement in Mumbai seeking a career in advertising. He ended up changing 14 jobs in the next 8 years. The reason? “None of my employers could match my idea of happiness,” he says. “I value work more than I value money. To me, work must be purposeful, it must create value, it must do good, it must benefit people. Doing such work consistently gives me happiness,” he explains.
Over the last 31 years that he has been an entrepreneur and employer himself, his key message to his team members has always been this: “Quit, if you hate coming to work. The work you do is the reward in itself. There is no other reward to be got, no destination to be reached. So, if you are not enjoying your work, quit.” He adds that if all people saw their work as an opportunity to benefit others and not just as a tool to make money or earn a living, the whole world will be enriched and will be a much happier place!
As I am speaking to him, I sense an equanimity about Jayendra. Yet, over the last 30 months, he and his wife Sudha have been weathering a huge crisis. In November 2014, Sudha was struck by aphasia – the inability to comprehend language or speak due to brain damage from a stroke. Jayendra totally immersed himself in Sudha’s care. He says he draws great inspiration from her attitude – from her “unimaginable urge to be positive, to get better and to never feel less of a person”. And, he says, he discovered an “unlimited ocean of patience” within himself to trust the process of Life. How did he manage to stay anchored through all this time? “It was interesting that I never asked ‘why’ or ‘why us’. I simply kept doing what had to get done. I realized the value of being in the moment. I believe that’s what happiness is – staying in the present and not hoping for it at the end of the road,” he avers.
So, perhaps, this is the little secret behind why Jayendra is called Mr.Unflappable by most people who know him – do only what gives you joy and stay in the present doing what you have to do!
Today’s blogpost appears as a Podcast. Listen here: 4:34 minutes
In this Podcast, I share learnings from my favorite music composer’s – R.D.Burman/Panchamda – Life. In Life, what goes up, does come down. And what is down, goes up again. So we must remain untouched by both success and failure – and remain unmoved!
“AVIS, what do you believe is your Life’s Purpose? How did you find it? And how did you know that it is your Purpose,” asked a reader, after reading my blogpost of yesterday.
I believe that my Life’s Purpose is “Inspiring Happiness”. Which really means to invite people to pause, reflect and awaken them to the right way of thinking and living – which is, to encourage people to live non-worrying, non-frustrated and non-suffering.
I didn’t find my Life’s Purpose. It found me. And I awakened to it.
It is common knowledge now that, in end-2007/early-2008, the bankruptcy happened in our Life. Then my Book Fall Like A Rose Petal happened in August 2014. And after that pretty much my Life has been in the public domain – living with contentment despite still being materially challenged, mired deep in debt repayable to 179 creditors (who I call angels in my Book) and sharing Life lessons through this Blog, my Podcast, my Vlogs, my Talks and through the non-commercial public events that Vaani and I curate in Chennai. Our Firm A V Initiatives is also focused on inspiring “Workplace Happiness”. I know that “Inspiring Happiness” is my Life’s Purpose because I am happiest when I am sharing my learnings from Life with people. However debilitating the circumstances have been, I find sharing daily an immersive experience. Besides, in an apparently worthless material state that Vaani and I find ourselves in, we feel it is enriching to be useful to people around us. That is, to whoever cares to pause and reflect on Life, on what matters most and why, along with us.
I have discovered that awakening to your Life’s Purpose is a deeply personal experience. It is what makes you come alive. Yet, others looking at you, observing you, may not necessarily be turned on by your sense of Purpose; besides, they may be unwilling to understand or see why it is important to you. For instance, many have told Vaani and me that we are stupid living our Life purposefully. They have cautioned that we may end up dying paupers, with our debt un-repaid. These people feel that this world does not need purposeful living; it needs, they say, more wealth to be created and saved for posterity. From where they see it, they may have a sound reasoning. But from where we see it, we cannot be living our Life any other way. So, Purpose cannot be justified. It cannot be explained. It can only be lived per what one’s own inner voice is saying.
