Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Purpose of Life

A person at work recently asked me a question. She asked me how do I remain calm and unfazed by the fact that most of my peers have moved up the ladder while I am still down here going round in circles and achieving nothing (well, those are not her exact words but you know what I mean :-)). At first I do not know whether to view the question as an insult (reinforced by the fact that she profusely apologized prior to asking me the question) or a compliment! My normal response would have been a sarcastic remark. However, on that day, I held my tongue and left her with a smile and a shrug.

The question, however did not leave me. It got stuck inside my head and it got me thinking. And thinking lead to more questions. Is it wrong to be satisfied with what we have and not want more? Is life really about having the "correct" titles in front of your name? Is life really about climbing that elusive 'corporate' ladder?The answers can be found if we sit down quietly and reflect. We have to reflect and ask ourselves the reason for our being here on earth. For us muslims the answers lie in examining the whole purpose of us being here. What is our purpose in life? What are Allah's grand designs for us? What are our core business as muslims? What are our performance indicators as muslims? Steven Covey coined something that is called 'principle centred living' ( as opposed to self centred, money centred, spouse centerd, work centred etc.) For us muslims we can identify it as maybe Islam centred living, I don't know.

So, back to the questions above. What are the answers? Well it depends, for me all the titles, promotions, money, fame and fortune should be the means in realizing that life's purpose. In other words there is nothing wrong with the promotions or titles or what nots per se, so long as they are viewed as tools in realizing you life's purpose ( the correct Islam centred one). However, what ails the society now, is that these so called "success milestones" have themselves become the purpose of life for some.