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My Life Purpose (and Money Isn’t Part of It!)

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In the daily grind of your life, amidst the rat race that you might be running day in and day out to earn more and more money, what if I tell you that money – financial wealth you are trying to accumulate – might not be your life’s purpose…your reason for being?

“What s***t are you talking about, Vishal?” a friend asked me when I made the above statement to him a few days back?

“Life is all about living happily, and you need a lot of money to do that!” he remarked with an expression as if I’d told him something blasphemous.

“Of course, you need money to live a happy life.” I clarified. “Whatever any spiritual guru says, I believe that money is a necessary evil…and thus important.

“But then money is not what I’m living for!” I added.

“That is what everyone says to sound good,” he countered. “Tell me, what are you living for? What’s your life’s purpose?”

“I don’t yet know what my life purpose is,” I expressed to a loud “Huh!” from him.

“But…” I continued, “I know some things about my life purpose…about that thing that keeps me going…on and on.”

“And what are those things?” he asked.

“One, I think my life purpose won’t necessarily be financially rewarding. Plus it might not be comfortable, easy or convenient.”

“Carry on!” he seemed eager, though I thought he was sarcastic.

“Also, my life purpose will bring me joy and contentment. I don’t get that joy and contentment from money, so I know this isn’t it!” I said.

“Wow!” he exclaimed.

“Also, while my life purpose might not make sense logically, but then you know that sometimes logic is just fear with a pretty face!”

“I’m not getting what you are trying to say, but carry one,” he again interrupted me.

“Then, I’m sure my life purpose will piss some people off, and possibly, people close to me!”

“What do you mean?” he asked. I thought he felt offended here, so I knew I was going in the right direction.

“Also, most people will think my life purpose is wrong, but for me it will be right. In fact, it will be perfect!”

“Nice words, Vishal! But when would you know that you have found your life purpose? Will it meet you someday with a board saying – ‘I’m your life purpose!’”

“No dear,” I said. “But I’m sure when I discover it, my heart will tell me.”

“Sounds filmy!” he laughed out loud. “Now, how do I find my own life purpose?”

I tapped on his shoulder and said, “You won’t find yours while living someone else’s!”

He gazed at me while I continued, “Live your life the way your inner self wants you to live. I know this sounds fearful, but then as I heard an old soldier say – without fear there can be no courage.”

My friend got up to bid me goodbye. It seemed he was leaving to find his life purpose. 🙂

Anyways, what’s your life purpose? Is money a part of it? By the way, have you already found your life purpose? Share with me in the Comments section below.

If you are in Pune on 18th August 2012, you might want to register for Safal Niveshak’s Art of Investing Workshop. Click here to register

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About the Author

Vishal Khandelwal is the founder of Safal Niveshak. He works with small investors to help them become smart and independent in their stock market investing decisions. He is a SEBI registered Research Analyst. Connect with Vishal on Twitter.

Comments

  1. Ajay Pal Singh says:

    And I thought only I don’t feel lot of money is a life purpose for me. Well written Vishal. I am also searching for the life purpose and sure about few things like you mentioned in the article.

  2. Hi All,
    Here is simple story

    There lived a wood cutter who used to cut woods and sell them to the
    villagers for his living. One day has sleeping in the shade of a trees
    keeping axe next to him.

    A villager asked him “Hay What are you doing ?”
    Wood cutter said ” I am sleeping !”
    Villager “Why are you wasting your time? Go and get more woods, you can get more money”
    Wood cutter: “What I can do with that ?”
    V:”You can buy a cycle, house etc.. etc.. and you can employ few labors for wood cutting”
    W:”Great ! What I can do next ?”
    V:”You can cut a lot of Trees, Sell them and become Wood contractor to make a lots of money”
    W:”Interesting.. what next ?”
    V:”You can have a big house and many servants to serve you !”
    W: “Awesome, what do I do next?”
    V: “You can sleep happily and peacefully in your life !”
    Now wood cutter was confused, he told “Mind your business, that’s what I am doing (peacefully sleeping) ”

    Now the question is
    “Whether you have to cut all the trees to sleep peacefully ?” OR
    “You can sleep happily only after cutting all the trees ?”

    We work harder and harder, Get bonus, Buy a villa on loan, Work harder and harder to payoff the loan, Buy all fancy things to impress your neighbors/relatives/friends, All “To live happily and peacefully ?”

    Is it worth to win this race ? we need to think again.

    Thanks

    • Dear Mr. Umakant, thanks a lot for sharing this profound story! The moral here is that there’s no point trying to win the rat race…because even if you win here, you will still be a rat! Regards.

  3. Upendra says:

    A nice article. Of course, all your articles are interesting. Even, I don’t know my life purpose yet. Life is going on with family, job..etc., Otherwise, there’s no point running behind the money to amass wealth and leave it to your family. Really, there’s something more to do in this beautiful life..sometimes, few memories, remembrances alone might sail you all through your life.

