I was never sure about what I really wanted from life and what my true purpose was, so I started to explore myself and the world around me. One thing that I was sure of was my innate curiosity to learn just about anything new that came my way. Another thing that I knew I had was the ability to work hard and get my hands dirty. So it was hardly surprisingly that I was good or rather excellent in whatever I did. This made the search for my purpose even harder as I lost myself in the inebriation of curiosity, trying one thing after another and then another. My ravenous mind was never at peace with one thing and it always wanted exciting adventures to embark on, new paths to trek on and a new summit to climb on.
I threw myself in all kinds of jobs, internships, fellowships and what not! Before graduating as an engineer, I had already worked as a researcher, a writer, a marketing intern as well as an analyst. My stints in all these roles definitely piqued my interest but the problem was that I was interested in each of them and couldn’t really focus on one. My mind kept wandering as I had so many opportunities to choose from. Sometimes the wide range of choices we get at the start of our career can be the reason why many of us feel so confused. I was still clueless when I began to give interviews for the many companies visiting my college during the ‘placement’ season as it is called in India. I had prepared for all of them because I was not targeting any one company but all of them at the same time. We had many behemoths visiting our campus that year- Microsoft, Google, Samsung, Facebook and lots of other big names- I knew I would surely get into one of them and then I got the final offer from Samsung. Well that’s how I ended up becoming a wireless engineer in the South Korean electronics giant.
Was I happy working there? I think I was happy in the beginning when I was getting to learn all the new stuff and when I was traveling to new countries but the passion slowly died when the same experiences started to repeat- the same people, the same work and the same countries. My curious soul wanted new adventures and challenges which were nowhere to be found in my ‘peaceful’ job. So I moved on to an entirely different role, that of a teacher in a low income school. Yes that’s right, I became a philanthropist educator working in an NGO from being a ‘salaried’ engineer working in a top MNC. The salary I got at that ‘MNC’ was at the price of my freedom, my freedom to choose, to explore and to live. There was in fact no use of such a salary that denied my soul the expression of its curiosity and its immense creativity. Thus I was now sure what kind of work I would never want to do again in my life and I felt relieved.
I understood that I priced my curiosity to learn and explore much more than the big money that I made. I also realized that I valued opportunities for continuous learning and self development above anything else. That was my first step towards wisdom.
Later on, a quiet and happy life began at school and the kids loved me for my dedication and I loved them back. I began to feel more satisfied and more complete as I was doing something new, something challenging and something that was good for my society. I thought I would be happy now but I was not really happy. I had mistakenly confused the excitement of all things new with happiness. I later felt that although I liked to make a difference in society, I did not love to teach small children. I had reached the end but the means of reaching my goal were not making me happy. I think the journey is always more important than the destination, so it’s necessary to do what we love the most. The purpose should not be thought of as a particular destination or a goal but rather as a continuum, as a journey in itself- a journey that makes us happy and feel alive every moment. I was still waiting for exactly that kind of journey to begin.
I knew that the only option I had now was to learn from my past experiences, reflect on them and keep on moving forward. Well I did move forward and I have come a long way since then. I have wholeheartedly invested in myself, in my learning, in my health as well as in my holistic development as a human being. I have learnt two different dance forms as well as Yoga. I have also learnt a new language and can speak it well. Meanwhile I am taking guitar lessons to get a better understanding of music, traveling a lot with friends and family and writing my experiences in a journal. But on a regular day, I do lots of studying and I read a lot as well. I find comfort in devouring texts and doing exhaustive research studies on eclectic topics. I can feel a sense of peace and calm within my soul which is now getting just the optimum amount of fuel it wants. I am no longer curious to look on the other side as life on the other side no longer looks greener to me. My own life seems to be the most interesting thing in the universe. Is that what they call wisdom? I think so!