In late August 2014, my dad was diagnosed with 3rd stage pancreatic cancer. Eventually he lost his battle and passed away on 12 Oct 2014. During this time, it was a painful process for everyone in the family to make sense of what had happened as my dad had always been in the pink of health.
I still remember vividly the day that the doctor confirmed their diagnosis of my dad and told us that he has less than 3 months to live. In disbelief, I asked myself : “why is this happening? Is there a reason?”
I had been told that EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON – it sounded like a cliché then and it was difficult to process this in a bleak situation. Some thoughts that came to mind were : “Maybe there are some important lessons to be learned in this process? Maybe going through this ordeal together as a family will bring us closer?” Even as I attempt to search for answers to ease my pain, I found none and my heart was still unsettled.
It was during this time, I remembered Steve Jobs story of himself dropping out of college at the age of 17. While he was figuring out his life, he did a calligraphy instruction class, where Jobs learned about serif and san serif typefaces, spacing between different letter and about how to make beautiful typography. Jobs could not understand at that time how this might be helpful, but he decided to follow his interests nonetheless.
Ten years later, when Jobs and Wozniak were designing the first Macintosh computer, he remembered his calligraphy lessons. He decided to incorporate the fonts he had learned about into the Mac. “It was the first computer with beautiful typography,” says Jobs. “If I had never dropped out, I would have never dropped in on this calligraphy class, and personal computers might not have the wonderful typography that they do.” While it was impossible to connect the dots at the time, in hindsight, Jobs says that everything became clear.
Eventually, I stop asking those questions of “WHY?” or stop searching for the perfect REASON as it was not getting me anywhere emotionally and mentally. I ACCEPTED that the reasons might come later like the case for Jobs or I might never know in this lifetime. Maybe there are more powerful questions I should be asking :
I also learnt that having trust and faith gives rise to hope in a bleak and helpless situation. I choose to believe that everything happens for a meaningful purpose, and that although that purpose may be hard to see at the time, I just have to sit back and believe that things will work out in the end. I rather let my faith grow bigger than my fears and sadness.
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