Some thoughts about why we leave home everyday
Every morning, I need to gather all the small items on the floor and rush to the subway station near my apartment to go to work. The small items include my cell-phone, a bottle of really nice hot tea from China, and a piece of cookie. Normally, I say bye to my cats while I am picking up the items. Most of the time, they look surprised and not sure why I have to leave again.
Yes. Why? Because my cellphone is so cool, the hot tea is so delicious, or the cookie is so sweet?
Many people leave home every morning and come back at night. There are just too many things going on in the outside world and they forget to ask themselves; Why?
What’s the purpose of leaving the dearest members of your family every day? The purpose of working is making money just to pay your living expenses. I wondered if there there is a better reason.
One day, I noticed something different; something so normal to me, that I almost ignored it. Every morning, when I am carrying all my items to the subway station, I see an old gentleman standing near the station and just simply greeting everyone who is rushing into the station. He looks at those people with the kindest smile on his face. He never approaches anybody, but sometimes I can see people sitting with him and talking about life. At that very moment, I started to wonder. Why is he here? I’m sure the answer can be as simple as “religion”. That’s really not enough.
Humans are complex beings. In the past, when we, human beings, were not capable of protecting ourselves from animals and natural disasters, the motivation for us to wake up and do things was simply Motivation 1.0 — “Survival”. After human beings solved problems of food and safety, we wanted something more. We started to seek better things and avoided losing them. So we moved to Motivation 2.0 — Reward and Punishment.
Do we wake up every day just to get reward and punishment? Are we happy then? I’m not so sure about the answers. According to Daniel H. Pink’s book “ Drive”, we are now into the Motivation 2.1 era. The food, the shelter, the reward and punishment are not enough to answer my questions. We are actually waking up everyday and saying bye to our family because of one simple but amazing word — “purpose”.
The old gentleman who is greeting people in the subway station has a purpose to stand there every single day. He brings a sense of warmth and of human touch to the cold and metallic station. When there are people need someone to talk, he is there for them. He wants to become someone’s warm shoulder or just a patient listener. And there is a purpose when I picking up the items from the floor and rushing out of the door every morning. I want to go outside and understand the world better. I’m going out there to solve people’s problem through my work. Even though the answer for me is still not too clear, but I’m really happy now.
Every morning, when I see him. I start to slow down a little bit just to give him a big smile and greeting him back.
I’m sure what gives him the purpose to wake up every day and be in that little subway station would eventually give me the answer.
The answer to keep going on, with a smile on my face and come back to home every night with a better understanding of the world.