In the book, The Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy, there is a scene that stopped me cold in my tracks. Let me set the scene. There are two brothers, Tom and Luke, and one sister, Savanah. They grew up on an island off the South Carolina coast. Their father was a shrimp boat operator. Tom was college educated while Luke was not. Rather, he went to fight in the Vietnam war. (He returned physically intact but emotionally affected.) What follows is my paraphrasing of the conversation in the scene.
Luke had to decide what to do with his shrimp boat while he was away at war. Tom’s wife Sally suggested that Tom manage the shrimp boat operations so the payments on the boat could be kept current. Luke’s reply was along the lines of, “Tom went to college so he wouldn’t have to run a shrimp boat.” Tom, interjected and said. “No, Tom went to college so that he could decide to run a shrimp boat or not. I wanted to have a choice…”
For me, this was one of those moments where I was instantly drawn to reflection. I worked my way through engineering undergrad throughout my twenties while working. About eight years later I pursued an MBA, again, while working. I now thankfully realized that I had not pursued my academic credentials because I felt I had be on a specific career path or even to avoid the need to rely on other limited career paths. My pursuit was for the pure joy of learning and having choices on where and how I would live my working life.
I share this as a reminder that we might all benefit if we look inside oursleves and truly understand the ‘why’ of what we do. With richer understanding of the ‘why’, more ‘whats’ and ‘hows’ become available to us.
Thanks for reading. Have a Great Day!