Supposed to Be – Not For Halloween Only

What are you supposed to be, really? Don’t tell me you had not been Calvin – ever! It has to be true. The ingenious Bill Watterson must have secretly known me and based Calvin and Hobbes on me! Yeah, right – I know… you, too.  And the kid inside of me – inside of all of us – is alive and well and swells up so often.

But I am not supposed to be a kid anymore!  My/our kids – the new kids on the block, the “Occupy Wall Street” generation comes knocking on our doors trick or treating. So, when our door bell rings tonight – and when we go to work tomorrow, how will we face the agony and cries of the younger generation – what will we do, what will we say, how will we manage, and how will we counsel and support them?

“Most of us are egotistical and most are self-concerned most of the time, but it’s nonetheless true that life comes to a point only in those moments when the self dissolves into some task. The purpose in life is not to find yourself. It’s to lose yourself…” The cult of self-fulfillment as David Brooks of the NY Times had pointedly written in a brilliant column “It’s Not About You” is what the smart little Calvin inside of all of us cries out in defiance.

I’m with Brooks and his words of admonition against this cult, the “business individualism.” The more entrepreneurs, and charismatic people I get to know, the more convinced I am that real happiness, a genuine sense of satisfaction, comes not from “finding” yourself but from losing” yourself — in work that gives you meaning, a battle worth fighting for, a pledge to find the solution for a problem that means something not for you alone but for others as well.

“The true measure of success is not the value you create for yourself but the values that define your work and how you lead and live.” In this day and age of a lack of leadership such words sound counter intuitive. This is the age of the rebel, the start-up, the misfit, the Zuckerman and the Steve Jobs era. But whatever happens — these who dare to change the world – have chosen who they are supposed to be: And their sense of purpose, their willingness to struggle, the legacy they and their colleagues hope to leave – has defined them forever.

So, have you decided what you are supposed to be yet?

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