1-Sentence-Summary: What Are You Doing With Your Life is a book by the great philosopher and teacher Jiddu Krishnamurti, who turns traditional ideas about happiness and the purpose of life on its head by diving into the details of life’s most important questions so you can live with intention and joy more consistently.
Read in: 4 minutes
Favorite quote from the author:
Who are we? Why are we here? What is the significance of life? How can we live life to the fullest? These are just a few of the many existential questions that we face as humans on earth. Many of us desperately search for answers to these hard-to-answer questions.
In What Are You Doing with Your Life, world-renowned philosopher Jiddu Krishnamurti tackles these pressing questions and more. But the answers to these questions might not be exactly what you’d think.
He reveals that there isn’t a higher purpose or path guiding us, but rather what we do with our life is entirely our own responsibility. His wisdom will help you be your best self as you navigate the many challenges life might throw your way.
These are just 3 of the many inspirational lessons I got from this book
- Your conditioning often hinders you from seeing reality.
- Happiness is short-lived, so stop searching for it and just enjoy the happy moments.
- The purpose of life is much simpler than you might think.
Excited to figure out what you’re doing with your life? Let’s dive right in and get learning!
Lesson 1: The way you are conditioned stops you from viewing reality as it really is.
Stop for a minute and think about love, or what you think it is. From the minute you were old enough to understand the word you were subjected to ideas about what it was that shaped the way you thought it was. Maybe your idea of love became a couple who was getting married or someone gifting their girlfriend roses.
However you saw it, it was undeniably shaped by your cultural, economic, and social background. Because of this, you might have a pretty narrow view of what love is and the complexity of love might be something you haven’t considered much.
This is just one example of how your conditioning stops you from seeing the complexity of things in the world. Things are constantly changing, but we tend to see the world as fixed. Our cultural background and belief systems underpin how we see everything around us.
To understand an evolving world, you need to be able to change your perspective. If you don’t harmonize yourself with the continuous changes of life, you won’t see things as they are.
If you want to look at life truthfully, learn to free yourself of grand theories and instead attempt to explain things in totality. This is hard since many people consider themselves part of an ideology or religion and we tend to force situations into our narrow worldview.
So how can we fix our worldview? Watch your mind almost like you are watching it from the outside. Then you’ll be able to fully understand how conditioning can limit how you view the world around you. Soon you’ll be able to understand your relationship with the world and be able to understand the complex and evolving problems in the world.
Lesson 2: Happiness comes and goes, so stop looking for lasting happiness and enjoy it when you have it.
Everyone wants happiness in this life. For many people being happy is the whole point of living. You might want to achieve it through finding love or having a fulfilling career. The problem is, it’s really difficult to find lasting happiness.
So what’s Krishnamurti’s advice? He says that when we’re kids, we have happiness easily and in simple things. We don’t really even have to try, we just find it in the activities we do. Unfortunately, the older we get, the harder it gets to experience this spontaneous happiness. So we try to get it in other ways, like pursuing prestige or money.
The problem with this is that as soon as we get whatever we think we want such as a large house or our dream partner, the enjoyment we get from it is turned into a fear of losing whatever it is. You feel great falling in love, but often we feel fear of losing it or becoming too dependent on it for our happiness.
This is why as we get older, seeking happiness starts to be somewhat of a curse. Basically, our search for happiness is us searching for security. We need a constant sense of security and well-being.
But in life, there is no lasting security. The author says that life is short, and all of us are essentially alone. Not even the people closest to us can give us that security because they are also alone.
The only thing that we can do to avoid this kind of disappointment is to stop constantly searching for long-lasting happiness. This means that you need to drop the idea that you need happiness at all times. Start living moment ot moment, and realize that things don’t last forever. Happiness is short-lived, but so is sadness. When you realize this, you can truly be happy in those moments.
Lesson 3: The real purpose of living is simply to live.
For centuries, people have searched for the meaning of life. Maybe you’re asking yourself this right now. The author says that this isn’t the place you should start.
Often we look up to successful people and think that if we follow what they do we’ll find life’s purpose. Cultural traditions and people who came before us give us sort of a road map for what living should look like. We use this model to decide what a purposeful life is.
The problem is, we spend so much time following examples of other people that we miss the significance of what life truly is. Life is personal to each one of us. And the truth is, no other authority can help us with our intimate experience.
If you always need another justification for life, you are missing how extraordinary living actually is. When you are asking yourself about what life really is, it’s likely you are bored with the repetitiveness of your own life. If you think that the purpose is to be successful or religious it’s likely that you are trying to escape from something rather than embrace living.
Rather than viewing life as a pursuit to reach a faraway objective, look at what’s happening in your own life right now. If you don’t like the way something is going in your life right now, try to understand why. Confront your sorrow, fear, or confusion, and you can escape your longing for a purpose. Life is beautiful, mysterious, and rich. In truth, this should be enough.
What Are You Doing With Your Life Review
I really liked What Are You Doing With Your Life and I think you will too. One thing I really appreciated was how it really nails some of the biases of life that keep us unhappy and shows how to beat those. It’s these things that seem obvious but really require some introspection to figure out, which the book is great at helping you do!
Who would I recommend the What Are You Doing With Your Life summary to?
The 23-year-old who still lives with their parents and feels totally lost, the 67-year-old deep thinker, and anyone that’s interested in living with more purpose than the monotony of their typical day-to-day life.