Inspiration and Understanding
In my years working as an international businessman, I met many different types of people. As is often the case, some of them were men or women who had been pushed into their professions by bitter circumstance, or even worse, had been manipulated into it, because a parent wanted them to pursue it, in some cases because it was part of the family business. What does it mean to force yourself into a role you’re not suited for? What sort of distortions of personality occur when you are made to hit notes and adopt poses that are unnatural to you? This was the inspiration behind the character of Peter in my novel Talk to Me: Thinking from the End.
Peter has been influenced by his upbringing into believing that the only place for him in life is as a man of high finance. His entire sense of self-worth is wrapped up in this. But it is the wrong choice for him. This sort of thing can go on for generations, to the extent where being forced into the wrong role and “sucking it up” starts to seem like the appropriate, reasonable – and even morally correct – decision.
You can live your whole life like this, unless you’re fortunate enough to meet someone who shows you by example how to trust your instincts and live the life that was meant for you. In Peter’s case, Stella serves this function. She comes from a similar background as Peter, but she was able to make better choices for herself and serves as an inspiration for Peter to improve his outlook on life and most especially his role in it. By showing him in the living moment, hour by hour, that it is possible to not only survive the road less traveled, but thrive on it, Peter begins to realize that he has been chasing the wrong dreams. Stella acts like a guru for him, and together they create a new destiny for each other – one they were intended to fulfill all along.