Do you remember that time in school when you were supposed to study for that chemistry test, and you just couldn’t bring yourself to sit down with the books, despite being extremely aware of the circumstances? Can you recall the last time your parents made you their tag along while visiting relatives, and while you externally put on the performance of the obliging child so adored by those aunts to perfection, you were so bored inside you could have killed someone just for the sake of having something to do? This is what I can retrieve from memory when listing out my most tiresome experiences. Please feel free to pick your own. Now string them together, and imagine leading a life living these moments on a loop, with a very few reprieves in between. Does that sound unbearable yet? This might be your life, one where you live for the weekends, for the lunch breaks, or for any tiny ray of hope that flits across your otherwise bleak day, and all because you refused to answer one simple question you needed to ask yourself: What is it that you want to do with your life? And yes, I said ‘with’, not ‘in’. Do take note.
I am not really a good person to be taking this up, because I have made so many mistakes myself, but then again, that is precisely why I might be an excellent person to be taking this up. I started out as a kid wanting to be a scientist who was told it is better to be a doctor. So I switched to trying to wanting to be a doctor. Complicated, right? Wait, it gets worse. In the aftermath of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, I wanted to be a football player; after reading the Bourne series, I wanted to be an espionage agent, then I decided that I would rather be a photographer for Lonely Planet, or maybe I would want to run a nation. I then came back to wanting to be a theoretical physicist (This time round, I had a cooler name for it). I might have gone on to wondering if I should take up figure skating, but then life intervened, I had finished school and had to begin applying for graduation. I did so, and got rejected by all my dream schools. I didn’t take a year off to prepare again, because in my moments of weakness and disillusionment, I caved in to pressure, and got myself enrolled for engineering.
Is there a point to this story, you are wondering? Perhaps. Or maybe I just like talking about myself. But in the past two year of my education, I realized how thoroughly unfulfilling it is to participate in something that you find completely uninspiring. I did projects and internships, and sat through lectures, appeared for practical evaluations and slogged for the exams. And somewhere along the way, I started having glimpses of spending a lifetime doing this. And then I got scared. I became convinced that this is not what I want to be doing with my life. I am glad I did, for I might still not be too sure regarding what I love to do best, but I have saved myself from the tragedy of being stuck in a place I can never make home.
It is possible that you maybe one of those people who are exceedingly talented in one particular aspect; or you might be one of those whose wide interests run across a variety of disciplines. Regardless of what category you fall into, I bring to you words of wisdom from Albus Dumbledore, “It is our choices, Harry, that determine who we are more than our abilities.” And that is precisely why you need to stop going through the motions and contemplate the one question that possesses the power to determine the quality and productivity of your life and the extent of your happiness and satisfaction.
You need to know if there is something that incites white hot passion in you, and you need to get busy doing it. Get rid of all the excuses, the hindrances, the pseudo(or maybe not) sense of being burdened by obligations you tell yourself you want to be fulfilling, figure out your particular breed of problems, and chase them away. Count yourself fortunate since you know where you want to end up, and sit down to make a road map. Of all life partners, regret is the most difficult to live with. Why? Because to have loved and lost, and that for lack of trying, is one of the saddest things in the world. Address your issues, begin despite the fear of failure, and you will begin to find your feet. If I may add, it can work out. This is how I ended up on Internshala’s blog, because I decided to give myself a chance.
If you happen to be someone who cannot single out one particular pursuit they would like to venture on, welcome to the club. Don’t beat yourself up for not knowing what path to take. And there is no ‘right’ time to have acquired this knowledge by, there is so much more in this world than you could possibly have seen or felt, so you never know what may capture your fantasy for good till it does. Consider that you have a diverse range of vistas opening ahead to induct you. Begin with coming up and then narrowing down your lists, strike off all that which wouldn’t like to poke with a stick from a distance. Distill your choices till you reach that point where you have a couple, or more, things that you cannot discriminate between. Acquire and hone skills which shall make you an asset across all your areas of interest, and then let probability throw its dices, since you are insured. This would require some extra initiative from your end, and it can be quite challenging, but it takes you closer to where you should be, and the time and effort you expend are actually being invested in your own growth and advancement.
I have been grappling with the veracity or lack thereof of an observation made to me, that one must always keep ‘purpose’ above ‘people’ in one’s life; I leave you to render your verdict on that. But I do believe that it is only when we are confident and satisfied with our place here in this world that we can learn to take crises in our stride and not fall apart in the face of opposing forces, and go on to develop mutually nourishing relationships with others. And this sense of accomplishment must come from one’s own mind, a mind engaged in doing what it loves best. I will also go on to say that what we do with our lives is extremely significant, to us, to the people we care for and the world we inhabit. I believe that we would lead infinitely better and happier lives if we truly love what we do for a living, and if it rewards us with the gratification of having contributed. So let us choose vocations for ourselves and not careers.
Image credit – http://fogsmoviereviews.files.wordpress.coam/2012/07/office_space_peter.png
About author : Salvi Singh is a 3rd year B.Tech (Electronics & Communication) student at J.K. Institute of Applied Physics and Technology, University of Allahabad.