Last week I was attending a seminar on art of life in Chandigarh, India. I don’t remember the spoke person. After the seminar there was a Q&A session. In that a middle aged man in the audience stood up and confessed that he was suicidal. He was a sales guy, a very good. He made a fortune. His entire life he had been successful and made a lot of people a lot of money.
And then one day he lost it all.
That man pour his heart out in front of 2000 other people.
When asked, his reasoning for wanting to kill himself was that his life insurance policy would pay enough to support his wife and children after he was gone, whereas if he stayed alive, his family would be saddled by debt and left broke. When spokesperson threw out the obvious point that while his kids would grow up with financial stability, they wouldn’t have a father, the man calmly asserted, “Yes, exactly. That’s the idea.”
What immediately strikes you is this man’s dumbfounding belief that his kids need financial stability more than a living father. And it’d be easy to blame him as a loony.
But when I took a moment and empathize with him and dig a bit deeper into his motivation, I discover something important about his self-perception:
This man perceives the value of his own life to be nothing more than financial.
He has no sense of value in himself as a father, husband, friend, companion, not to mention any other skills or hobbies. It’s not just that he thinks his kids would be better off with money than with him, it’s that he believes his only value as a person is his ability to make money.
This man had never invested himself with his roles as a father, a husband, a friend, a colleague — he had invested all of him (time and effort) in making money and becoming rich. Then once his wealth vanished, so did his entire sense of self.
What I am trying to say is pretty simple, let me put it this way:
When you have money, it’s always smart to diversify your investments. That way if one of them goes off, you don’t lose everything. It’s also smart to diversify your identity, to invest your self-esteem and what you care about into a variety of different areas — business, social life, relationships, philanthropy, athletics — so that when one goes off, you’re not completely screwed over and emotionally wrecked.
Let’s say you’re a well-balanced individual with a successful career, a spouse, some cool hobbies, and you enjoy reading in your spare time. But in reality your career dominates your identity. You work so much that you have little with which to relate to your spouse other than work. Your hobbies all involve your coworkers. Your reading relates to your career. You have no diversity. And therefore your emotional stability and self-esteem is at risk.
If you invest all of your identity in one basket, then you put your self-esteem and emotional well-being at risk.
What do you care about? I mean, what do you really care about? Invest yourself in a wide range of areas. If you like music, start attending concerts or learn an instrument. Don’t just travel as a vacation, but invest in learning about the cultures. Learn a new language. Make time for old friends. Pick up new hobbies. Get competitive in something. Expand yourself beyond your work and your relationships. Go out for no other reason than to be with your friends. Learn how to dance. Take some time off work.
And don’t just do something else, but care about it, invest yourself in it.
P.S – I wanted to ask all my reader, just imagine you have got everybody attention, the whole world looks up to you. Would you step up and inspire?
Its easy to say yes but think deeply and answer. The floor is all yours.