In this blog post, I aim to briefly discuss my views on what I believe needs to be done in order to live a meaningful life. I am, by no means attempting to point you in any specific direction. Beyond being foolish, that would in essence, contradict what I fundamentally believe in. That is, I believe that ones definition meaningful life is privy to the confines of each individual. That said, I will nonetheless endeavour in sharing my opinion on a matter that I have spent a lot of time thinking about. I hope that this post will assist in further engagements with other individuals. Furthermore, I’m hopeful that this post will enable the youth to actively engage and collectively refine our opinions such that, we can all live a productive and meaningful life that is aligned to our respective underlying purpose.
I used to believe that living a meaningful life meant that I had to be a multi millionaire or famous. I believed this so fervently that I would always set SMART goals for myself. Whether they were written down on a piece of paper that was hanging on my wall or goals deeply engrained in my brain. Ninety percent of the time, my goals were directed at improving my academic performance or achieving a certain monetary target. I was told that this was the only way to ensure success in an increasingly competitive world. After acknowledging these goals and the work that would be needed, I would pursue them relentlessly and whole-heartedly. Along the relentless pursuit of my goals, I would adjust my life completely, in order to achieve the proverbial low-hanging fruit.
Over time, I have developed an underlying issue with this view of setting goals and its impact on ones ability to live a meaningful life. The reason I say this is because I set my goals and lived in a way that contradicted my individuality. I allowed myself to conform to goals that I believed would make me successful in monetary terms. Talking to friends, students and working professionals, I am constantly reminded of the rat race that a large percentage of us are in. I listen to stories about how our goals, generally aimed at securing a fruitful future, are dictating every aspect of our lives. Moreover, they are ensuring that we consume the most valuable commodity that we have which is time. I hear stories of staying in the library until the early hours of the morning studying a module they hate and working 60-hour weeks in a job that they resent in the hope that this will ensure future success.
I believe that our perspectives and who we is largely determined by the environments that we are exposed to, our comparative experiences, and our reaction/response to these experiences. I believe that in order to live a meaningful life and be successful, you need to firstly, understand your individuality. Thereafter, you will be aptly positioned to set goals that are aligned to your individuality. I further believe that we cannot give up give up some of the most important time that we have on this earth pursuing the general and somewhat outdated view on what a successful life should be. I believe that instead of living your life in order to conform to the general view, we should actively push against it. By this I mean that you should aim to live a life that you enjoy and set your goals accordingly and not the other way around. I no longer conform to the notion that one has no other option but to pursue a life that is filled with missed opportunities and involves constant drudgery and contempt.
We are fortunate enough to live in a beautiful country that is dynamic and brimming with endless opportunities. My ideal world would be one where no one lives a life in which they are immobile and constantly unhappy. Rather, I would love to see a South Africa in which everyone does what they love, irrespective of their paycheque or social pressures.
Ultimately, you are the only person who can decide how you want to live and then see what you can do to make that a ideal become reality. This will take courage, patience and effort, but the reward will be a successful and meaningful life.
So tell me, what are you waiting for…