Everybody has a dream, that big thing you want to accomplish in your short life. Unfortunately, the bigger your dream is the more work it’ll take to achieve it. Thus, the farther away it’ll be and the harder it’ll be to achieve. To make matters even worse, since the size of your dream is relative to your ambition, the bigger your dream is the stronger you’ll burn with desire to accomplish it. Thus the more miserable you’ll be in the present because you’ll be weighed down by all the work you have ahead of you, and you’ll be weighed down by the shame of not having fulfilled your potential yet.
If your unfulfilled ambitions weigh heavy on your soul, take solace in the fact that it doesn’t matter if you accomplish your dreams anyway.
Think about it. Let’s suppose you write the next great American novel, get promoted to CEO, become a rock star, buy that house by the ocean with the rickety dock leading out over crystal blue waters, have sex with a supermodel… whatever.
You know what happens after that? You die. Your fans die. Your lovers die. Your house collapses and gets paved over to make way for someone else’s dream house that’s going to collapse after they die.
In the long run, on the cosmic scale of things, it doesn’t really matter if you accomplish any of your dreams because they’re all just castles made of the sands of time that are going to get blown away, kicked over by the next snot-nosed kid who comes along or dissolved by the indifferent cosmic sea when the celestial tide comes in again.
So what does that mean? That dreams are futile and we shouldn’t have them? No. You need to have dreams because your tomorrow will only be as vibrant as your dreams tonight. If you don’t have a dream then where’s your life going to go? Nowhere. And that would be a waste of a life. But you do need to keep those dreams in perspective.
When you start to stress out over your dream, ask yourself this question. So what if you achieve your dreams? So what if you get a gold-rimmed hot tub and a trophy spouse; is that really going to fundamentally change the experience of existing for you? No.
You’re still going to be you. Your reality is still going to be defined by how you perceive what you experience in the immediate present. All you’re going to do after you fulfill your dreams is continue being you and experiencing the moment.
Life is made up of “todays,” not “tomorrows.” Stressing out about a tomorrow that hasn’t happened ruins your “todays” that are actually happening. So even if you finally do achieve your dreams and tomorrow is everything you ever hoped for, your “yesterdays” will be miserable if you’re always stressing out today.
You don’t need to own a Bentley to enjoy yourself and savor the moment. You can do that right now sitting on the mini lawn chair in your empty one bedroom apartment while typing on a laptop that’s sitting on the upturned luggage you’re using as a table because you don’t own a real one…or whatever the case may be.
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- #2: Fulfillment, purpose, and meaning
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