Mired in a disappointing job hunt, I offer two shots of the Nishi Honganji Temple in Kyoto, Japan as an allegory for two very different points of view on life.
Sometimes it can be hard to look laterally in our lives. We strap on blinders and become infected with a bad case of tunnel vision. Sometimes we need to focus on what is ahead, conquering a specific goal, after all a straight path is much easier to follow. We become fixated on this one golden goal, placed high on an artificial pedestal of our own creation. Occasionally we’re able to snatch the treasure but often we fall short and fail. When we fail, we always feel that failure is the worst thing possible, which is natural. When met with defeat its difficult to not feel personal rejected by the whole affair. However, this focus and tunnel vision can rob you of the otherwise rich life you are living. A temple is beautiful not just because of the golden idol on the altar, but because the temple itself is actually beautiful. I’m mired in a job hunt, and doing quite poorly despite a wonderful CV and an overabundance of qualifications. Some evenings I sulk in dejection, worried, biting, and nervous about my future. I want the ideal, but I realize that by longing for something that seems endlessly just out of reach I’m risking passing by the last few months of what, for years, represented my ideal. I’m not advocating settling for less than you deserve, but I am saying that life is not linear and there is no “gold idol” unless you make one. Your story can develop in wonderful and surprising ways that you could not have foreseen. It’s up to you to decide if these are just distractions to be pushed past or opportunities to explore. Your life is like this temple, you can choose to focus on the raised golden idol if you want to, but you are risking missing the beauty of the temple itself.