The Final Harbour

One man cried on top of his lungs, proudly declaring that he has now arrived at his final harbour – a company he’d work for for the rest of his life. Another tearfully shared that there’s nothing else in his mind and his dreams other than the company he led. Would you like to find a company about which you can declare these kinds of total dedication?

That kind of sentiment is one I don’t understand. I guess these two men can rightly declare so since they’re already at their own C-suites. They’ve been at the pinnacle of their professional lives. What else can they expect? They’re at the top rung of their careers. But most people aren’t – and that’s why most people should be saying the things these men say.

Life is a series of unavoidable changes, with learning opportunities thrusted upon us beyond our own choosing; it’s an upstream struggle of adaptations and survival …. There are people who avoid living their own lives and they stopped swimming even as they’re still alive – they seem to make movements just because the stream keeps them moving.

We have our own dreams: some want to own their own companies, some want to be the best in their craft, another aim to work for a certain company or migrate to a certain country, yet another want to be loving spouse and parent for their loved ones. Have you ever thought: what are the criteria for you to say “This is it. I’ve done my best. I’ve given my all. Time to move on to the next dream.”? Have you thought about it? Otherwise, how would you know you’ve made your dream come true?

Whenever friends switch job, I ask them: “Why do you move? How long do you plan to stay?” Usually people can answer the first question with relative ease – it’s just a matter how willing they are to share the answer, but the second question … that can be shocking to some. “What do you mean? I’m just about to start a new job here, what kind of question is that?”

I’m troubled to see people who – albeit probably uncritically – worship companies they work for as life-giving machines and dispensers of meanings. These employees surrender chunks of their lives that are at their disposal without critically assessing: “How to make the best of this valuable resource (i.e., my life) I have at my disposal? What do I need to achieve from this tenure? How do I know I have achieved that? When’s the bailout point and what are the critical milestones, success criteria, I need to keep my eyes on?”

I’m troubled to see people who unconditionally pledge their allegiance and not until damage has been done fight to grab their liberty back and exercise their right to make options. At times, though, these muscles haven’t been used for such an extended period of time that they have atrophied. These people fail to make meaningful changes in their lives not because they’re in a nonbreakable chain but because they have lost their ability to make meaningful choices and exercise their will.

Do you realise that even when doctors have put a deadline on your life, you can fight until the very end? Now if you don’t have such a deadline from doctors, I hope you’d start thinking what the next milestone you expect to see in your life, rather than unquestioningly surrender your ability to make options to other parties – and in doing so cease from living your own life.


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