In a letter to his brother, the young Vincent van Gogh despaired to him as he struggled to find the meaning around his existence and the purpose around work:
Someone has a great fire in his soul and nobody ever comes to warm themselves at it, and passers-by see nothing but a little smoke at the top of the chimney…
Vincent van Gogh was trying to find his calling, his purpose in life, and how this would all work in terms of making an honest living. This is a perennial question for many of us, including myself.
What am I supposed to do with this life? What am I supposed to do with my time? Where am I supposed to work and with whom and for how long?
Plato once suggested that it was the role of education that would essentially help uncover each person’s talent and eventually train it toward mastery and specialization and then, in the end, use it for the good of society.
I think education still is the source of a great amount of learnings around our own self-awareness. In fact, perhaps it’s education that’s calling me once again.
We all have a “great fire” within us that yearns to be recognized, to be used, to be leveraged for the good of others. Perhaps it’s about time that you and I became more than just smoke and become life-giving to others.