Intention in life is not definite. Sometimes it comes through experiences in life. Sometimes it come through some incidents happened in our life. Sometimes people realize it through hardships in their life. To perceive that, we need humility and acceptance. Destination or intention in life- you define as you go. Life is a journey. Take a step at a time.
(This is an interesting discussion I had with Abhishek, who is an engineer at Microsoft.)
What is the “Ultimate Goal” of your life? A goal which when achieved, you would feel that “Yes! I have done something useful with my life. Now I can die in peace!”.
“Suppose God shows up tomorrow and says that he’ll grant you 1 wish. You ask God to fulfill whatever answer you came up as your “Ultimate Goal” and he fulfills that! As soon as God fulfills your wish, will you be ready to “Die” tomorrow itself?
(Hint: It would be something along your true aspirations in life. Something that YOU always wanted to be or want to be. Something what YOU really want to do. Not what society expects you to to do such as being a good wife, good mother, etc (I am not saying don’t be a good wife or good mother, I am just requesting you to treat them as “Secondary Goals”)
There is no ultimate goal for me. I have goals and wishes in life. One goal is achieved- then next comes. But I enjoy every day…each moment- because we don’t know tomorrow we are there or not. If God shows up- my wish will be- ‘help me to be me’ always. Help me to fulfill the intention why I am created in this earth…help me to do his wish of ‘Daisy’. Show me his light-wisdom.
I do whatever I can…every day. It may be helping my kids now…tomorrow it may be something different. If tomorrow I die…I die with peace- because I don’t burden my heart with worries…because I gave my life in his hands.
You should not have ultimate goal…but should have goals in life. Or dreams…it keeps you enthusiastic…love life…live life.
What you mentioned regarding achieving one goal and then thinking about the next is what ordinary people do.
There is a chance that these goals turn out to be a bit random in nature because ordinary people do not have enough farsightedness….they may be able to look upto next 3-5 major goals in life. What matters is how much “Farsighted” you can be!
But, I feel extraordinary people don’t setup goals which are random in nature. They are very farsighted and all their sub-goals are aligned towards a final goal. Just like in a game of Chess. Amateur players can only look 1-2 moves ahead. By looking ahead I mean thinking, “If i make this move then opponent might make that move and then I’ll make that move. Whereas, if I make that move, then opponent may make that move.. and then I’ll make that move and so on.”
But, Grandmaster champions like Vishwanathan Anand and Kasprov can look forward upto 10-15 moves. Often upto the finishing move!! And all their sub-moves are aligned towards their FINAL MOVE!
So that’s why I said to you to think about your “ultimate goal” so that you can align all your sub-goals towards the ultimate goal. You are right that everybody is born on earth for a purpose. BUT the important things is, everyone has to figure out the purpose of their life! God is not going to show up and explicitly tell you what that purpose is. You yourself need to keep thinking about it and God can only guide you in the thought process!
A person who doesn’t know how to play chess- will not be able to play it. When he learns- and plays- his intention is always to win. Anyone- regardless whether he is Anand or ordinary- they want to win. So there is only one goal-if you call it ultimate….that is success. You can take only one step at a time, even though you know what will be ahead. Since the opponent moves are unpredictable, they cannot decide each move will be this or that. So it is a game of uncertainty.
If you think of Life like a game, then you have to know-learn the game well. Then you take each step at a time….till you reach success. When you fall, you get up and improve. But when you take each step- you do it properly….which gives you a satisfaction and sure of success. Each step is a goal…since it is unpredictable, succeed in what step you take. Then the ultimate will come to you. Wherever you are…if you did everything as per your satisfaction…that is your success. Everyone may not define it as the same like you did- since success is different for everyone.
That is why this famous quote is important: ‘Your destination is not your destiny’.
Intention in life- sometimes it comes through experiences in life….incidents…to receive that, we need a heart of humility and acceptance. Destination or intention in life- you define as you go. Life is a journey. Take a step at a time.
That is a great perspective towards life!
Here are a few comments:
- Life is actually a “Timed” game of chess. Most people often don’t win or lose, they leave it in the middle when they die.
- “Victory” in Chess is well defined by the rules. As soon as opponent King is capture, you win and the game ends! But in life, “Victory” which you called “Success” is not well defined. It is upon YOU to define this “Victory” condition! And you must align your “Moves” in life such that when the “Timer Ends”, you are as close to “Victory” as possible, just like in a timed game of chess.
- In childhood, each one of us are given vague guidelines about how to play the game of “Life” (school education, religious teachings, cultural practices, etc). And we start playing the game of Life with these guidelines as an amateur, just like an amateur chess player begins to play chess after reading the rules of chess. And as we keep playing more and more, we keep getting better at it.
- But different people develop different “Skill Levels” in playing the game of Life, just like in Chess. Things like “Learning from defeat”, “farsightedness”, “patience”, etc are characteristics of people who can play the game of Life well, similar to good chess players.
- “Farsightedness” is one of the key requirements to play Chess well. Otherwise, amateur players keep playing somewhat random moves or moves which feels “Right” to them at certain point but quite soon leads them to a disaster. Similarly, ordinary players of “Life”, usually setup somewhat random goals, which feels right to them at certain point of time. But if they are not farsighted enough, they might move in random directions or circularly (doing certain monotonic set of things again and again every week, for eg, “eat -> office -> sleep -> eat -> office -> sleep…..”). And that’s what most people in this world do in their adulthood, a specific set of monotonic activities again and again (such as going to work, come back and sleep), which might not give them happiness but they just do it for the sake of doing it (they get some money, etc, but their overall happiness level remains more or less the same).
- Consequences of a particular move in life, may not be very unpredictable (like in chess you have some expectations about the opponent’s move in response to the move that you are planning). But sometimes the opponent makes a totally unexpected move just like it might happen in life! Then things like learn from mistakes, recovery abilities, etc makes you a better player!
Watch it….(This is about Sunitha Krishnan has dedicated her life to rescuing women and children from sex slavery. In this talk, she tells three powerful stories, as well as her own, and calls for a more humane approach to helping these young victims rebuild their lives.)
….now think how she found the intention of her life…..is that ultimate goal? Is it good to think that way? Isn’t it better to think intention of Life?
How Mother Teresa found the intention of her life?
How about Gandhiji…Martin Luther King?
Great people never achieved what they wanted ultimately…they opened up a new path. They made people to think in a different way than the current system in the society. There will be followers who will their work after they die….and that is what their success is. They fulfilled the intention of their life no matter what the result is.
Life is not just about achievements and materialistic possessions. Sometimes rules and prejudices of the society chain us in that specific system. Finding the intention of our life is an unpredicted journey…..it depends on the essence in us too.