How To Justify Working Hard? Or Chasing Success??

This is a question that has plagued me all my life and bothers me every time I sit down to write. Being from a non-religious household, I realized early on that God didn’t exist the way we want him to. He doesn’t meddle in our day to day affairs, meting out swift justice to the wicked. He possibly exists but in a way that we aren’t meant to understand.

Somewhere in my teens all friendships/relationships felt like fleeting distractions, I felt like if I was to ingratiate myself with people, it would leave very little time for anything else. I followed a policy of detachment and slowly pursued a life of solitude. In my mid 20’s I got some reasonably lucrative job offers, thanks to my writing, but I rejected all of them. I knew I couldn’t deliver. The only question on my mind was:

Yes there are so many ways to improve my life, be everything I want to be but to what end??? TO WHAT END????

It’s been at least 15 years that I’ve struggled with this question and before you read any further, I must say I still haven’t found an answer. Just excuses, rationalizations and the sinking feeling that I’m lying to myself.

How do I justify working hard and trying to be successful? Well, making money is a pretty good motivation. Getting to live comfortably because I’m rich sounds pretty good. Even a minor success, a middle-class life, a wife and child would make me feel like I’ve contributed meaningfully to the world.

But why “contribute meaningfully to the world” at all? It’s so much easier to live selfishly, do the bare minimum and just get by. Avoid all responsibilities and chase pleasure. Trust me, this is what I’ve done for the longest time and it isn’t all that bad. I can still look romantically at the hedonistic way of living. It’s out of pure boredom that I’ve decided to join the rat race, just to see where I stand.

The only question left to answer now is one of significance. Most of the human race is aware that we are all just talking monkeys on a speck of dust, so are our actions of any significance? Are my individual efforts?

Whence all creation had its origin,
the creator, whether he fashioned it or whether he did not,
the creator, who surveys it all from highest heaven,
he knows — or maybe even he does not know.

— Nāsadīya Sūkta , Rig Veda, X.129 1

Well, we just don’t know the answer to that, yet.

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