What does it mean to be an Individual?


  • Responsibility: Once you pick it up, you don’t get to walk away from it. That’s the whole point!

  • Challenge: You are built for it. Actually, you need it; to learn, evolve and adapt.

  • Meaning: It’s not a luxury; it’s almost a responsibility to build something meaningful; a challenging one at that.


Whats so interesting and remarkable about ‘Responsibility’ is that when you start talking about it to people; which doesn’t seem to happen very often anymore; people go silent.

I was afraid of taking responsibility. That’s where I was. A secure job at a Govt. bank, a good salary and a catchy job title; almost everything that a 22 year old looks for. First few months were fun but as they passed by, I found myself shouldering responsibility for more and more things. I had never been in that position and to be honest, it was uncomfortable. My school, tuition and college fees were paid by my parents, my placement was arranged by the campus placement committee and there were no real responsibilities during the internships.

For the first 22 years, I had tagged along; either my parents, family, committees or society had borne my responsibility. That case was no more. It was almost unnerving.

I was lucky to have a good first boss. Following is an excerpt of our conversation 7 months into my first job.

The first thing you want to do is to dispense with the idea that you get to have any permanent security outside of your ability to contend and adapt.

If you have responsibilities; you don’t get to walk away free from them. You have picked up those responsibilities and you better stand by them.

About Challenge

Why do you want a challenge? Well, because that’s what you are built for. You are built for taking the maximal load you can. That’s what strengthens you and you need to be strong because life is difficult. You have to be awake and sharp so that you don’t become complacent. You have to have your eyes open and your wits sharp and your words at the ready. You have to be educated and you have to know about your pedigree. You have to know how to think and how to read and how to speak. You have to be willing to hoist the troubles of the world up on your shoulders.

Building something meaningful

Despite the fact that life can be hard, there is something about the human spirit that can thrive under precisely the conditions that are meant to defeat you. If we allow that to occur because as difficult as life is and as horrible as we are, our capacity to deal with that catastrophe and to transcend the negative spirit is more powerful than that reality itself.

Ultimately, there isn’t anything so bad that we can’t make it worse. It’s a luxury to pursue what makes you happy. It’s a moral obligation, however, to pursue something meaningful.

So, everyday in the morning I say to myself, “I am going to take responsibility, stand up and build something meaningful.”

When you make that decision of taking on all of that voluntarily then all the catastrophe justifies itself in the nobility of your striving to defeat it.

That is what it means to be an individual.

Until Next Time, -Y


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©2021 by Yash Shah