Am I meant to be a rolling mentor?

by | Apr 27, 2017 | kayaking, mindfulness

A favorite quote of mine from the author Mark Twain is: The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.

Much has been written about man’s eternal quest for reason, to discover the essence of what our purpose on this planet is. Being absent of a deity to dictate my destiny I find myself confused why we should, or if we actually have, a purpose. So instead let me flip this discussion around and approach it from an alternative more solvable perspective.

This morning while driving to my office I was listing to an interview of Louis Cole, the vlogger. Louis said something that stuck with me because of its profound simplicity, maybe it is a Reductive Fallacy,  but to paraphrase him; If you are not doing what you enjoy doing, then, logically you are doing something that you don’t enjoy. I don’t know about you, but I believe I am a happier person when I am engaged in enjoyable activities. Enjoyable is clearly a subjective attribute, measured individually by the pleasure derived from a task. It is neither right nor wrong, it is simply your pleasure. Happiness is an emotion, emotions are fleeting, they pass.

Psychologist Victor Frankl wrote “happiness cannot be pursued; it must ensue. One must have a reason to ‘be happy.’” He went on to say “It is the very pursuit of happiness that thwarts happiness.”

I have experienced the lack of satisfaction that pursuing happiness creates. Historically my attempts to chase happiness as a destination end poorly, either in a self hating cycle of introspection and rejection, or a shallow collection of self fulfilling platitudes the value of which quickly evaporates.

My maximal personal happiness ensues when I am a servant leader in the kayak community. My use of the label servant leader means that I am focused on the development and growth of the community I belong to rather than personal power or gain. My role as a Greenland qajaq (kayak) mentor fits nicely into this label, as does my work in Qajaq USA.

Given my brain’s response to the act of sharing rolling knowledge one could draw the conclusion that my purpose or reason must thus be that of being a Rolling Mentor. But let me put my black hat on for a moment. The conclusion of my purpose is predicated on the assumption that we are supposed to be happy, or to pursue things that make us happy. Is that really true?

Is continuing to be a Rolling Mentor just another way of being self indulgent, a means of chasing my own happiness as a goal? This is where my therapist called bullshit on me (She has learned to swear like a trooper, I take credit for the development of her foul language, it is a focus area of mine). The reason for her therapeutic timeout is best described by the single word “Intent”. What is my intent when I mentor? Is it for self-gratification? Or is it because I am drawn to share my passion, drawn to help others to improve? Am I drawn to preserve the skills and culture of the original qajaq masters of the ocean, the Inuit paddling hunters? I think you can guess which reasons are my reality.

So to return to my hypothesis or sorts, if what we are meant to do is the thing that we enjoy to do, then I am meant to mentor. Oh crap my head just exploded and I feel the urge to delve into the inner meaning of the word meant. I wont, I am not meant to.

I feel that my purpose is to transfer, to others, my knowledge of these ancient skills. Maybe that is enough?

Let me know if I can help you.

Please, I love doing it.