Sunday, September 7, 2008
While attending the intermediate course of paragliding many years ago, i remember taking a short flight from the top of a 600-feet cliff and truly loving it. I recall marveling at the effortlessness of the 45-second flight – before gravity took over – and wondering how some of the experienced paragliders managed to stay up in the air for hours. As i learnt, it was their ability, like the migratory birds, to find progressive air thermals that allowed them to stay up and even travel long distances, sometimes up to a thousand kilometres. Were those long flights enervating for them? Never, they were always effortless and exhilarating, as they soared, in complete harmony with nature. Comparing that scenario to the way we live our lives, i often wonder why there is so much struggle to our existence. There appears to be this constant underlying stress all around us and the innumerable choices that we are surrounded with — products, services, careers, gadgets, leisure and so on — instead of empowering us, leave us feeling deprived. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could find a way to make our lives more effortless, balanced, and peaceful? A way to free ourselves from our daily dilemmas to creating a life where making choices were much easier, where we experienced minimal effort to move forward, and where we were fully supported by nature in all our pursuits. The key to this lies in gaining clarity about the purpose of our own existence. Why are we here and what are are we aiming to do? I do believe each one of us on earth is hugely gifted and has a special purpose — but do we take the time to discover it in ourselves; or are we just on a treadmill of activity going almost nowhere? Do you want to be more successful or do you want to make a more significant contribution? Do you want more money or greater happiness? What’s the role of family and friends in our life? What’s our commitment to community and environment? If you had to make a real choice, what’s that one thing that you would like your life to be about? On your deathbed, what is it that you would feel most proud about your life? I have reflected a lot on this and coached a number of people on this. Interestingly, some of the most powerful statements of purpose tend to revolve around an absolute and an inner goal — absolute in that they are not set relative to others and inner in that their progress is not measurable by external parameters of evaluation like career, money, fame, achievement.