Embrace The Big Questions Worth Spending Your Life For
June 9, 2008 by Akemi Gaines
Are you addicted to the quick and easy answers?
We live in the world of instant gratification. Huge questions of love and life are solved usually within 90 minutes in the movie. There are numerous websites that offer answers of all kinds. Or you can just type a question like “What is the meaning of life?” in Google search box. (Seriously – if you haven’t done this yet, try it and see what you get.)
I’m afraid so many people are getting conditioned to this quick and easy answer system that they have largely given up their right and responsibility to seek answers themselves. I was alarmed when I did the key word research for my article The One Word That’s Sucking Up Your Energy Right Now. Here are some of the questions people often ask to Google using this dis-empowering word SHOULD:
- Who should I vote for?
- Where should I live?
- What career should I choose?
- Who should a Gemini date? *
- Should I stay with my boyfriend?
- What should I do with my life?
- What should I make for dinner?
- What should I write on a headstone?
(* Apparently, Geminis ask this “Who should a (zodiac) date?” question most often, followed by Sagittarius. I’m a Gemini myself, but I have no idea why this is so. Do other Geminis really think the internet can answer this question?)
How the quick and easy answers steal your joy and peace.
Let’s say you ask “What career should I choose?” and Google or your career counselor tells you, probably based on some personality or talent tests, that you should become a teacher. So you become one. Do you think you will be happy and confident with your career? Teaching, like any other professions, comes with lots of challenges – your teenage students are distracted and rebellious, administrators are demanding, and there are so many things to do – and the pay isn’t very good. So?
I’m not saying the teaching is not a good profession. The problem in this example is that the foundation of your choice to become a teacher is so weak. On the other hand, I know several people who left high income jobs to go back to school and became teachers. They chose the teaching career because, through their own experiences and search for the meaningful life, they came to realize they wanted to teach. They are happy with their choice because it is a choice they made consciously. And they have peace in them.
My friend Ken beautifully wrote about the joy we find in our life journey in How I Traded My Life For Future Security And How I’m Getting It Back. Again, the search for answer is as valuable as arriving at the answer.
The more challenging the game, the more fun.
There are cases for quick and easy answers. When I buy an electronic gadget, I want to start using it right away. Reading the long manual is no fun, and I really like it when it comes with “Quick Start” instructions. I can learn about additional features later. For now, I want to get things done with this new gadget and then go out for a walk.
But our life is not like stuffs we buy for consumption. We are in life – where do you want to go after you save time and energy by getting the quick and easy answers on critical questions of your life?
Further, just like certain games, life is more fun with challenges. Ask yourself – do you enjoy a game that you know so well and are 100% sure to win, to the point that you know exactly how you win and finish the game? Would you even bother playing it?
Enjoy bearing the big questions.
Recently, I was exchanging emails with Steve at Brip Blap about I Have A Dream . . .. This article did fine as a blog post, but as a meme, it was a total failure. No one sent me articles. Steve asked me if it’s too late to submit his article, so I replied, “You are welcome to participate any time, but let me ask you – do you think the project was too grandiose? Or did I not market it enough?” He says that the project is great but it does take some time to write because it requires good thinking. And in this busy world, few people takes time to think even when they know it is something worth thinking.
Hmm. . . How can I make sense of this? I conclude it was great if the post inspired some people to think about the big dreams of life. It’s okay they didn’t get the answers quickly. Keep asking yourself the big questions.
It’s not just the question of your dream. Find and embrace big questions that are worth spending your life for. Carry the questions, check back often, while you live and enjoy your journey.