1. You know the meaning of life already. Picasso* said, “The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to
give it away.” Makes sense to me. I believe the most troubling question for many people, especially as they approach middle age is the nagging doubt about whether they’ve found the reason they were put on this earth. The reason we’re here is to help others. That’s it.
2. The quest for success is a con job. And we’ve been had. Why? Because if I asked you to define success, you’re likely to say big house, fast car, fine spouse. Wrong. Success is self contained inside us as individuals. The blind race for acquisition distracts us from paying mind to our individuality. To pause long enough to see that aha what’s fulfilling for me might not be what’s fulfilling for for you. Why then are we all chasing the same things? Why do we compete without even asking why? Who started the clock and ordered us to just run without first asking why? I’ll tell you who did. Big Business did. The more we run, the more we want their idea of success, the more we labour for the corporations the more we temporarily acquire money to put back into the cycle. Everything becomes more expensive in the end. And what do we gain from that? Not success, I can tell you that. What we gain is still that nagging doubt about whether we fulfilled our purpose or not.
3. Happiness isn’t for losers. Do you chose happiness because you lost in the quest for success? Or do you win the quest for success because you choose happiness? Some deride us for becoming stoic or minimalists because they think it’s our way of giving up. That we lost. The question is: what exactly did we lose? The choice to own more property or the unreasonable pursuit of things we can’t have? Truth is no matter how hard some of us try, we can’t ever be what we’re not equipped to be. I can’t outrun Hussein Bolt. I can’t rap better than Kendrick Lamar. I can’t run a business like Dangote. These people may not even be more intelligent than me but I’m not interested in what they do. Nature… nurture; something is responsible for my feelings. But if I let my Ego deceive me into hustling for what these people are doing because they’ve made fame and fortune, on the job I’ll only be as imaginative as a dog with a freesbee. And ultimately I’d have failed twice. Happiness is to recognise our strengths and enjoy the heck out of them.
4. Philosophy is for practice, not just thought. When you speak like a philosopher, it’s common for people to say, oh you’re trying to be deep. #fakedeep. Haha. No, I’m not TRYING to be deep; I’m trying to figure out my life. The philosophy we’re talking about– Stoicism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, etcetera– were ways for those who started them to explain the world. They lived their philosophies. Marcus Aurelius, with a monumental army and powers extending to either ends of the world, was stoic. He wasn’t trying to be deep. He was figuring out life.
5. Too many people are hurting. Check your timeline right now: all your social networks, including WhatsApp. You see so many of your friends posting inspirational quotes. How come inspirational/motivational/religious lyrics receive the most attention. Even brands are jumping on that train. People are confused, suffering, tired, looking for help. The old institutions and perpetual push for extrinsic satisfaction aren’t helping so much. It’s time for people to help people.
I reckon there are people who see these things differently. I’m happy to discuss with you. If you can teach me a thing or two, I’ll be the better for it.
*We’re not entirely sure if this was said by Picasso, Shakespeare, or Ralph Waldo Emerson. But I like Picasso.