A good friend recently told me she admired the focus I was able to maintain in my search for meaning and the absence of “regrets” about certain past choices I made which, from today’s perspective, may look like a waste of time.
I explored different avenues and learning experiences in the past 9 years, without ever regretting any of them or considering them as wasted time. Even when I switched from breakdancing to studying economics; even when I quit investment banking to set up a hypnotherapy practice; even when I chose to leave hypnosis and dive into life coaching.
When my friend said she admired this drive, my unspoken response was: “but, why do you admire this? We all have this drive. We all have this focus and absence of regrets. There is nothing to admire, really…”
I am simply being proactive in my own search for meaning.
Let me ask you something.
Have you ever lost your keys?
Or your smartphone?
Not even forever, just for an hour or two. Surely that will have happened to you too at least a couple of times.
So what happens when you realise your keys are not where they should be? You reach out for that familiar pocket, right? Or you look into the box where all your keys always have been, or you reach for the officially labelled key-shelf. And suddenly, you discover your keys are not where they should OBVIOUSLY be.
At first, if you are anything like me, you get a bit confused. You might freeze and try to think about what is wrong here. It is likely you then look again in that familiar pocket, in that box or on that shelf, just to be sure. Nope. No doubt. They are not here.
So you move on to other familiar places. Not where you were certain they would be, but close by, where you know they could be.
Behind the box.
On the next shelf.
Nope. Still nothing.
Now you are starting to get a little bit anxious, because you really cannot work out where they are. You get a bit nervous.
You may start trying to make sense of your past behaviour. Retracing your path hoping that suddenly you will get a moment of enlightenment and the obvious realisation of where your keys are! You begin racking your brain like a madman to try and figure it out.
And you keep looking. You might even ask a few people around you if they have seen your keys. And they may give you some piece of advice, but of course IT IS BASED ON WHERE THEY PUT THEIR OWN KEYS. So although it comes from a good place, it is not always helpful. Because you are different.
At this point, you are not bothered about what makes sense anymore. You look into your sock drawer, under the bed, in the washing machine, behind the sofa, and inside the vacuum cleaner! You are on a mission, turning your house upside down to find your damn keys. And it goes on for a while, until all of a sudden…
Miracle! You find them!
Here they are. You finally see them. I am not saying they are in plain sight (although sometimes that is the case!), but it is not like they were hiding in some totally random location either.
It could even make sense to you, now.
You may recall putting them there once. Only it was a one-off and you never really paid attention to it because you had your usual pocket, box or shelf which was designed for that purpose.
So why would you have put your keys anywhere else than in the familiar and obvious place that you have seen your parents, close family and friends use for years and years, right?
So now that you found them, tell me.
Could it ever happen that you lose your keys again in future? Sure, and you would then need to SEARCH SOME MORE.
Would you beat yourself up about where you put your keys or blame the people around you? You could, but IT WOULD NOT ULTIMATELY HELP YOU.
Do you regret having looked in any of the places you searched? Of course not. Your keys could have been there! IT WAS SMART OF YOU TO TRY AND EVERYTHING SERVED.
Were you lacking drive or focus to find them? Obviously, no… Because you knew it was not a matter of choice; IT WAS ESSENTIAL FOR YOU to find them. And you would have spent more time searching if that had been required.
Because life is an ongoing search for meaning (and keys…), even after we found it.