You Live Your Life

In the previous era, getting a corporate job was the thing, people flocked to apply for them and the same thing is happening today where now, being an entrepreneur is the cool thing and all of us are falling for it.

With the countless number of articles out there with the common theme of telling you to quit your job and live life, we might be swayed that that might be the true meaning of life. It might be because we are desperate. We want to know whether we are truly living life like we are supposed to and whether we are maximising life to its full potential. We fall victim to many of these articles and their promises because many of us fail to realise that there is no ONE true meaning of life.

Let’s get this straight, everybody has their own meaning for life. There is no ONE meaning which applies to everyone. Each is different and unique to the person. Each person has their own set of criteria on what would make their lives meaningful and it is up to the person to discover it for themselves. An example would be, some people like to explore and travel all over the globe from continent to continent while others prefer the comforts of their own home with books to read. Both have different sets of criteria on what makes their lives meaningful and as long as they fulfilled them, they will be content.

Therefore, there are some rules that we might want to remind ourselves from time to time:

  1. Do What You Love
    If you love your job, keep it. There is no need for you to quit a job that you love dearly especially if it is one of the things that gives you a sense of fulfillment and happiness.
  2. Do What Makes You Happy
    Having a meaningful life is all about the inner pleasures of your mind and your body. If you love to chill and enjoy a relaxed lifestyle, go ahead and find a way to do it. If you love the adrenaline rush that comes with highly risky and dangerous activities, do it all the same.
  3. The Meaning of Life is Personal to Us All
    Viktor E. Frankl in his famous book, “Man’s Search for Meaning” once said,

    “Life ultimately means taking responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks constantly set for each individual.”

    It means that each person has their own set of problems that they have to deal with and thus, makes each of their lives unique. Therefore, no one meaning of life can fulfill and solve the different problems that every individual faces.

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The Meaning of Life

It is amazing what life can throw at us. When it seemed that we have reached the highest point in our lives, something tragic happens, like a death of a loved one or the loss of a career. To some, it might mean that that is the end for them for they will no longer have a purpose to their lives. They no longer have something to look forward to, something that gives their lives meaning. In their despair, some might resort to suicide or self-harm whereas some might experience depression or an emotional breakdown. They could no longer cope with the emotional burden that befalls them. However, the good news is that these people are not beyond help.

“He who has a why to live for can bear almost any how.”

– Nietzsche

The ‘why’ of these people have been lost and therefore, they no longer have the ability to pick themselves up and cope with the troubles of life. These people are to be given reasons to live. It is not easy to give someone a reason to live for they have to find that reason on their own. It has to be something that excites them and pushes them forward, something that will do even if they are not paid for it.

However, what is important is that all of us need to know that suffering is the part and parcel of life. Suffering will happen to everybody as long as someone is living. There is no such thing as someone living without suffering. Suffering can take many forms from being burdened by debt, a failed business or even in an extreme case, wrongfully accused of a crime. Great leaders and successful people have all experienced suffering one way or another but the important thing is that they persevere and bounced back stronger than before. Viktor E. Frankl in his book, ‘A Man’s Search for Meaning’ discussed the idea that suffering is defined by our own perspective and if we were to change our perspective, suffering can instead be a platform for us to grow and benefit from. I quote from ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor E. Frankl,

“… emotion, which is suffering, ceases to be suffering as soon as we form a clear and precise picture of it.”

Once we understand why we are suffering and change our perspective of suffering from being a negative thing to a positive one can we begin to grow.

I have come into contact with people who were suicidal and most of the time they felt hopeless and as if life is against them. They felt that whatever they do, life will always have a way to worsen their current condition. However, all of us should instead treat life as an opportunity and a challenge. I quote from ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor E. Frankl,

“One could make victory of those experiences, turning life into an inner triumph, or one could ignore the challenge and simply vegetate…”

Sometimes, it becomes hard to accept the fact that life is a challenge and it is true that some will not take it positively but know that life these challenges are just life’s way of testing us. There will always be someone looking down on us be it God or whoever you believe in, in our difficult times and they will not expect us to disappoint them by giving up.

It is never easy to deal with depression and the thoughts of suicide but know that it is never the end. Life has so much more for you and if you do not stay around, you will not find it out.

There was a video that I had watched recently about the high suicide rates amongst firefighters and a fiancee of a deceased said that killing yourself is like grabbing a rifle and shoot everyone you love. It is a selfish act that will hurt everyone around you.

Life might throw some seemingly improbable challenges but learn to deal with it the right way and know that you can always overcome it.

Life is not meaningless for, in the words of Viktor E. Frankl,

“Life ultimately means taking responsibility to find the right answer to its problems and to fulfill the tasks constantly set for each individual.”

 

One Life to Live

Since the moment we are born, we are dying.

Every single thing that we do from then on will become a part of us till we die. The failures, and the successes. Unfortunately, there is no ‘restart’ button, no ‘pause’ in life and it will continue no matter what you do. Whether we like it or not, we have only one life to live.

I am in my 20s and I have a long road ahead of me. I can foresee that I will need to make many decisions with regards to career, life and relationships and I am scared, scared to know that I might make a wrong decision and also the thought that we only have this one chance at life pressures me further.

I believe that for almost everyone, being in our 20s is not easy. The countless decisions to make, the responsibilities that follow and the fear that our lack of experience can fail us anytime.

However, as I read ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ by Viktor E. Frankl, I remembered something that I forgot, something that had given me peace before for the outcome of the decisions that I will make.

A rich and mighty Persian once walked in his garden with one of his servants. The servant cried that he had just encountered Death, who had threatened him. He begged his master to give him his fastest horse so that he could make haste and flee to Teheran, which he could reach that same evening. The master consented and the servant galloped off on the horse. On returning to his house the master himself met Death, and questioned him, “Why did you terrify and threaten my servant?” “I did not threaten him; I only showed surprise in still finding him here when I planned to meet him tonight in Teheran,” said Death.