Is questioning the status quo a luxury?
I talk to people who have always followed the path they inherited; they usually find me when there is a disruption in their career for one reason or another. I ask them what they would love to do next and what their strengths are. They are very hesitant to answer. They usually say “it is a luxury to think about these, I need to pay my bills. I just need a job.” I answered the same way many years back so I don’t judge anyone and understand completely. We are so programmed to think this way. Most of us never questioned it for almost two centuries now. Before Industrial Age mindset took over (which kind of goes like this: go to work, obey, get paid and have fun when you retire) we had to think what we are good at to make money. But we forgot.
Of course we all face the reality. I did not have extra money laying around or money I can count on when I was asked the same question by a career counselor. But what if there is something we can do using our strengths and still make money? Is this totally out of question? If so, why? How do you know it is absolutely true? I know now it is NOT a luxury to spend the time to understand who you really are, what your strengths are and what motivates you and gets you excited every morning - even if you never act on it. It does not even have to be your job. I love Mark Twain’s quote:
“The two most important days in your life are the day you’re born and the day you found out why. “
Do you really believe we are born to live a life where we spend 40-50 hours a week at a job we don’t like with the hope of retiring when we are close to 70 and regretting we did not have time to spend doing things that really mattered to us and then die? Can we question this belief? I think we can.
It certainly has been the status quo for a very long time. It is OK to question this and many other things that feels wrong. We are not talking about questioning everything just for the sake of it or just to be against whatever already is. If questioning it and changing the way we think can benefit more people or our world, it is worth it. It is OK to question meaning of “success”. It is OK to question your inherited path. It is OK to question if you can use your strengths doing something else. At the end, if you decide you want to continue what you are already doing that is OK. But this will at least give you a chance to honor yourself and explore your options. There is nothing wrong with that. It is mind blowing that we feel guilty to ask the most important questions to ourselves even if it is later in life and we never had the chance to do it before.
I have so many people telling me it is a luxury to ask “what do you I love to do?” Who made us believe that? Who can take the right to understand why we are here and live a more purposeful life? Only we can.
We spend hours and weeks on mindless things that have no meaning but we never seem to find the time to ask the most important questions about our own lives.
We are born to be ourselves, use our talents and our gifts in whatever shape and form we can. We are not born to live just an OK life and do things that do not matter to us and just react to whatever is happening TO us and then die. We are born to have meaning.
It is OK to question status quo if you think it is not right that employees are treated as numbers instead of humans, if you think one race or one group of people should not have unfair privileges over another one, if you see somebody is not treated right in your company; that is how we change the world to be a better place for all its inhabitants. This is how all changes happened; by questioning what is in existence, not from a place of resistance but from a place of making improvements.
From having equality among human beings to having a new technology it all starts with questioning status quo or our limiting beliefs and then doing something about it. So never ever feel bad to set aside some time to think what you want, what you love and what you want for this world. The true feeling of fulfillment and having a meaningful life might be just hidden in your answers.