Life is bizarre and inscrutable. If you can’t make sense of it, just go wherever Life is taking you!
Often, when you review the reasons why you did not get what you wanted, you will end up finding what is truly ordained for you. The path you choose may not always be available to you. But a closed door or a dead end will, always, often miraculously, open up a whole new path for you. You may take that road reluctantly to arrive at an unknown place, only to discover that you really, truly belong there!
This is counter-intuitive to the popular, world conditioning that we have all received. On the one hand, you are encouraged to set a Vision for yourself, have goals and diligently pursue them. And on the other, you are now being told that despite what you have planned, Life will take you on its own course! Well, it may seem incredible, but it is the way it is. It is so simple and easy to understand. You can only make a Life out of what happens to you __ irrespective of what you planned or wanted. That’s really how you learn to be happy despite the circumstances.
20 years ago, in 1996, after three successive disastrous employment stints, I presented myself in the office of a high-profile recruiter in Chennai. He subsequently built his company up well and sold it to a global recruitment firm. He then joined politics and was elected from a constituency in Chennai in the recent Tamil Nadu Assembly elections. But back then, the recruiter was a big name, and his firm was a much talked-about start-up. I had known him through my years as a business journalist. So, I sought his help in getting me a good, well-paying, purposeful corporate job. He spent three hours speaking with me and assured me of a quick turnaround. Post that meeting, over the next three months, I must have called him a few dozen times. E-mail was not so big then. So, I had to follow up only via phone. He neither answered my calls on his direct number nor did he call me back, although his secretary kept promising me he would. It was so strange and so frustrating. I remember agonizing then: at least he could tell me why he was not successful in pushing my case with employers; or, was he even trying?
Frustrated, and perhaps also driven by the fact that I had been ‘rejected’, I resolved that I should go on to be an employer. And not be an employee anymore. One fine day, in August 1996, I went ahead and set up a tiny consulting firm with my wife! We were successful financially in our early years. But by the end of our first decade in business, we were staring at a big, dark, black hole of accumulated losses and an unimaginable pile of debt. Eventually, as is public knowledge now (‘Fall Like A Rose Petal’; Westland) we went bankrupt and, as I write this, continue to be in that state.
Initially, I hated where we had ended up finding ourselves: presiding over the debris of a debt-laden, problem-ridden Firm. I used to hate that feeling__of guilt, ignominy, hopelessness, fear and resentment__ which would gnaw at me from within in each waking moment. But now, after all these years, when I look back, I find that without the rejection I faced in the job market, I may not have embraced entrepreneurship and without having failed at entrepreneurship, I may never have understood what Life is, what intelligent living is and understood what happiness is and what contentment is as I do now!
When I introspect, I am grateful for the experiences I have been through that have transformed me from being an angry, foul-mouthed, obsessive, possessive, egotist to being a simple, accepting, mindful voyager through Life. My learnings from the path that I did not choose, but which unfolded itself in front of me as I walked, have brought me to, I earnestly believe, my Life’s Purpose: to awaken people to happiness despite their circumstances! I am reminded of what John Bunyan, a 17th Century English writer and preacher, had to say: “Although I have been through all that I have, I do not regret the many hardships I met, because it was they who brought me to the place I wished to reach.”
So celebrate Life’s inscrutability. Don’t grieve, don’t mourn what you wanted and did not get. It is Life’s job, having created you, to take care of you. And your job is to live the Life that you have – fully, happily!