[perfectpullquote align=”full” cite=”” link=”” color=”” class=”” size=””] The Priest: There comes a time in man’s search for meaning when one realizes that there are no answers. And when you come to that horrible, unavoidable realization, you accept it or you kill yourself. Or you simply stop searching… I have lived a blessed life. And yet every night, when I climb into bed, turn off the lights, and stare in to the dark, I wonder… Is this all there is? Jackie Kennedy: You wonder? The Priest: Every soul on this planet does. But then, when morning comes, we all wake up and make a pot of coffee. Jackie Kennedy: Why do we bother? The Priest: Because we do. You did this morning, you will again tomorrow. But God, in his infinite wisdom, has made sure it is just enough for us -Jackie, 2016. [/perfectpullquote]
THE MEANING OF ONE’S LIFE
Everyone has his own specific vocation or mission in life; everyone must carry out a concrete assignment that demands fulfillment. Therein he cannot be replaced, nor can his life be repeated. Thus, everyone’s task is unique as is his specific opportunity to implement it. ~VIKTOR FRANKL
But how to discover the meaning of life?
Frankl saw three possible sources for meaning:
1. By creating a work (or doing a deed)–doing something significant;
2. By experiencing something or encountering someone (caring for another person);
3. By the courageous attitude we take toward unavoidable suffering.
What matters is not the meaning of life in general but the specific meaning of a person’s life at any given moment.
FIVE STRATEGIES FOR FINDING YOUR LIFE’S TASK
It might seem that connecting to something as personal as your inclinations and Life’s Task would be relatively simple and natural, once you recognize their importance. But in fact is the opposite. It requires a good deal of planning and strategizing to do it properly, since so many obstacles will present themselves.
In Mastery you’ll find five strategies, illustrated by stories of Masters, that are designed to deal with the main obstacles in your path over time–the voices of others infecting you, fighting over limited resources, choosing false paths, getting stuck in the past, and losing your way.
(1) Return to your origins–The Primal Inclination Strategy
You must understand the following: In order to master a field, you must love the subject and feel a profound connection to it. Your interest must trascend the field itself and border on the religious.
—>Look for its traces in visceral reactions to something simple; a desire to repeat an activity that you never tired of; a subject that stimulated an unusual degree of curiosity; feelings of power attached to particular actions. If you reconnect with this core at any age, some element of the primitive attraction will spark back to life, indicating a path that can ultimately become your Life’s Task.
(2) Occupy the perfect niche–The Darwinian Strategy
The career world is like an ecological system: People occupy particular fields within which they must compete for resources and survival. The more people there are crowded into a space, the harder it becomes to thrive there.
The game you want to play is different: to instead find a niche in the ecology that you can dominate. It is never a simple process to find such a niche. It requires patience and a particular strategy.
—>In the beginning you choose a field that roughly corresponds to your interests (medicine, electrical engineering). From there you can go in one of two directions.
(3) Avoid the false path–The Rebellion Strategy
A false path in life is generally something we are attracted to for the wrong reasons–money, fame, attention, and so on. If it is attention we need, we often experience a kind of emptiness inside that we are hoping to fill with the false love of public approval. Because the field we choose does not correspond with our deepest inclinations, we rarely find the fulfillment that we crave.
(4) Let go of the past–The Adaptation Strategy
In dealing with your career and its inevitable changes, you must think in the following way: You are not tied to a particular position; your loyalty is not to a career or a company. You are committed to your Life’s Task, to giving it full expression. It is up to you to find it and guide it correctly. It is not up to others to protect or help you. You are on your own.
(5) Find your way back–The Life-or-Death Strategy
—> The way back requires a sacrifice. You cannot have everything in the present. You will have to keep your focus on five or ten years down the road, when you will reap the rewards of your efforts. The process of getting there, however, is full of challenges and pleasures.
Related Reading: Mastery and Man’s Search for Meaning
Photo Source: Bustle.