Introduction

Life is beautiful; life is challenging; life is short. Each of us will have a very different experience of life but many of us will ask the same questions: What is the meaning of life? Will my life have meant anything after I'm gone? Will I even be remembered?

This blog is a collection of musings on the meaning of life and offers suggestions for leading a fulfilling, meaningful and memorable life.

Tuesday

What if the key doesn't fit? (by Amanda Miu)

I stumbled across a great sentiment yesterday – it said “ Don't be discouraged. It's often the last key in the bunch that opens the door.” Initially, I chuckled to myself and nodded in agreement. “How many times I have literally experienced that situation” I thought, as I visualised locating the right key last and finally getting into my home. But then I pondered the notion metaphorically - how accurate was this statement really and how helpful is it in navigating through our lives?

On the one hand, we would all like to believe this statement is true. Because it means that even if we have not found what we are looking for – even if we are not there yet – then the answer may be just around the corner. If only we can persevere a bit longer then our salvation is nigh. This quote makes me feel better about the life choices I have made to date and satisfies me that I will eventually find what I am looking for in this life. It encourages me that I am on the right track and therefore that I should feel entitled to go on with my life in the same way I always have.

On the other hand, while I prefer the above interpretation of the quote, I am niggled by one inconvenient factor. I can't help but ponder – is reliance on the above interpretation a dangerous mistake? Is this statement simply fulfilling my human need to believe that everything will be ok even if, in all probability, the ultimate eventuality may prove dire? Does it allow me to take refuge and comfort in far fetched ideas and plans on the basis that even if such plans haven't yet worked out, they will eventually come to fruition.

We all know that humans need hope to survive but is it wrong to rely to heavily on well worn clich├ęs that lead us down the garden path? Some time ago I read the book Freakonomics written by Steven D Levitt & Stephen J Dubner and I suspect that my concerns stem from something the authors alluded to in that book. That we humans like to hear convenient truths. That we do not necessarily want the truth – we want what is “convenient, comfortable and comforting”. This struck me as a strong argument - we humans do seem to love general maxims that we can overlay over our experience to date and that will confirm to us that our past behaviour and choices were right. Because we all like to hear things that optimise our self-esteem.

Ultimately, I still like take courage in the notion that it may be the last key that will in fact open the door but I also like to remind myself of the dangers of allowing myself to believe in such a message. This qualification allows me to have hope in the way I am living my life but it also reminds me to take precautions to provide for the scenario where the last key in the bunch simply doesn't fit. It encourages me to make changes to make my life better rather than to blindly follow the same course with no Plan B in sight. Because what if you are doing all the right things, and you have great hope that your hard work will pay off and that it will get you where you want to be - but what if it doesn't? All the surmising in the world will not help if you get to that last key and it is not what you need to get through the door. Are you prepared for such an eventuality? 

Written by Amanda Miu. 

4 comments:

  1. Personally, i like the idea of forsaking keys and destroying the door.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hmm, I know what you mean. So many selfhelp gurus tell us to decide what we want and then do all sorts of tasks to achieve it. I tend to prefer being guided and give up control as ultimately the conscious I doesn't know anything about me and surely there is some aspect of my being that does.-

    ReplyDelete
  3. Perhaps learning from the search itself is the answer, rather than focusing on any particular resolution.

    ReplyDelete
  4. It is hard to understand and hard to even learn from the search. I'm still clueless. When I was younger I was lost in many ways tormented by others and by my past and did not know my place in this world but now I'm not lost anymore, I don't get tormented so much and my past is there which I have accepted. But I'm feeling empty inside, feeling like I'm a hamster on a wheel proceeding, proceeding, but never getting anywhere much. I live day after day but don't really know why. I don't understand. Some dreams are even coming true and some are not and I wonder what is the meaning of all this and I keep going on and on and on...just living until that day comes when I no longer can live anymore...That's how it is.

    ReplyDelete