27 and burnt out …

Tired working

“Wherever you are, and whatever you do, be in love”, wrote Rumi.

By this, it’s unlikely that one of the 13th Century’s most revered poets and jurists was condoning the act (or omission) of avoiding life’s challenges.  After all, the daily struggles – and the strength of character reflected in our response – are inevitable and the very essence of human existence.

Personally, I am guided by the “bigger picture” perspective, where motivation and growth are fulfilled by the setting of, and advancement towards, long-term goals and a willingness to face short-term setbacks during the course of the journey.

Many of my peers have confessed to feeling “burnt out” at the age of 27, after just five to six years in the working world. The usual culprits are: the nature of the industry or profession (typically medicine, law or something finance-related), the corresponding working hours (sleeping four hours a night seems common) and the sheer pace of the competition.

For me, however, the most troubling complaint was that of “not learning anything”, where no real progress seemed to be made in terms of improving knowledge or skills.

Unfortunately, this appears to be a fairly widespread issue among many young professionals,who are initially eager to learn new things but are not given any significant opportunities to do so.  Down the line, the result is often that these youths gradually lose interest in learning, and thereby their enthusiasm for personal progress.

It is this risk of stagnation or settling for the ordinary (as opposed to reaching for the extraordinary) that must be avoided. Indifference marks the downfall of growth, for the absence of passion endangers the potential for inspiration and fulfilment – even if, physically speaking, one is incredibly busy or overworked.

There is undoubtedly a difference between a person who works hard with an end goal and a broader outlook in view, and one whose focus is limited to completing the task at hand regardless of the outcome.

Ultimately, therefore, we must protect our thirst for progress, embodied in personal dreams and aims, for there can only be love in a place, a time and an undertaking where the journey and the destination are paved with individual and particular meaning.

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