Steve Jobs once said,
“I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?”
When I think about which personality has inspired me the most over the last few years, it was clearly Steve Jobs. Through his speeches, his quotes, his authenticity, he could reach and motivate everyone, inclusively me. Everyone felt motivated to “make more” out of their lives, not to be influenced by other opinions. One feels destined for more, one strives for self-fulfillment and yet one loses oneself increasingly in the multiplicity of inspirational quotes. You can lose the inclination to reality, because suddenly it is no longer enough to just have a good job, but you want to have a perfect job. You start to feel the urgency to optimize every little thing in your life. A house with a garden? Yes, but please a large one, where I have space for a summer house, where I would have space for a pool and a place for a pond.
This constant urge to optimize our lives is closely linked to the pursuit of self-fulfillment, which in turn is closely linked to the dream of perfection. One becomes less willing to compromise; Clear ideas are fixed in our head and once achieved, we immediately set the next goal. We see ourselves as “Goal-Diggers”, “Drivers” or “Pioneers”. We all want to be individual and leave a lasting impression on this world. But why do we desire so deeply to do something “meaningful” in our lives and why do we strive so much for the dream of self-realization? Maslow’s hierarchy of needs also states that the final stage is “self-realization.” But how do we achieve it and what do we take as an indicator? Family, work or hobby, or something completely different? What, if we reached this goal as close as possible, would we even realize in our doggedness that we have reached the stage long ago? Or are we not catapulting ourselves with this endless pursuit in a completely opposite direction? Since when is this dream after self-realization stronger than the dream to be happy, why does not much more “just” suffice us?
I believe, this balance is driven by two forces that determines our approach to goals, especially in the Generation Y:
Firstly: What do I want to do with my life and second: I want to do something meaningful and attribute something.
Today, I was asking myself “Do I like my job?” It is a simple question and I could not answer it without using “but”. Automatically I thought about Steve Jobs and how he defined the meaning of our lives. Suddenly I started to shake and to rethink the last months and years and I was torn again about how I will go on. My colleague told me today, that a job will never completely fulfill you and on one hand she is right. We should not close our eyes for the truth. I mean, what if you are working all day and barely have a “life” earning money you are not able to spend, trying to impress people who do not care and suddenly you run in a circle, running yourself over. I believe it is not about what you are doing, but rather why you are doing it. So let me ask you one question, why are you doing your job? You will probably say, “I don’t know, because I like it”, but this is not an answer. Think thoroughly,
“Why are you doing what you are doing?”
Do you have an answer or even more? Good, now think again: Are these the same reasons, when you started to study or started to work, or did the reasons change?
If they did not change, then did everything turn out the way you hope it would? Did you set new goals?
If they changed, what did you do? Did you choose a different path or did you accept the circumstances?
I believe, Steve Jobs’ main intention saying this sentence in the beginning was to make us reflect our daily lives. Not mainly aiming at how we achieve purpose and meaning in our lives but rather how we are willing to change and grow.