The Suitable Inheritor by Pushpendra Mehta explores on an age-old dilemma of ‘work for money vs. work for passion’ in a fascinating story. Michael Elliott is a relationship coach who lives in Chicago. On receiving an invitation to Lima to speak to the younger clients of Andrew Smith, the owner of a relationship-coaching enterprise, Michael grabs this opportunity in the hope of learning something. He is suspicious of Andrew’s hidden agenda behind inviting him; however, he decides that he has nothing to lose, and he might learn from Andrew new strategies of the business. The meeting turns out a stepping stone for the career and life of Michael. Andrew shares many pearls of wisdom and credits his dear friend and an ex-employee, Dorothy, for all his knowledge. The more Andrew talks about Dorothy, the more mesmerized Michael becomes with her. Since Dorothy is no longer in touch with Andrew, Michael decides that he will put all his energy to find her. Could this be his true love’s calling or something even bigger than that? But what could be bigger than true love? During the time, Michael is busy contemplating the nature of his connection with Dorothy, his life is gradually taking a new turn for good.
How many of us really love the work that we do? In my personal experience, the statistics do not look good. We kick ourselves each morning while going to the office and then whine throughout the day in the office. Our motivation of tolerating such a life is to survive. When we don’t love something that we do, how can we be truly happy and fulfilled? The equation is not that simple when some of us don’t even know what our dream is. The author presents the resolution to this problem in beautiful words,
‘What is that one profession, vocation, or occupation I would pursue if I did not have to work for money?’ That is the key to finding out what you are truly passionate about.
I truly admired the simplicity, yet cleverness, of these words. There is nothing better than working for something that you love. If you are waking up every morning to bathe in the pool of your passion, then this does not seem work to me. Walking down the road of your dreams, you would only be concerned about outdoing your own creation every single day. This does not seem like a job to me; in fact, this is definitely a life worth chasing. In the words of Dorothy in the book,
If you are immersed in what you truly love, an activity you have longed to excel at, a pursuit that will get you closer to prominence, and an endeavor that doesn’t feel like work, you’ll find happiness.
This thought resonates with the truly awesome lesson of a Bollywood movie, 3 Idiots. As much as I enjoyed watching this movie, I loved reading this book even more. This is a powerful lesson, but our inherent desire to outdo others is stronger than finding our own happiness. This is one of the many reasons that many people quit their dreams. When you see your friend — or an acquaintance for that matter — living a lavish life, the green-eyed monster wakes up and shakes you until you realize that you need that luxurious life. Giving up on a dream to prove something to others can never work in your favor. Like Andrew says,
Unlike most people, my competition is only with myself and my goals, not with the sung or unsung heroes.
Just when I thought, the book would turn out to be a self-help one with many life lessons, the author shifted the direction to weaving a fiction. Although precious and practical lessons remained the central theme of the plot, the style of addressing these in the form of a story is quite refreshing. In the narrative style of writing, Pushpendra Mehta has managed to touch many aspects of the life. If you think you love more than one person from the bottom of your heart, whom do you pick? How do you become the best in each relationship? Answers to these questions are very smartly and gracefully addressed by the author. Although the book is packed with many amazing lessons, the one that resonates with my own personality is,
‘Live as if today is the last day on this planet and remember to wear this on your sleeve each day. You will then become the best friend, the favorite supervisor, the unrivaled sweetheart, the wisest adviser, and the greatest listener.’
Michael’s transition from an ordinary man to reaching his full potential has been an enticing journey that I loved to read about. As a reader, I was hooked to the story from beginning to the end. Learning something while reading an interesting story is something that I always look forward to. His inner voice answering the whereabouts of Dorothy, however, seemed too vague to me. Of course, this is an observation of a skeptic critic and not everybody may agree with it.
I would recommend this book to the readers who enjoy reading a fiction with a good story and significant life lessons.