If your job is your passion, there is no better meaning you can discover in your life. If your job is something you love doing, life is as breezy as a delightful song.
For many people, work is a burden from which they need to relax in the evenings with some leisurely activities. Weekend pastimes and annual holiday trips are required for such people to recharge the batteries of their lives. Leisure, hobbies and holidays are all good and required too even for people whose career is their passion. But if such activities are necessitated by the stress of your regular job, then your career cannot offer you the meaning of your life.
We live in a world which cannot offer everyone the jobs of their dreams or a profession that suits their genes. We are forced to take up certain jobs out of the sheer necessity of a regular income. However, we can convert that job into something we enjoy doing. Otherwise, life can be a misery; if not for ourselves, for our clients or whoever we are supposed to be serving.
Let us take an example out of the thousands of people who needed no other meaning in their life than their career.
|Leonardo da Vinci|
Leonardo da Vinci was a son of a wealthy man, Ser Piero da Vinci. But since he was born out of wedlock, he was barred from attending the university or practising any noble profession. His destiny conspired against him right from his birth. He was allowed to grow up in his father’s house, however.
After a little schooling, Leonardo was left to himself. Not knowing what to do with his time, little Leonardo wandered in the wildernesses of the da Vinci estate. The wild animals, birds, flowers and waterfalls fascinated him. He started sketching those beautiful scenes on paper pilfered from his father’s office. Paper was quite an expensive thing in those days.
His artistic sense and skills were soon noticed by his father. Thus he became an apprentice at the Florentine artist Andrea del Verrocchio’s studio. Leonardo could not complete his assignments there just because he refused to imitate his master. Apprentices were expected to learn by imitating their masters meticulously in those days. Leonardo followed his own instincts and tastes. He created, not imitated.
He created with perfection and so even his master could not but recognise the merit of his talent. When Leonardo was asked to create an angel in a biblical scene which Verrocchio was working on, the young artist experimented with colours until he got a new blend that exuded a radiance that befitted angels. Before drawing the angel, Leonardo spent hours in the local church until he got the right model for the angel. In order to give wings to the angel, Leonardo purchased several birds and studied their wings. The plants that surrounded the angel in the picture came from Leonardo’s observations in his father’s estate during his protracted childhood. Until then, there was a clear tradition about the plants that artists drew around angels. Leonardo changed that tradition. Geniuses don’t follow traditions blindly. They can’t.
The angel was only a small part of a large scene that the master was creating. That didn’t deter the young apprentice from giving his best to the scene. Perfection comes naturally to geniuses. Perfection is part of the genius’s passion.
In 1481, when the Pope asked Lorenzo de Medici to recommend the best artists to decorate the Sistine Chapel, Leonardo was ignored just because Lorenzo despised people who could not read Latin and had no education. It was a bitter experience for Leonardo. But he did not let despair get the better of him.
Leonardo left for Milan where he soon established himself as more than an artist. He pursued all the things that fascinated him: architecture, military engineering, hydraulics, anatomy, sculpture, music, literature, mathematics, astronomy, palaeontology and cartography. The rest is history. He became an unparalleled artist, sculptor, architect and engineer.
For Leonardo da Vinci, his career was his life. The job he did was the meaning of life for him. He loved what he did; he did what he loved. What else can bring bliss to one’s life?
This post is the 3rd in a series on Meaning of Life.
The 1st was: What is the meaning of life?
2nd: Religion and Meaning
4th will be: Science and Meaning