The road to happiness is broken into three broad segments: 1) preparation for the journey, 2) the journey, and 3) the adventure.
Having a caring family and a functional society contribute to any individual’s preparation for the journey. I have already discussed this in earlier posts.
Harnessing the entrepreneur with each of us is the best way to make the journey by developing social skills and self-esteem that lead to confidence, strength, achievement, prestige, and financial comfort. Academic research indicates that successful entrepreneurs exhibit these same traits of education/training, social skills, and high self-esteem. Those exhibiting these characteristics have the best chance of reaching the end of the journey. The last several posts have discussed this journey.
Once the journey has been completed, then the road continues with the adventure. The adventure of any individual begins with a call or summons. The call is the command to leave behind the journey and accept the adventure into the unknown. Those that receive this call, and recognize it, are put in a very tough position. They are asked to select the road less traveled into an unknown future, rather than stay on the more popular path that others are on. This is very difficult to do; after all, the individual who has reached this point most likely has a very comfortable life, with financial comfort, many friends, and the prestige and recognition of others in his/her community.
This tough position, the pondering of the call or summons to the adventure, is seen in the following two artworks. Both works are very dramatic and are among the greatest of artworks ever created.
The Calling of St. Matthew (Caravaggio, 1599-1600, San Luigi Dei Francesi, Rome)
The arrivals on the right are poor people with bare feet and simple garments. Their appearance contrasts sharply with the richly clothed Matthew and his four companions. A strong beam of light guides the eye from the outstretched hand of Jesus across to Matthew. Among art scholars is debate as to whether Matthew is the bearded man pointing to himself (with a look of surprise) or the younger man with his head down (looking bewildered and uncertain, but comfortable in his status and wealth).
Fifth Symphony, First Movement (Beethoven, 1804-1808)
This work, perhaps the artist’s most famous, begins with the popular four-note motif. It is suggested that these notes represent fate (or the call) knocking at the door. This motif is repeated throughout the piece. What is clear is that a decision has not been made. The knock comes several times during the piece. Perhaps this piece echoes the sentiments of the Caravaggio painting regarding the uncertainty and hesitancy of accepting the call – a call that is awaiting a decision.
Next up: the details of the adventure.