It was Socrates that said, “An unexamined life is not worth living”.
As I sit an ponder the great philosopher’s words of wisdom with an over crowed shelf of self-help books looming above my desk and the familiar ache in my heart that has been a constant companion for a little over a decade, I can’t help but wonder if there is such a thing as “over-examination”.
Is delving too deep and analysing too much stopping us from moving forward?
Most of my life I have supported the notion that, “everything happens for a reason” and that all of life’s challenges are a part of some sort of puzzle or ‘rubix cube for your life’. It’s as Steve Jobs eloquently stated,
“You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something – your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever.”
All the pain, ups and downs, heartache, trauma, indecision, mental torment, sleepless nights and desperate calls to the universe to answer your most pressing question …
“What am I suppose to be doing with my life?”
Looking back to connect the dots you see no real pattern, no real clear path to what could possibly be your destiny. The world screams at you from every angle with messages of ‘materialism, money, perfection and fame’ being the pillars of what a successful life should look like. But, like me, you feel disconnected from these expectations and struggle to stay motivated for the reward of something that feels so meaningless.
You live for something greater, something that helps to heal a part of the world, something that’s impact will live on and continue to serve humanity long after you leave this planet.
But the world …. the world is still screaming at you to “save yourself”. With the cost of living continually on the rise, the economy threatening to take away your livelihood and the persistent message of inadequacy now so prevalent that it haunts you in your dreams – you feel torn. Torn between the instinctual need to survive and the fragmented ‘dots’ that are meant to lead you to your purpose.
It’s no wonder many say that once they “make it”, they will use their wealth and or fame to give back to the world, but what if that day never arrives? What if you spend your entire life chasing the ‘success’ unicorn and only ever achieve survival?
If we truly are spiritual beings having a human experience and this human species is wired for connection, why is it so hard to step outside ourselves and trust that in our devotion to help others, we will arrive at the true meaning of what success is for us and our life? If we only get one shot, why are so many of us wasting it?
In this article written by Jeff Fermin for Officevibe.com, it “costs employers in the United States $300 billion dollars a year in stress related health care and missed work.” Yet, unsurprisingly in this article written by Elizabeth Scott MS for Verywellmind.com, studies show that altruism helps to relieve stress and promote psychological wellbeing. Coincidence? Unlikely.
Stepping into the unknown is scary for everyone and breaking away from the ‘norm’ can feel isolating and unstable. If it didn’t, we would be living in a utopian world where stress, feelings of inadequacy, addiction, depression, anxiety and suicide wouldn’t exist. There would be no social divide, no hunger, no war – because every human on the planet would be living for each other, instead of the survival of themselves. We live with so much stuff, strive for so much stuff, sacrifice for so much stuff, yet many arrive at their vision of success feeling empty, lost and completely disconnected.
I want to be a part of something greater. I want my life to mean something more than just an accumulation of materialistic commodities and a fat bank account. I don’t want to arrive at the end of my life with the regret of not making a difference. If the universe grants me a life of wealth and prosperity, I will use it to serve others – but today, right now, I am making a commitment to start without it.
Be brave enough to walk your own path without needing to be certain of where it will lead you. If in doubt, reach out – take the hand of someone that needs help, wrap your arms around your community and surrender your very survival for the growth with, and connection to, those around you.
Only you can do what you are here to do. Don’t waste time waiting for it all to become clear and make sense, just close your eyes, take a deep breath and let the journey unfold before you.