“The mystery of human existence lies not in just staying alive, but in finding something to live for,” wrote Fyodor Dostoyevsky in his classic novel The Brothers Karamazov. This gem of an insight is as valid today as it was in the 19th century when it was first penned. Finding and living our purpose lends meaning to our lives. It’s a fertile ground on which we sow the seeds of happiness, good health, success and fulfilment. In absence of a purpose, all success and all achievements lose meaning—they become baseless.
Perhaps no one else has outlined the importance of purpose better than Viktor Frankl. As an inmate of one of Hitler’s concentration camps, Frankl experienced the extreme torture of the holocaust first hand. Being a neurologist and a psychiatrist he keenly studied the behaviour of his fellow inmates. In the three years that he spent inside the camps, he came to the conclusion that as long as the inmates had a purpose to live, they were likely to survive. But the moment they lost their purpose, something changed inside them and they gave up—then they allowed themselves to decline and became subject to emotional and physical deterioration. He concluded that, “Any attempt to restore a man’s inner strength in the camp had first to succeed in showing him some future goal.”
But are we living a purpose-driven life? The New Year is as a good a time as any to seek an answer. And helping us in this noble intention are two wonderful individuals—Azim Jamal and Nido Quiben. Using examples from their own lives as well as others’, they help us realise that each of us is special and has arrived on this planet for a reason. They tell us that once we discover the purpose of our being, our lives take on a new meaning, and we begin to live the life that we were always meant to live. It’s a given that we will meet with obstacles on our way to a purposeful life. But the authors have outlined strategies to deal with them so that we may close the gap between where we are and where we wish to be.
Of course, only you can discover your purpose—no one else can do it for you. But what this issue’s cover story will do, is convince you that a purposeful life is worth a serious shot. Most of us have got our priorities in life mixed up. By helping us reflect on our life’s purpose, Azim and Nido are helping us re-prioritise and live a higher life.
As you read the cover story, allow these words of Gautama Buddha guide you: “Your purpose in life is to find your purpose and give your whole heart and soul to it”.
Happy New Year!