Lately I have been reading Elle Luna’s book “The Crossroads of Should and Must.”I haven’t finished it yet but I can tell you that it is an interesting read. It is a book filled with interesting thoughts but the one thought that really caught my attention came in the form of a quote by Haword Thurman.
The quote says” “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” That’s quite a simple idea right? But in fact, it is an idea that many of us fail to follow.
In our image based society, we have been taught since a very early age to pick a field of study that will guarantee us a job. When we pick our majors in university, we are often asked by our parents if this major will put us on a good career path for the future. So we pick to study certain subjects not based on our interest but based on what we believe is in demand within our market.
For example, most students studying accounting do so because they believe that a degree with a CPA will get them up the corporate ladder. Similarly most students studying business believe that with a degree and an an MBA, PMP , or any other three letter certification they will get a managerial position fast enough. It is this reasoning that causes students to fight to enter schools of engineering, medicine, computer science, business, and finance more so then they would demand entering schools of literature, history, art, music, geography, or archeology.
This is why a person passionate about writing, music, art, or any other creative discipline would not study it in university because this person has been taught to believe that creativity is something to do as a hobby and not as a career. Many people taking desk jobs would secretly doodle or draw. Others would play music in their free time, or only dream of another career. Others are less lucky, they just work, live a life being busy, and forget about the things they truly love.
True talents often die behind the idea that we should pay attention only to those things that will get us a job, or guarantee us financial security , and in a society where we are taught to focus on getting jobs, making a living, and buying a house, we leave little room for personal interests. In fact personal interests are thought of as trivial matters that adults should not be wasting time on.
So, even when we do pursue our hobbies we ask ourselves if this is worth it, if this is useful, and if this will come to any financial benefit, when in my opinion this is the last thing we should ask.
The only questions really worth asking is “Does drawing, music, writing, or whatever our interest is no matter how ridiculous it seems to the world make us happy?” If the answer to that question is a yes, then we should make time for it regardless of the financial gain or lack thereof.
At the end of the day, we do come alive when we do the things we like and life is too short for us to live, trying to associate everything we do with the benefit it has to offer us in social standards.
Isn’t happiness the greatest benefit one can gain from this life, and aren’t we as people at our best when we are actually happy and passionate about what we are doing? When the matter is put that way then it is such a waste to be stuck doing only those things that society finds beneficial.
Maybe the world does need us to stop thinking of our image or why we do certain things, maybe we should think of making our life really worth living because we love what we do.
Food for thought !
Read more about “The Crossroads of Should and Must ” here
P.S. I even love the design of the book . The images you see in the article are from the book.