Posted byat 15th April, 2011
Socrates once said, “The unexamined life is not worth living”. How can we afford not to assess what we are working towards, where we plan to go and why we want to pursue a particular goal? It’s easy to look at the list of tasks awaiting us but it’s harder to see if our daily lives reflect our intended progress. I recently had the opportunity to attend an ethical retreat hosted by the Woodhull Institute and came away with a better understanding of myself and what ultimately makes me happy.
When I revisited my past experiences and analyzed how they molded me into the person I am, I accomplished more than I gave myself credit for. No life experience is an inconsequential one and each shapes our perception of ourselves as well others. In addition, when I asked why I worked as hard as I did to achieve my goals and for whom was I pursuing them, I found myself in an ethical quandary. I admitted I pursued certain goals merely to be more highly esteemed in the eyes of others and not for myself. Along the way, without knowing, I became the person I wanted to become.
Perhaps most importantly, I’ve concluded no one should have to apologize for his or her talents or success. Our interests and skills shape us more than we know and to downplay our abilities only belittles our potential as well as others around us. We are more fearful of the success that flows from our talents than the possible failures.
While I came away with more questions than answers, I became more comfortable with the idea of not knowing the answers and letting the accumulation of life experiences arrive at them. Even more perplexing, I have yet to find the balance between becoming well accomplished and well off. What do we really need in this world to be happy with who we are? I haven’t answered most of my questions or asked all of the right ones but I’ve taken one step closer to determining whether the life I’m leading is “worth living”. If we keep asking questions we can only hope to live out our answers.