By Helene Szabados
“Don’t count the things you do, do the things that count.” –Zig Ziglar
Last Thursday, Peaceful World Foundation along with guest facilitators Janardhan Chodagam from Brahma Kumaris and Taylor Garrett from Pachamama Alliance, hosted a conversation related to where do we begin to sacrifice financial success in order to gain the richness of peace. This question surfaced from a previous conversation Peaceful World Foundation hosted earlier this year about the modern day entrepreneur.
Taylor opened up the conversation with an interest in hearing Jay’s story where he transitioned from a high salary job during the dot com era to joining a movement dedicated to peace. Jay shared the inspirational story of waking up one morning and realizing that money cannot buy happiness and with the blessings of important friends and family he started his journey as an advocate for peace. To learn more about Janardhan’s story, check out his Tedx Talk:
Taylor posed the question, what about those who do not have the financial means to lead a legacy; those who do not have the money from their success, don’t they have more to lose? The table discussed different aspects of this question and came to the conclusion that maybe the sacrifice arrives when one has a clear intention of the meaning of one’s life. Questions such as why are we here? who am I? have shaped Jay’s perception on the meaning of his life. Heidi described that by simply asking deeper questions with others in the search one can begin to prepare oneself for a life that has meaning.
Perhaps, to reach the goal of leading a peaceful journey, one needs to work for a company or co-create a business model that has goals which align with one’s understanding of peace. And yet, we must prepare ourselves financially to take care of our basic needs. As our conversation deepened, we looked at another question how much is enough? If we are honest to look at this question, the answer may lead us into other possibilities.
We discussed how expectations and family obligations are an influence in regards to our career path. Jay responded, “If what I do makes me happy, I do not have a void to fill with expectations. If they are truly my friends and family they can only be proud of the happiness I have achieved.” This brought up the reflective question, who am I living my life for?
Keenan, joined our table and we asked him about his perspective on the question. “We have to look at the word ‘sacrifice’ and how we measure the quality of life, to be able to answer this question.” As a personal trainer, Keenan started describing how easily his work is quantified, “if you run for X amount of hours you burn Y amount of calories…”
I related to his description with an observation of how I spend my time commuting. “Each morning, as I wait for the bus, I find myself constantly checking my phone to see how many minutes until the train arrives. How many minutes it will take the train to get to my stop and even how many minutes it will take to walk from the train station to my destination. What I found in all of this quantifying was the same result; I always arrived at my destination. So why must I know the minutes? Can I be at peace with an unanswered question?” And Heidi added, “How do we begin to shift from quantifying our lives to finding quality in our lives?”
In conclusion, we ended the conversation with more questions and from there we returned to a phrase Jay mentioned in the beginning of the conversation, “you must know the WHY and then the WHAT will follow.” If you know why you do what you do, the how, what, when and where begin to answer themselves.