“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why” – Mark Twain.
All great companies have always something great to offer. PIXAR offers, “Combine Proprietary technology and world class talent to develop computer animated feature films with memorable characters and heartwarming stories that appeal to audiences of all ages.” IKEA offers, “A wide range of well designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low that as many people as possible will be able to afford them.” These great offers and service to humanity is what makes them what they are.
In 2003, Sam Palmisano, CEO of IBM hosted a 72 hour online Values Jam in which he asked nearly 320,000 of his employees, “If our company disappeared tonight, how different would the world be tomorrow? Is there something about our company that makes a unique contribution to the world?” What Sam was asking the employees was the purpose of their very existence. Be it PIXAR, IKEA or IBM you will find them all serving a greater purpopse and in most of the cases, a purpose bigger than the company.
Now, let’s come to our individual life and let’s ask ourself, “What is the purpose of our existence?” I am sure life is not about getting up, going to work, earning money, coming back home, watching TV, sleeping and repeating the process again. Life is more than sitting on a couch and to decide which episode to watch next. Life is more on your side of the TV screen than on the other side of the screen. May be our ship is doing 50 knots but without a compass we are heading nowhere. We need a life that enriches and is enriched by others.
A candle can’t burn without a fire. Sameway our soul also needs a greater purpose than ourself to find enlightenment. One of my neighbour – Gargi Shroff, is a professional Bharatnatyam Classical Dancer. Having recognised her gifts, she is now contributing more to the world by passing her skills to her students and bringing more joy into the lives of others around her. The gift and the passion was there but now she has a purpose too. Zig Ziglar once said, “You cannot make it as a Wandering Generality. You must become a Meaningful Specific.” Once we are a meaningful specific and have a purpose like Gargi, can we find real happiness and fulfillment too.
I recently started writing blogs and with each blog I am honing my writing skills. Initially I thought what others would think and I might look like an Idiot in the eyes of other. But by doing this, firstly, I would have avoided my calling. Secondly, I am much more happy to embrace embarrassment than living a life of regret of not even trying. Mark Twain echoed the same when he said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by by the things you do.” Going ahead, if any of my blogs can make any positive difference in someone’s life, including my own then I believe the purpose is achieved. I might not change the world I see around me but if I can only change what I see within me, that only will be good enough to me.
The ship that Theseus sailed back to Athens was rebuilt over time. As each plank decayed, it was replaced by another, until each plank in the ship was renewed. Though totally renewed, the ship was still the same. We might grow from childhood to adulthood, our soul will remain the same. Our voyage of life is short and don’t require any new planks to renew but we do need a higher calling to act as a North star which will take us to enlightenment and true happiness.
Two young fish swimming along happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, ‘Morning Boys. How is the water?’ and the two young fish swim on for a bit and them eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes ‘What the hell is Water?’ May be your true calling is right infront of you but as the old saying goes – You have to do your own growing, no matter how tall your grandfather is. You have to find your calling yourself.
“Corporations once built to last like the pyramids are now more like tents” notes Peter F Drucker. Gone are the days where the King was replaced by his son, we need light bulbs (people) with higher purpose to connect to the powerhouse. We are all CEOs of our own life, we just need a soul searching to find our calling. Once we connect to our higher purpose we will not only be better physically and mentally but happiness will come to us automatically.