What if the question I’m asking myself right now is the biggest determinant of my future? What if by asking that question I embarked on a grand inquiry to discover the answer leading to previously unimagined realities?
The following five questions are worth asking:
Look, act, and dress a certain way. Drive a certain car. Adopt a certain set of beliefs. Be a card carrying member. Depict life on social media a certain way. Signal success through material accumulation.
This is all PROGRAMMING. It’s designed by people who seek to have influence, consciously or unconsciously, and push an agenda that serves their interests by manipulating our beliefs and behavior.
But what’s really mine? Versus what’s my parents? What’s generational trauma? What’s advertising? What’s social pressure? What’s an old paradigm? How am I conforming? What doesn’t serve me?
Beneath the veneer and layers of programming is the true self. The authentic expression of our own needs, desires, and potential untainted by agenda and narratives about what success and happiness is. What can I shed? What’s mine? What’s true?
In Service Of What?
Proposition: one meaning of life is to be in service to others by upholding the universal law of reciprocity.
Language is important. Not “In Service TO What”. TO what suggests subordination to that which is being served. Rather, OF what, suggests what is being served flows through, with me as part of a whole.
Many people are In Service To Money. Servants to the system. Some are In Service Of Others. Many are in In Service to Themselves by default.
What’s greater than me that is worth it? What’s required of me to answer this question? What is worth my time?
Where am I needed?
What did I do when I first knew?
When I first knew of our environmental degradation? When I first actually saw the injustice prevalent across the globe and in our backyards? When I first recognized our fractured political system? When I first glimpsed the disconnection from ourselves and our communities? When I first saw we’re optimizing for the wrong outcomes?
Twenty years from now if my young adult child turns to me and says, “Dad, [insert system] is pretty messed up. When did you first know? What did you do when you first knew?”
What will I say? What did I do?
What’s my unique contribution?
Because each of us has something truly unique to offer hiding beneath the layers of programming and fear.
Does the tribe need another [insert my role here]? What’s my zone of genius? How do I build trust in the value of what I have to offer outside of the financial compensation for it? What lights the fire inside me? How far am I willing to go to find this? How uncomfortable am I willing to be? What won’t I sacrifice?
Life wants nothing more than for us to bring forward our unique contribution, to be in our gift, and offer it to others.
What’s my legacy?
From ashes to ashes and dust to dust, if there is one thing to be sure of, it’s the timely end to all human lives. And where we’re going material goods have no use (unless you’re being mummified with your gold to prepare for the afterlife like the ancient Egyptians). So what’s the point of all of this?
Maybe its children. Or charity. Or building something great. Or useful. Preferably useful and life sustaining. What endures after we’ve taken our last breath? Will the Presidents Club or that sweet media room crystallize my contribution? What do I choose to have meaning?
The How Takes Care of Itself
Even though these are “what” questions they get at our Why.
Don’t worry about the how. The how takes care of itself.
Yes, it’ll be hard work. But it’ll be easy to do because we’re clear on our Why.
Invest attention in getting clarity about what’s most important.
Remember that the path is directional. Inquiries evolve.
It’s never too early or too late to ask these questions.
Henry David Thoreau said “the mass of men live lives of quiet desperation.”
What if the way out of desperation is asking questions like this?