A baby camel asked his mother, “Why do camels have humps?” The mother said, “We are desert animals. We have the humps to store water so we can survive for a long time without needing to drink.” The baby camel asked again, “Why our legs are long and our feet round?” The mother replied, “They are suited for walking long distances in the desert.”
The baby then asked, “Why are our eyelashes long?” The mother responded, “Those long thick eyelashes protect our eyes from the harsh desert sand when it blows in the wind.”
The baby thought and then said, “I see. So the hump is to store water when we are in the desert, the legs are for walking through the desert and these eye lashes protect my eyes from the desert sand. Then why do we live in the zoo?”
This is the question we all need to ask ourselves. We all are gifted with skills and abilities that make us suitable for a specific purpose. This will help us find or rediscover the purpose of our life.
A study by the Harvard School of Public Health researchers revealed that if you have a higher sense of purpose in life — defined as having meaning, a sense of direction and goals — you are more likely to remain healthy and physically strong as you grow older.
Even though the purpose of life is different for each one of us, one common thread that comes across from a study of life of thinkers, philosophers and religious texts is that the purpose of life should be to help others.
We can identify the purpose of our life by asking ourselves three questions.
Am I making use of my skills and abilities?
This is the first question that we must ask ourselves like the baby camel. Think about what people appreciate you for, what you like to do, read or talk about. There is a possibility that you will find something you have the ability for but you never got the time to develop it or make use of it. During COVID-19 lockdown, we saw several people doing this.
Am I doing something that make me and others happy?
We need to do something regularly that makes us happy. I have made a few suggestions in one of my earlier posts: We need to be happy a lot more. We must set up our happiness goals and work on them. The key is in creating happiness in the present rather than seeing it as a future goal.
Am I living a life that is useful for others?
This is a bigger level purpose that gives meaning to our life. Human beings are blessed with the power to think. We must make use of this to go beyond our own lives and think how can we be useful to others. This is also linked to the previous two questions. How we use our skills for the benefit of others, how we make others happy and how we contribute towards making the world a better place are key determinants of a purposeful life.
A reflection to the above might make us realize that we are not at the right place yet. May be we are meant to be doing something that we are not doing as yet. It is never too late to make a change. We don’t want to be caged in a zoo. Don’t we?