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The nudge that led me on a path to quit my own miserable yet cushy job
on April 21, 2013
A life with purpose will beckon all of us at some point to answer these questions.
Are we doing something worthwhile with life?
Is our work meaningful?
Are we wasting it away at a keyboard or in an office or in the air on business travel?
Is this what we imagined ourselves to be doing in not just our adult years but also the very best years of our lives, realizing that working full time takes up at least a third of our waking hours?
Then if we keep prodding, we may hear the imploring of the heart as it always asks the heavy questions: What is our true purpose? Is there even such a thing? Maybe I am asking too much.... maybe just having a job and my health is good enough ... but something inside is itching for more, for depth of meaning and a feeling of accomplishment of something we can call our own, a true labor of love and devotion.
With these thoughts swimming in my head at the time when I read the book in 2007, I came across a fabulous article by FastCompany.com. I have shared this article with numerous friends and colleagues, and soon I picked up "What should I Do with My Life?" by Po Bronson. I find it funny and sad at the massive number of people who are looking for answers to this question. The question seems to strike a chord with those from every walk of life, every background, every culture, and every corner of the world.
I instantly loved Po Bronson's writing style, ever so full of inspiration and awe. I started reading the book immediately but I am not sure why I read it so slowly. I think partly I wanted to digest every story. Po travels around the country for a long time, interviewing hundreds of ordinary people who have struggled to find the answers, people who have made brave, crazy, shocking, and dramatic changes in a life that seemed to be going just fine, perhaps too fine by some of our standards.
This is a remarkable book about the strength of spirit and the unpredictable conditions of the human heart - to learn that you are not happy with the dream job and the dream house, and that you took yourself to be someone else all these years is daunting enough, but to face it and to make brave outrageous decisions to move away from the shackles of daily routine and to pursue the passions deep inside your heart takes the kind of courage that we read about in novels and watch in movies.
Po Bronson found these traits in multitudes of ordinary people across the country, and he tells us about his discoveries in beautifully written tales. There are, we learn, as many paths to success as there are people dreaming up such paths.
Since reading this book, it took me a few years but I continued my search, then resigned from that miserable yet cushy corporate job, I started my own company and I did the unthinkable so for anyone who reads this and calls these case studies more fiction than fact, well, I gotta disagree. You want a different life? Get one! It's that simple and yet not easy but oh so possible! Thank you Po for showing me that even I could make the unthinkable change and break free of the chains of corporate to follow my heart.