Perennial question that continues to haunt most of our lives, right? For some of us, it is an internal question while for others it is an external dilemma. Some people are born to do something and realize that very early in their lives while few others get a revelation down the road and focus their energies towards this new found purpose! And kudos to all of them! It is really a gift and hopefully a purpose worth living for!
But a majority of us do not know what we are here to do, don’t realize if we are here to do something specific and most probably will die without knowing we did something spectacular. Now note here, I say we die without knowing we did something special! What I mean by that is we all still achieve a lot in our lives but fail to realize the significance or we have the wrong parameters set that makes us see our lives ordinary! And that is truly sad!
This question has made its way into my life in several ways several times and, believe me I haven’t found an answer to this one yet. Nor do I intend to really! As a small boy (I think I was 10 years old), I remember being asked by my dad’s friend: “Raju kanna, what do you want to be in life?” My answer was spontaneous and very innocent: “I want to be happy.” That is the answer I like the best till date. But he wasn’t very amused. “That is okay. But what do you want to become?” I looked at him clueless! He tried to help: “Okay... who do you want to become? Who is your role model?” That was my first encounter with realistic hypocrisy!
I had always liked Albert Einstein. He is my favorite. Well at that age I was not intelligent enough to understand the theory of relativity. Not that I understand it now! But I was really fascinated by his hair. I thought he was really cool. So I said: “I want to be a scientist!” He liked the answer but he felt it was impractical. I did not know what practical was!
The second time I underwent this crisis was when I was in school and getting ready for college. It was my teacher this time. He was pretty sure that I should become a doctor.
the renowned medical college and I was good at Biology. So it was an open and
shut case for him. Not for me unfortunately. I remember telling him this: “Sir,
I am really afraid of blood! I don’t want to be a doctor!” He was furious. He
felt that it was the most ridiculous explanation he had ever heard. I wouldn’t
blame him for that. Trust me, if there was a way I could have become a doctor
without using a knife on any creature, I would have certainly become one! Pondicherry
So as it goes, I was good at Math and Science as well and so I got into BITS Pilani. And if you are wondering, I wasn’t sure that I wanted to be an Engineer either! But I stuck to it faithfully for a while. And the reason was I really enjoyed what I learned and my work after too! But then after 5 years of work, it was time for another self introspection. What do I want to be in life? “Happy”, was the answer again instantly. I have always liked that answer but I wanted something more tangible. That is how the idea of an MBA came along. I remember this one conversation with a friend of mine when I was justifying my idea of doing an MBA. He asked me the same question again: “Who is your role model?” I had a new one this time around: “APJ Abdul Kalam”. He was perplexed. “So let me get this straight. You want to be a scientist or the President of India?”. “Scientist would be good for now!” I replied. Sadly, he didn’t find it funny. “It is not practical dude”, he remarked. I have to agree he was right!
Nevertheless, after a lot of brainstorming, I decided that Finance was good for me and rest is not history but my present. MBA over and a Finance job right now keeps me busy. And again, I loved my MBA experience and my job is challenging enough to keep my brain occupied. But the point is the fact that I cannot become a scientist does not prevent me from wanting to become one. And I don’t feel as if I have not accomplished the purpose of my life by not becoming one. I still enjoy the small things in my life; celebrate the small victories at work and in my personal life and still love Einstein and Abdul Kalam. And still my best answer to the question of what I want to be is: “I want to be happy and possibly make others feel happy as well”.
So don’t always look for role models or landmarks in your life! Aspire to be but don’t feel as if the world has ended if you can’t be! Don’t underestimate your caliber or talent or that of your loved ones. Don’t try to be someone else for the sake of it! Try to be proud of what you are and happy in what you do! Helping a child have a day’s meal could be more meaningful than earning a business contract for your employer! It is okay to be clueless. Sometimes it is fun not to know what life has in store for us!