Atul Gawande : Meaning & Purpose

12 Jun

There are voices that like listening to Leonard Cohen, Imran Khan, Bill & Melinda Gates, Osho, Shah Rukh khan,  Atul Gawande and others. I also like listening to CEO of company that work for Kris Canekeratne. I like listening to Atul Gawande as he speaks from two places of being a doctor and a writer. Both need a authentic voice. I like the interpretation of real. I want to share this 2014 spring Commencement address UNC – Chapel Hill for you dear friends.  It has themes of emotional vitality in a suffering, search for meaning and a purpose bigger than ourselves. Here is some extract:

” Ultimately, it turns out, we all have an intrinsic need to pursue purposes larger than ourselves, purposes worth making sacrifices for. People often say: find your passion. But there’s more to it than that. Not all passions are enough. Just existing for your desires feels empty and insufficient, because our desires are fleeting and insatiable. You need a loyalty.

The only way life is not meaningless is to see yourself as part of something greater: a family, a community, a society. And that is the best part of what college has allowed you to do. College made it easy. It gave you an automatic place in the world where you could feel part of something greater. The supposedly “real world” you are joining does not.

You face certain traps in moving on from here. One ugliness of the “real world” is its readiness to have you define your purpose in terms of an enemy – and I’m not talking about Duke. I’m talking about those we compete with or simply disagree with. The purpose for far too many is less to build something better than to destroy the other side. No tactic is too low as long as you can get away with it. More and more of public and private life seems defined by the strength of one’s power rather than the strength of one’s ideas.

And it is surprisingly seductive, you’ll find when you get out there. We all find victories easier to come by when they are about knocking others down instead of winning them over. But we also eventually find that these are empty satisfactions. ”

” Our other tendency—especially when faced with this kind of nakedly adversarial world—is to narrow down, focus on just our own material needs and success. Why get involved in more when it so often involves dealing with the antagonistic and the unkind? It’s so much simpler and less messy to hold ourselves back and stay removed in our own private realm.

The trouble is, you will wake up one day asking yourself why it is so unfulfilling to simply exist. You cannot flourish without a larger purpose. And that’s lucky in a way because our society cannot flourish without your reaching for a larger purpose, either.

But what purpose? People and their experiences again offer a clue. And what people find is that they have no more transcendent experience than getting to see and help others find their own purpose, to achieve their own potential. And your parents and teachers today can tell you a little about that incredible feeling. The lasting wonder and beauty of places like this is their commitment to building people up rather than beating them down. And our great hope is that you carry that ethos with you into the rest of your life.

One thing I came to realize after college was that the search for purpose is really a search for a place, not an idea. It is a search for a location in the world where you want to be part of making things better for others in your own small way. It could be a classroom where you teach, a business where you work, a neighborhood where you live.

The key is, if you find yourself in a place where you stop caring—where your greatest concern becomes only you—get out of there. You want to put yourself in a place that suits who you are, links you to others, and gives you a purpose larger than yourself worth making sacrifices for.”

For more:

I had learnt from a Vedanta teacher’s writing and talks (Jaya Row) that thought of self is most debilitating and corrosive influence. It had resonated with me. I try to seek a objective larger than  narrow confines of self. I always volunteered beyond self.  Atul Gawande is right, desires will leave us unsatiated and we need a certain loyalty. A loyalty to a cause, family, community, enterprise, something bigger than us.

In a small way blogging calls my loyalty. I like writing. My desire is to share my learnings and struggles openly so that it may find a resonance somewhere, a hope somewhere, a light to some one, a purpose to some one..

Work helps us locate a self and sense of respect Leonard Cohen had said in a interview. I have found work. I  like writing.  These are my two places of purpose. I just need to find expression.I also hope to volunteer in mental health rehabilitation. I had told this to my colleague.

Please do listen this persuasive talk by Dr. Atul  Gawande..

One thing never want to do is brag..

Hope you like this talk dear friends!

Love, Suresh





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