And when you live a Life of Purpose, you will find inner peace, equanimity, in you. No matter how hard the going is, you will want to plough on. It won’t matter to you as to who is watching you, who is applauding you, who is remunerating you, who is rewarding you. What will matter is that you are happy doing what you are doing because you lose yourself while doing it, it gives you an opportunity to be useful, it is way for you to serve selflessly and it is creating value in another’s Life.
“I often vex over trying to understand what is the Purpose of my Life,” said a young man who I met recently. He wanted to know if it was a “good thing” or a “bad thing” vexing over trying to understand your Life’s Purpose.
I smiled. The very fact that a young man, in his 20s, is thinking of Life’s Purpose, I feel, is commendable. I started wondering if my Life has a Purpose at all only when I was in my mid-thirties. And this is what I have learnt from my quest for, and discovery of, my Life’s Purpose.
We must first remember that all forms of creation have a Purpose. Particularly, the human form. To be created a human being, with no significant ‘manufacturing defects’, is a not just a miracle, it is a blessing. If you have been created human, surely, there must be a reason behind it; a Purpose. Else, possibly, you may been created in some other inanimate or non-human form. Think about it. Why are you created human? And the answer really is simple. You are human so that you can experience happiness, so that you can serve other forms of creation using your intellect and your compassion, and so that you live a full, complete Life. But what do we human beings do – we are conditioned by our upbringing and social expectations, so we are stuck with earning-a-living instead of living, we are forever saying we deserve more, instead of serving and because our wants outnumber our needs, we are perpetually unhappy. So, in essence, we are, as a race, a majority of us, missing the whole Purpose behind our creation.
Every human creation has an individual Purpose too. Just as Gandhi’s had, Mother Teresa’s had, Kailash Sathyarthi’s has and Malala Yusafzai’s has. It is a fallacy to imagine that only ‘great’ people’s lives have a Purpose. The truth is that they are regarded as great only because they lived a Life of Purpose. Now, you cannot find your Life’s Purpose by vexing over it. Agonizing over something will only cause suffering. So, just relax. The very fact that you know that your Life has a Purpose and you are seeking it is a blessing – there are so many, many, many millions out there who are merely ‘earning-a-living’ and are imagining that they have been created to slave, earn, save, suffer and procreate. So, you are in a more evolved state than many out there. Celebrate yourself, than agonizing, therefore.
What’s beautiful about Life is that your Life’s Purpose will find you. What you seek will seek you. There’s no way you can explain this. It happens to each one in their own way – over time. Sometimes a cathartic turn of events may awaken you. Sometimes, a flash of an idea may inspire you. Or you may just be in a place by sheer happenstance when you feel a river moving inside you telling you, ‘come, flow with me!’ Purpose is magical. It transforms your Life instantaneously. It makes you want to wake up each morning and go live each day fully, happily, energetically, no matter how debilitating the circumstances are.
There’s a simple way to stay tuned in the direction of your Life’s Purpose though. Make a list of all the activities you are passionate about. Then decide which one or ones are you capable of being world-class, excellent, at. Then focus only on doing those couple of things that you are passionate about and have the potential to be best at in the world. Soon you will come to that one activity where you lose yourself. Which is, when you immerse yourself in it, you lose track of time, sleep and even of your own identity. Ask yourself how can this one activity not just benefit you alone but how can you serve people around you? The answer to this question may well direct you to your Life’s Purpose. Getting to this stage of understanding, evolution and clarity, takes time. So, trust the process of Life and be patient.
And, of course, Purpose and money are unconnected, unrelated. Though living a Life of Purpose may surely lead you to earn money, making money cannot be your Life’s Purpose. Because money is a human invention, a social necessity. Your Life’s Purpose is the reason for your creation, it is why you are, well, human in the first place. It is the reason for your living, for your being. It is Life’s longing for you – to make your lifetime meaningful, to make it count. So, you don’t have to get vexed trying to find it. Just stay tuned to the big question – ‘what is the Purpose of my Life?’ – without agonizing over it, and your Purpose will, over time, find you.