Just before Alexander the Great left for his world conquest, he went to see master Diogenes who was a renowned mystic of those times. Diogenes lived naked with just a begging bowl and later in life he threw the begging bowl away saying, he could cup his hands and seek alms so why even own a bowl. A dog was his companion and when Alexander the Great went to see him, Diogenes was lying down in the Sun by the beach along with his trusted dog.
Alexander tells Diogenes that he had come to seek his blessings as he started his campaign to conquer the world. Diogenes then wants to know where all he would go to and Alexander talks of the Persian empire and the many different kingdoms within it and every time Alexander would name a Kingdom that he would conquer, Diogenes would ask “what after that ?”. Finally Alexander says after he conquered India he would be emperor of the known world. Diogenes still asks “what after that ?”. Alexander replies saying he would then lie down on a beach and relax. Diogenes turns to his dog and says.. “Look at this idiot, he says he will conquer this Kingdom and that, kill a whole lot of people, plunder cities and finally he will lie down on a beach and relax, what do you think we are doing now ?”. He then looks up at Alexander and says “If after all that you just want to rest and relax, you can do that just now… What are you really seeking ?”.
I love this story because in all our lives we are running after one conquest after the other just like Alexander without pausing to think what we “REALLY” want to do. There is nothing wrong with buying that third house, but what are you really seeking after the fifth house or the 10th car or the 5th Rolex watch ? It’s wrong to say it’s a Dog’s life … A dog is smarter than us because it does exactly what it wants to do. Here’s a picture of a dog in our condo complex in Gurgaon. During the winter mornings, he would find this particular spot and sun himself.
Beautiful dog. There are people running, walking all around him and then there are the busy executives that are zooming off to work … But he is sunning himself. If anyone stopped you just as you were leaving for office and asked you what you wanted to accomplish that day, you would probably rattle off a bunch of things. If the person continued the way Diogenes did and kept asking what next, chances are that each of us would come to THE thing that we want to do in life. Not everyone would want to lie down on a beach and relax, not everyone would want to travel, not everyone would want to sleep – some would, but almost everyone would want to do something very different from what they are currently doing. The question is why ?
Don’t say it’s a Dog’s life … Because the dog is living it’s life exactly as it wants to, it is not trying to be a lion, or a parrot or a crocodile or a snake or an eagle. Why are we trying to be somebody else and doing what someone else wants to do and living someone else’s life ? Ask that someone to play the role that Diogenes played for Alexander and figure out what is it that you really want to do and as Nike says “just do it”.