There isn’t one.
Imagine someone asks you — What is the right way to live life?
What would you answer?
Are you implementing the advice you ever-so-willingly give others?
Do you even know what would your ideal life would look like?
Everyone seems to have a clear idea of how other people should lead their lives, but none about his or her own.
Let Go Of The Binary Of Right And Wrong
The most important things in life are often subjective — Love, Success, Freedom and Happiness.
The first guy Jill fell in love with cheated on her. The second guy she chose turned out to be a toxic person and her third boyfriend abused her.
Now what do you like the word love will remind Jill of?
Grief. Betrayal. Loss. All the things it’s not.
While on the other hand, Ana shares a wonderful relationship with the first guy she fell in love with. They’re still together 12 years later.
Now how will Ana describe love?
Beautiful. Supportive. Healing. Comfortable. Secure. Warm.
Ana is a nomadic, free-spirited gypsy soul. She wants to travel the world, meet new people and write books about them. For her travelling the world and publishing her own books would define success.
Jill is an introverted mathematician who finds comfort in traditional routines. For her, working at a place that offers her opportunities to showcase her numerical aptitude while guaranteeing job security would be success.
Being born in a rich family, Ana always attended extravagant parties in posh cars. She always had to be appropriately dressed and interacted only with the members of high-class families.
Freedom to her would mean dancing in her pajamas, goofing around with her friends and running along the wind without a care in the world.
On the other hand Jill’s family struggled to make ends meet. They didn’t have much of a say in how to go about their life.
Financial independence and the ability to take her own decisions would mean freedom to her.
This is pretty self-explanatory.
I derive happiness from writing, you may derive it from reading, working out, hanging out with your friends or even sleeping.
There’s no right or wrong. It’s about what you believe in, what fulfills you and what sets ablaze your soul- whether it is a corporate meeting or scuba diving in a remote sea.
It is a story of a group of blind men, who have never come across an elephant before and who learn and conceptualize what the elephant is like by touching it. Each blind man feels a different part of the elephant body, but only one part, such as the side or the tusk. They then describe the elephant based on their partial experience and their descriptions are in complete disagreement on what an elephant is. In some versions, they come to suspect that the other person is dishonest and they come to blows. The moral of the parable is that humans have a tendency to project their partial experiences as the whole truth, ignore other people’s partial experiences, and one should consider that one may be partially right and may have partial information.
Fifty Shades Of Right
Maybe you don’t identify with Ana or Jill, maybe you’re Peter, Tom or Clara — You are you and your reality is shaped by the perspectives you form through your individual experiences.
The worst way to live life is to constantly worry if you’re living it right.
Life isn’t a racing course where you’re constantly trying to reach the next mark— education, job, marriage, kids and retirement.
If you choose this life, good for you — nothing wrong in that. But if you have wanderlust pulsating through your veins and yet you’re trying to create a power point presentation for corporate leaders — sorry to break it to you, happiness will elude you.
You may smile, laugh around and steal little moments of joy here and there but you will never really be fulfilled. There will always be this shrieking emptiness drawing you towards what ignites your fire.
You can only ignore it for so long before it erupts.
It always does. In weird ways- depression, stress, impulsive resignations, suicides.
It’s your soul telling you that it can’t drag anymore.
Now here I’m not saying that lifestyle is bad, if you want to live like that, feel free to pursue it.
If working 20 hours a day means happiness to you — that’s your choice. Live life the way you want to.
But don’t be so busy creating a life that you forget to live it
Just until a few days ago, I almost felt guilty for enjoying leisure time. I was constantly haunted by this idea that I need to be productive 24×7.
On the days when I was not at my productive-best, I felt like I was wasting my precious life.
I almost felt sinful while spending time with my loved ones.
I hate to admit it — I was not really in the moment.
(Yes, to all those friends who are reading this, I don’t remember what your grandma got you for your birthday because I was too anxious about not being at my desk working to give you the engagement you expected.)
Obsession stole my attention before I could hand it over to you.
The internet is filled with advice telling you to work hard and commit to your goals. That’s what I did. So much so that doing anything else made me feel like a criminal.
The only thing that fulfilled me anymore was my work — Anything other than that, no matter how joyful, failed to fulfill me.
While watching a movie I used to worry about how I am not consistent enough regarding my work and while writing my thoughts would be ruled by devils of views, engagement, promotions, proofreading, everything else but the mere bliss of creation.
The obsession of perfection takes away the joy of creation.
I had become so obsessed with words like hard work, dedication, commitment, consistency, that I was not able to think anything beyond the confines of productivity. It was taking over my life.
I got so engrossed in making a life that I forgot to live it.
But I’m so glad I realized this soon. I still have time. I am young. and I have my whole life ahead of me. I’ve just taken a wrong turn, but I’m still holding the steering wheel.
So whenever, wherever, however you’re travelling, remember to enjoy the journey; for the destination is fleeting.
Once you arrive somewhere, you don’t stay there forever — you have a new goal and and you steer in that direction.
Stop Beating Yourself Up
It’s okay to take a day off to just watch the sunrise and hum along with the birds. Its okay to forget all your ‘obligations’ and just be engrossed in bliss for a while. Its okay to miss some deadlines, it’s okay to fail an exam but it’s not okay to lose your peace of mind trying to have-it-all.
And trust me you’re not going to enjoy one bit of what you’re doing if you’re constantly constrained by the the little voice in your head telling you that you’re wasting your time and walking towards failure.
No matter how long you contemplate a decision and how detailed your plan is, things are not always going to work in your favour. Accept that and stop obsessing over living life the right way.
I said it before and I’ll keep saying this over and over until it reverbeartes through your subconscious.
The worst way to live life is to constantly worry if you’re living it right.
Life is precious and human potential infinite.
Gather your woods and ignite your own fire instead of stealing others warmth and turning them cold.
Be your own wildfire — just the way you want to be — janitor or CEO. There’s no binary, no right or wrong.
Find meaning, add value, nurture relationships, cultivate curiosity, give generously, chase your ambitions and live life in such a way that your day begins with inspiration and ends with fulfillment.
Note : I am not an expert nor do I hold any formal degree in this subject. I am just an inquisitive soul trying to figure out the secrets of the universe. My beliefs are not ‘the ultimate truth’ and are subject to change as and when conflicting arguments win over my current interpretation. Feel free to join me as I connect the dots hoping to understand the complete picture.