You are here

The Answers We Seek

With our boys turning 18 and 16 this year, I am regularly given opportunities to answer varying questions about which roads they should take in coming years.

How do they figure out what they want to do for a living?

How will exponentially developing artificial intelligence alter the world, and specifically, the job market, and how can they account for this in their decision making?

How do they make meaningful friendships that they will cherish for a long time?

What are the best ways to make a positive difference in the world?

While I enjoy sharing my thoughts and experiences with them, I largely encourage them to continue to ask such questions of themselves, as I've long been of the belief that everything we seek is also seeking us in some way.

In a letter to a student written in 1903, Austrian poet and novelist Rainer Maria Rilke shared the following:

"I beg you, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart. Try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

Even at my age, it's easy to forget that the answers we seek often reveal themselves when we honour our intuition and do as we are called to, even if such callings seem unconventional or impractical.

To share an example, our older son is on track to study engineering in university. As his dad, my sense is that he doesn't actually enjoy advanced functions, calculus and vectors, or physics despite his ability to carry a high 90s average. And when I ask him how he feels about spending the next few years of his life studying more of these subjects, his answer clearly tells me that it's nothing but drudgery and sacrifice in the name of getting a well-paying job someday.

The world needs talented and hard-working engineers, just as it needs most other professions that exist. My point to him is that it isn't unreasonable for him at 17 years of age to have no clue what life as an engineer will look like, so why not take some time away from formal studying to answer the questions that naturally come forth from his heart?

Through such conversations, it's become clear that what excites him more than anything is the thought of going to Korea to become fluent in Korean, and to experience the culture of half of his ancestors. It brings me joy and gratitude to realize that deep within, he intuitively knows what he is excited to pursue. So of course I am encouraging him to remember this as he makes his decisions.

Such conversations remind me of Steve Job's thought that we should consider all of our genuine interests as dots worth pursuing, even if they don't offer obvious utility; at some point in our lives, we will connect most of our dots with a line that expresses our highest selves.

Life has consistently shown me that we are likely to experience our most beautiful friendships when we are living from the heart.

Live from the heart. Be kind and courageous. All that you seek will find you.


Join more than 80,000 readers worldwide who receive Dr. Ben Kim's free newsletter

Receive simple suggestions to measurably improve your health and mobility, plus alerts on specials and giveaways at our catalogue

Please Rate This

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.