Somewhere in the future, when they’d be researching and assimilating the nature of different eras, phases and generations of years gone by, I think it would be safe to assume that this current generation of ours would be easily summed up in a single word – LOST.
That’s exactly how most of us are – completely lost and clueless about what’s happening around us. Being indecisive has almost become an innate attribute of the current generation.
Gone are the days where people would stick to a job for 30 years and work their way up systematically.
Relationships have lost their true essence and majority of marriages are either a masked collaboration of joy over the ugly truth of utter dissonance, or a fleeting affair, where the slightest diversion from the expected course can result in an abrupt end.
Technology has taken over and further added to this endless commotion that our mind and soul experiences on a daily basis.
While all this can sound rather dystopian, can it be that all this is really a blessing?
Can it be that amidst everything that changed and followed the dynamic nature of life itself, the only party guilty of remaining constant is US?
Can it be that the dissonance most of us experience is a direct result of us not being able to disconnect from our past and embrace a change that is bound to drive us out of our comfort zone?
One of the sure-shot ways of understanding this desire to hold on to the past is the never-changing nature of what the term ‘success’ means.
Finish school. Finish college. Get a reputable and sustainable career. Get married and have kids. Live happily ever-after.
This was the mantra for success for the previous generations.
And what is it for our generation? I’ll give you a hint: Look above.
Why is that when everything has changed around us, we find it too tough to break the pattern of what a good life is supposed to mean?
Why is that most people still prefer unhappiness over uncertainty and adventure?
You’d have to go way back to the time where one of your ancestors managed to hold their own in a world where survival was the only meaning of success.
At a time when agriculture was a choice-less occupation, the luxury of pondering and contemplating over the meaning of life was reserved only for the extremely privileged ones.
As the industrial revolution hit the world, the productivity rose and it required people of a diverse skill-set.
This was the first time the common people had that little privilege of choice. Survival was still the pre-dominant notion, but at least you could choose the trade that would facilitate it.
As things settled more, systems became stronger and for the first time, administration and managerial roles began to garner some importance.
This was where the limits to choice started to vaporize into thin air. In other words, people began to get spoiled with choice.
The plethora of options before them meant that work was no longer the ultimate criteria that ensured survival.
Other needs began to show up.
The need for well thought-out relationships. The need to find work that seemed satisfying. The need for spiritual growth.
But all this was still at a nascent stage.
Then came our generation with no barriers to choice at all.
For the first time, the notion of satisfaction took over that of survival.
Survival wasn’t good enough. Anyone could survive. Anyone could lead an ordinary life and make it through to old-age.
But this is also the time when choice itself became a paradox.
More choice started to mean more dissatisfaction.
While the earlier generations could follow a typical path and be satisfied with it, the variety offered to our own resulted in an insatiable desire to find the greener grass.
But just because that desire is present did not ensure that anything was done about it.
And this resulted in a phenomenon that was to give birth to one of the biggest problems faced by any generation – ANXIETY.
The amount of choice actually overwhelmed the current generation.
And what did we do?
We took the easy way out – We decided to hold on to the past.
And this is exactly why we are lost.
On one hand, we know the limitlessness of our own potential and how the current environment can facilitate that, but on the other hand, we refuse to face uncertainty and anxiety.
That is the reason we are still defining success just like the generations of the past.
But we have to realise that holding on to the past can never beat nature.
Nature demands that we grow and be dynamic, just like everything around us.
We have to understand that to be lost is in fact the greatest blessing we could have ever received.
Because for the first time, it meant that the focus of surviving shifted from being able to put food on your table to achieving a self-actualized state where we are the highest versions of ourselves.
For the first time, we have a plethora of knowledge of anything and everything that we could dream of, just a click away.
For the first time, we can decide to live a life that offers a kind of richness and variety that the previous generations could only dream of.
But what are we doing these possibilities?
You have to realise that success does not have to mean any of the things that we have been conditioned into believing.
It’s not your responsibility to do a 9-6 job. It’s not your responsibility to spend your entire life with someone who makes you unhappy. It’s not your responsibility to have kids. It’s not your responsibility to JUST SURVIVE.
But it’s definitely your responsibility to find out WHAT SUCCESS MEANS TO YOU!!
It’s also your responsibility to not give a hoot in hell about other people’s opinions.
Figure out the life that will make you happy and follow it.
You may get it wrong, but you’ll learn. And that’s exactly what your soul needs. Growth and self-actualization.
Just like your ancestors’ souls graduated from being fulfilled with mere survival to stability, yours is craving for more.
And it’s your responsibility to satisfy that craving. It’s asking you to move forward, not backward. Would you feel good if you ate the same thing every day?
No. Similarly your soul has had enough of stability. It’s crying out loud for you to find a deeper meaning to life. It needs you to move higher up. It’s had enough of the ordinary food and it’s FED UP!!
It needs the dessert and for the first time, our generation has the ingredients to prepare one.
For instance, when I looked at my own life, I realised that none of the things I was conditioned into thinking were success made me genuinely happy.
I had finished my MBA and was on course for a supposedly fulfilling career in Finance. It all crashed in under two months when I quit my job. And it was the best thing I ever did.
It led to a professional and spiritual adventure that I could have never dreamt of. I went on a journey where I tried more than 10 different jobs and over half a dozen entrepreneurial projects before finding something that worked.
Sure enough it meant that I would face raised eyebrows, lose ‘respect’ in society, not be able to buy that fancy car and what not.
But did it matter to me? HELL NO!!
Once you taste the adventure that comes from following your calling, you simply don’t look back.
It was because I garnered the courage to be honest with myself.
I realised that the financial conditions around me were decent enough to ensure that the motivation to do anything that I hated was not revolving around survival.
Satisfaction was more important than survival and that meant working for a purpose, rather than just a salary.
This is not to say that it’s all easy or that my life is perfect.
But the point is that I have taken my life to another level by paying heed to what my soul was crying out for.
And this is one problem I notice with my peers. Many of them doing things they hate even when they well and truly are aware of the fact that they are not motivated by the notion of survival.
Instead, they have bought into the idea of success that is conditioned into us by the generations of the past.
However, as already seen, there can never be any comparison as all of us possess a soul that is way more evolved than ever before.
So while you may be able to buy the next smartphone with your salary, you won’t feel as satisfied as someone from an earlier generation would have. It’s like feeding the same thing to your soul all over again. And then we complain when it throws up!!
Our generation needs to take a plunge into the act of defining their own success and having the courage to follow that vision.
It’s time to let go of the past and embrace the present of future with a clean slate.
Yes, you’re lost……And you cannot have it better than that.
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