  4. So apart from Safalniveshak I see Safaljeevan coming up as well.
    I have attended a couple of residential programs on such stuff. It was, for me, an eye opener. However, please note that all of this spirituality when pratcised in real life is when each of these concepts gets tested, and to my surprise lost of people already are practising in their day to day lives.
    This would be a great quest/ journey on your part. I hope to see more enrichment coming our way from you on such matters, as well.
    In fact, to me, doing whatever you do to the best of your ability is the best meditation and essence of spirituatlity.

  5. Manish Sharma says:

    I don’t think I have actually attained that sort of zen reality where I am aware of the purpose of my life. But, if I were to do a little bit of self-analysis then I think although money is important and you can’t deny its importance in life, but its role is limited. It’s a means to achieve some end and not an end itself. There is something bigger, something greater force that is at work in a person’s life. You are lucky that you have realized what it is for you 🙂 I am yet to reach that stage :s

  6. Shankar says:

    Hello Vishal..
    That was a nice article I enjoyed reading it..
    Yes, I have found my purpose of life, my everyday starts with it and ends with it. And I think it is too early to disclose my purpose of life, people may even laught at it !
    Well is money part of that purpose? It’s Yes and No. The answer is diplomatic because once one start working on his purpose and because of his perfection at it, money just starts coming in.
    Everyone in the life find their purpose at the different stages of their lives, as Buddha found it once he saw those sick, aged and death cases, an incident in the train in South Africa stirred Gandhi to fight for one’s rights. His eagerness to find about his biological parents gave Steve Jobs his purpose in life.
    In the same manner depending on one or the other incidents in our lives, our heart always try to guide us towords our purpose. But we have to listen to our intuition rather than being intellectual.
    One has to come out of the rat race, one has to keep listening to his heart. If not one day heart just stops guiding us, as we acted so adamant in listening to it.

  7. Nice Vishal. There is so much fun in searching rather than reaching destination, na? This article reminds of Steve Jobs’ famous speech “Stay Hungry, Stay Foolish”.
    Jobs also said there “… If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.”
    I read this speech every morning and thus starts my day searching for something I value most in life. The search is on.

  8. Phantom says:

    Okay. This is something deep. Now, clearly from this post, I guess you are searching for your purpose in life. So is Mr. Ajay Pal Singh. So seems to be Mr. Upendra.

    First of all, my question is do you ‘need’ a purpose in life? Assuming an average age of 30-35 of commentors and you including, we have spent some good amount of time without even knowing this purpose. Finding and taking a purpose in life for the sake of it, seems another additional responsibility to me. Don’t weigh your self down and probably spend an indiscriminate time in searching for your purpose. It may get very depressing if you can’t find it. At best you can make up something temporarily and go on. And of course it may change in future. So my opinion is minimize hassles in daily life and strive for what our elders said – “nityasukha” or daily happiness.

    Coming to money and wealth part. Any rational human being wants to maximize wealth – because it is a scarce resource and the fact is the more you have it, the better it is. Not that because of greed or spending lavishly or anything, but just for a peace of mind. Who knows you or your loved ones may need some critical medical attention. It might be a complication – you never know whether 10L is needed or 50L. And our paltry health insurance of 5-6 L may not cover it. You never know. So that is the fundamental reason people maximise wealth. And there is nothing wrong in it per se.

    For me – it is simply this? It is good to spend sometime in knowing what one wants to do in life or may be what a purpose could be. But too much thinking here and splitting hairs on this may not be worth it. Because I have gone through this and have found no concrete answers.

  9. This post reminds me Maslow’s law of needs. Once you are satisfied with basic needs human being wants move up and up. Finally one day he realizes with all his wealth he is still unsatisfied. Most the customs, finance is human creation. Money is not real, it’s an idea. But right from school days you are taught to live good life you need money. We can not live according to rules of nature, we want to create our own rules. Some are gifted and through hard work they achieve lots of wealth. Others are made to follow those rules. Those who don’t are not part of this society and are rejected, many times ridiculed. Anyway the point is once you have enough(as per one’s needs) money you then turn to search for something else.

  10. In my opinion everybody’s purpose of life is one! “To merge with the ONE” or in other words nirvana! and we would finally get around to work on it only when we have rejected all other options through our experiences.. self reliance is an important milestone before we can sit on the mat to meditate… this is where ‘money’ comes in.. we need to have enough money so that i can be self reliant and pursue my goals with peace of mind!

  11. Vishal, I did not understand purpose of this article. Money may not be the purpose of life, but, we all know we need money, good amount of it, to fulfil our responsibilities to our families and to live with peace of mind. Thinking about purpose of life is just an abstract thinking, in my opinion.

  12. Anil Kumar Tulsiram says:

    Hi Vishal

    Great one. Pleased to read something other than on finance and investments.

  13. Another thing to ponder about –
    Remember God in good times and Equities in bad times. 🙂

  14. I am around thirty nine and I have found that it is necessary to keep the mind occupied with a goal to keep my sanity. Money is like an addictive drug that consumed in very modest amounts will keep you happy and contented but let it out of control and it will suffocate you. So like one gentleman in these comments said, have money goals that will remove the fear of becoming helpless in old age. But have other interests too and one day you might find one that feels like your destiny. All the best.

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